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

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HIV/AIDS

Sherry Riley is a graduate of the College of Charleston in South Carolina.  Ms. Riley has served the state of Florida in the public health arena since 1988, beginning her public health career as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certified HIV counseling and testing trainer for health care professionals.  During this time, Ms. Riley also developed administrative rules to implement the provisions of the Omnibus AIDS Act, including rules on performing HIV tests, confidentiality, notification of third parties, and significant exposures.   

During the 1990s, Ms. Riley developed, negotiated, executed and monitored HIV/AIDS contracts and provided technical assistance to AIDS service organizations and community-based organizations.  Ms. Riley also served as staff liaison to the Department of Community Affairs on housing issues for persons with AIDS and represented the program on a number of committees and boards, including the Governor's Interdepartmental Workgroup on AIDS and the Florida Coordinating Council for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ms. Riley became the Program Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Operations and Management Section in 1997.  In this role, Ms. Riley managed HIV/AIDS legislative issues, budget and grants, quality improvement and contract activities.    At the national level, Ms. Riley represents the state of Florida on the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. 

Ms. Riley became the administrator of the HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Program in May of 2012.   As administrator of the HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Program, Ms. Riley provides direction to the program and works closely with other public health officials and community representatives to design and implement effective HIV programs.  

Marlene LaLota, M.P.H.: Ms. LaLota serves as the HIV Prevention Director for the HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Program. Ms. LaLota has a BS in Biology/Chemistry/Anthropology from the State University of NY at Albany and a master's degree in public health from Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Public Health. She became interested in HIV/AIDS in 1986 when she conducted a knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs survey in New Haven, Connecticut for a school project. Her training in epidemiology has led to research on influenza in New Haven, Lyme Disease in Cairo, Egypt, and HIV in Florida. She began her career at the Florida Department of Health in 1988 as an epidemiologist conducting HIV seroprevalence surveys in a variety of settings in Miami-Dade and Duval counties, and the statewide Survey among Childbearing Women. These studies provided some of the earliest data on the scope of the epidemic in Florida.

Ms. LaLota became the Program Administrator for the Early Intervention Section in 1997, managing the HIV testing program, the perinatal HIV prevention program, corrections initiatives, linkage activities, and a variety of research projects, including behavioral surveillance. In 2008, the Early Intervention and Prevention sections merged and Tom Liberti appointed Ms. LaLota as Florida's prevention director. In addition to the activities listed above, the Prevention Section is responsible for community planning, behavioral interventions, the faith initiative, social marketing, capacity building, technical assistance, evaluation, educational materials, community mobilization, the hotline, and contracts with community-based organizations. The prevention section also oversees the Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan (ECHPP) project, which is part of the national 12 cities initiative.

Ms. LaLota is a member of several organizations, such as the American Public Health Association and the Florida Public Health Association. She is active in several CDC and NASTAD workgroups at the national level, and has co-authored several national guidelines related to HIV. She is widely published and is considered a national expert in several areas related to HIV/AIDS.

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.


Philip E. Reichert, M.P.H.:  Mr. Reichert is the program administrator for the Florida Department of Health’s Hepatitis Prevention Program in Tallahassee.  He has worked in the public health field in STD and HIV/AIDS prevention and control for nearly thirty years.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida State University and his master’s degree in public health from the University of South Florida.

Rebecca (Becky) Grigg has been the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Coordinator in Florida since May of 1998. Dr. Grigg graduated from Florida State University with a PhD in Sociology (concentration in Demography) in 1984. Prior to taking her current position with the Department of Health, Dr. Grigg served as the Director of Research for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs for almost six years. This was preceded by working two years as a Medical/Health Care Analyst in the Florida Office of Medicaid and three years with the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services in the Office of Comprehensive Health Planning. Some of her other duties for the Department include serving as a member of the Institutional Review Board. Dr. Grigg is an active ESF 8 volunteer and has most recently participated in an exercise to set up a Local Staging Area for receiving the Strategic National Stockpile. In addition, Dr. Grigg is an active member of the Florida Public Health Association and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).

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 Bureau of HIV/AIDS in the 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. Along with being a leader in the development of the statewide minority media campaign utilizing television, radio and print ads to take the prevention message to minorities, he has taken a very active part in the following successful projects: the Black Leaders Consultation, the Latino Leaders Consultation, the Black men who have sex with men (MSM) Consultation, the Black Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS, the Hispanic Summit on HIV/AIDS, the Eleventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church HIV testing initiative, capacity-building trainings and oversees ten regional minority AIDS coordinators located throughout the state to implement and coordinate HIV/AIDS prevention, early intervention and treatment programs in Florida’s minority communities.

Mr. Henderson currently serves as an advisor to the Florida Comprehensive Planning Network and the Local Community Planning Partnership and Consortia. Mr. Henderson had the pleasure of facilitating and coordinating the activities of the Minority HIV/AIDS Task Force, which had the task of providing recommendations to the Governor, the Legislature and the Department of Health regarding strategies to strengthen HIV/AIDS prevention, early intervention and treatment efforts in Florida’s minority communities and a member of the National African American Advisory Committee and the National Latino Advisory Committee. Mr. Henderson has received numerous awards and recognition, including the key to the city of Pensacola, Florida. Recently, Mr. Henderson has launched several community mobilization initiatives to address HIV/AIDS among Florida’s racial/ethnic minorities. Those initiatives include: Silence is Death, which targets Florida’s black communities; Sistas Organizing to Survive (SOS), which targets Florida’s black women; and Man Up, which targets all men.

On a more personal note, Mr. Henderson is a graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Economics. He is highly respected among his peers and possesses a great spirit of compassionate involvement in his work with minority-focus HIV/AIDS initiatives.