skip to content

It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

skip to content
 

Leadership

HIV/AIDS

  • Laura Reeves / Section Administrator
  • Joseph May / Patient Care Program Manager
  • Mara Michniewicz, MPH, CHES / Prevention Program Manager
  • Ronald Henderson / State Wide Minority AIDS Coordinator
  • Nita Harrelle / Operations Coordinator
  • Melinda Waters / Data Integration Team Manager
  • Kellie Wilcox / Financial Manager
  • Dr. Jeffrey Beal / Medical Section
  • Emma Spencer, PhD / Surveillance Program Manager

Laura Reeves is administrator of the HIV/AIDS Section in the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, Florida Department of Health.  As administrator, she is responsible for policy development; program direction and implementation; program evaluation and improvement; and staff development.  

Ms. Reeves has twenty-four years in public health, with experience spanning program and organizational strategic planning, performance management, and quality improvement initiatives, policy development, public health accreditation, customer service, employee satisfaction and collaboration with local, state and national partners.  Ms. Reeves worked in the HIV/AIDS Program from 1992-2003; the Office of Performance & Quality Improvement from 2003-2014; and was most recently the Section Administrator for the Tuberculosis Control Program from 2014-2016.

Ms. Reeves received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Florida State University and is a Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence by the American Society for Quality.

Joseph May is a graduate of the University of Florida and began his career with the state in 1987 with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. He worked as a public assistance specialist assisting clients with accessing AID to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) services as well as Medicaid. Mr. May then moved to the Office of Child Support Enforcement where he assisted with the enforcement of child support orders and later worked with the courts to establish both paternity and support orders.

In 1990, Joe experienced his first exposure to public health when he accepted a position with the Leon County Health Department. While primarily being a contract manager, he also learned a lot about health department operations and acted as a back-up to a variety of staff. After a couple of years, Mr. May accepted a position with Developmental Services as district contract manager.

In 1994, Joe joined the HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Program and has worked with all of the Patient Care programs during his tenure here. For most of the time, he was the AIDS Drug Assistance Program Manager and in 2005 he became the administrator over the Patient Care Section.

Mara Michniewicz has been working in the public health arena since 2004, beginning her public health career as a Research Assistant with the Addictive and Health Behaviors Institute in Jacksonville, FL, developing substance abuse prevention interventions for adolescents. Ms. Michniewicz has a BS in Biology/Chemistry from Florida State University, a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Florida and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Mara began her career with the Florida Department of Health in 2006 as a Prevention and Training Consultant in Volusia County, providing HIV education, outreach, counseling, testing and linkage services, in addition to providing case management/care coordination through the ARTAS program. In addition to working for the health department, she also taught HIV/AIDS education courses as an adjunct professor with the Daytona Beach Community College.

Ms. Michniewicz joined the HIV/AIDS Section in late 2007 as the Interventions Team Leader within the Prevention Program. As the Interventions Team Leader, she had oversight of evidence-based behavioral interventions, statewide capacity building assistance and training, high-impact prevention interventions within community-based organizations and local health departments, condom distribution, prevention and training consultants in the field, prevention contracts and the statewide educational materials review panel. Mara became the HIV Prevention Director for the HIV/AIDS Section in late 2014 and manages the program’s wide array of initiatives, activities and strategies. Florida’s high-impact prevention program is multi-faceted and includes HIV testing and linkage, comprehensive prevention with positives, partner services, condom distribution, outreach, policy initiatives, corrections initiatives within jails and prisons, perinatal prevention efforts, community planning, prevention for high-risk negatives, social marketing, media and mobilization, faith and business partnerships, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)/Non-Occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (nPEP).

Ronald Henderson has served the state of Florida in the public health arena since 1989, beginning his public health career as a Health Services Representative with the Leon County Health Department. In 1999, he was selected to serve as the Statewide Minority AIDS Coordinator with the HIV/AIDS Section, Florida Department of Health.

As the Statewide Minority AIDS Coordinator, Mr. Henderson coordinates a variety of minority-focused prevention, care and early intervention projects and activities that bring awareness and assistance to minority communities.  Mr. Henderson has served on several national and statewide advisory groups. Mr. Henderson also serves in the capacity of Health Equity Manager for the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, Florida Department of Health. In this role, Mr. Henderson work across the bureau to address the needs of all racial/ethnic minorities.

Nita Harrelle is a graduate of Florida State University and began her career with children’s services in South Florida.  When HIV epidemic began to impact babies in Palm Beach County she worked in the newly established 24-hour nursery for HIV-exposed and infected infants and children who had been removed from their families as a result of abuse or neglect.  After eight years, Ms. Harrelle then became the Program Manager for the Palm Beach County Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act (TOPWA) Program. 

 In 2001, Nita moved to Tallahassee and joined the HIV/AIDS Prevention Section as the program manager for linkage programs such as TOPWA, programs in correctional settings and the Minority AIDS Initiative.  In 2012, she accepted a position as the Healthy Start Program Director in the Division of Family Health, returning to HIV/AIDS as the Operations Coordinator in 2015.

Melinda is the Team Lead  for Data Integration, responsible for overseeing the
integration of all HIV/AIDS Section applications, including eHARS, ADAP,
CAREWare,  and Counseling and Testing among others. She graduated from
the University of Florida and lived in California for several years before
returning to Florida in 1989.  That same year, she began working for DOH ,then
HRS, in the Bureau of HIV/AIDS.  She managed the data for the HIV
seroprevalence surveys and the statewide Survey among Childbearing Women. 
From 2000-2014 she was responsible for overseeing data management for
the Prevention Program of the HIV/AIDS Section and supervison of the
Data Management team charged with data analysis and technical assistance
for Florida’s publicly funded HIV Counseling and Testing (CT) system. 

Kellie Wilcox has served as a Financial Manager with the Florida Department of Health where she has managed budgets for the Bureau of Public Health Pharmacy, Division of Disease Control, and Division of Information Technology currently known as the Office of Information Technology. Prior to her position as a Financial Manager, she has also served as a Management Analyst and Accountant for the Division of Administration. Prior to her service with the Florida Department of Health, she has also worked in Office of Management & Budget with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and Finance & Accounting with the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services since 1990.

Dr. Jeffrey Beal is the Medical Director of the Bureau of HIV/AIDS for the Florida Department of Health.  Dr. Beal received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and his medical degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.  He completed an internship in Family Practice and Internal Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Medical College. He completed the Internal Medicine Residency program and a fourth-year fellowship in Internal Medicine at the University of Oklahoma and then stayed on the faculty, where he developed and ran a specialized clinic for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Gay-Related Immune Deficiency. After 20 years in an academic, clinical research, and private practice setting in Oklahoma, he relocated to Florida where he continues working in the field of HIV/AIDS focused in an administrative and educational capacity. He continues seeing patients in primarily rural health department settings where the need is greatest.

Dr. Beal has volunteered in Central America for the past 20 years on various medical missions. At present he serves as Medical Consultant to JustHope, Inc., an organization that provides base community support, including health care services to residents of Chacraseca, Nicaragua. 

Dr. Emma Spencer is a graduate of Aberdeen University, U.K., where she obtained her PhD in Environmental Science in 2007.  A research scientist by trade, Emma has over ten years’ experience conducting large scale research programs, handling complex data analysis, and producing reports and papers to disseminate across a wide audience base.  Her research has naturally progressed and moved her from the environmental field to study impacts upon human health.

In 2015, Emma undertook an MPH at Florida State University and has since expanded her research to include various human health related studies.  Additionally, she focused her Capstone projects upon HIV/AIDS in the United States, and garnered a great interest in understanding and eliminating the disease. 

In May 2016, she accepted the position as the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Program Manager with a commitment to accurately track and report cases of HIV/AIDS in Florida, and work closely with other programs to effectively combat the disease.