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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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Keynote Speaker Information

Biomedical Research Section

Headshot of Dr. Phillip


State Surgeon General and Secretary

Florida Department of Health

Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, was appointed by Governor Rick Scott as Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health on May 18, 2016. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children's Medical Services. Dr. Philip is board certified in Family Medicine as well as Public Health and General Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Philip, who has been with the Department since 2008, has served in a number of capacities, including as interim director for three county health departments.  She began her career with the department in Polk County where she served as medical director and served on the board of Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, where she also provided primary care to uninsured patients.

She serves on the board of directors for the Public Health Accreditation Board and the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. She is the immediate-past president of the American Heart Association's (AHA) six-state Greater Southeast Affiliate and serves on a number of national AHA committees . Dr. Philip was named the 2016 Outstanding Public Health Woman of the Year by the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health.

Dr. Philip graduated from Howard University in Washington DC magna cum laude and later received a Master of Public Health in maternal and child health and a Doctor of Medicine from Loma Linda University in California. She completed her family medicine residency at Florida Hospital in Orlando and previously served at the​ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and preventive medicine resident.


head shot of Dr. James Hendrix


Director, Global Science Initiatives

Alzheimer's Association

James A. Hendrix, Ph.D., is Director of Global Science Initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association. Critical elements of his role are:

  • Managing industry consortia such as the Alzheimer’s Association Research Roundtable.
  • Leading the Global Biomarker Standardization Consortium.
  • Assisting with the coordination of the $100 million Imaging Dementia-Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) Study on the clinical usefulness of amyloid PET imaging. 

Dr. Hendrix received his Ph.D. and a postdoctoral fellowship from Colorado State University. 

head shot of dr. rosemary laird


Executive Medical Director

Florida Hospital for Seniors

Dr. Laird received her medical degree with honors from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1991. She completed an Internal Medicine residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals and was named Chief Resident for 1995. She then pursued a Geriatric Fellowship at the University of Kansas. At the University of Kansas she also earned a Masters in Health Services Administration. She relocated to Melbourne, FL in 2002 and was the founding medical director of the Health First Aging Services program until 2015. Now with Florida Hospital, Dr. Laird will lead the development of a state of the art care delivery system providing comprehensive and coordinated care and caregiver support for older adults.  

Dr. Laird has also joined the Florida Hospital Medical Group and will practice at the Centre for Senior Health in Winter Park. She will provide geriatric consultation for common age-related conditions including memory loss, falls, and depression. Along with Leeza Gibbons and Dr. Jamie Huysman, she is the co-author of the book Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Wellbeing while Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss. She writes a monthly online column for clinical care providers for the publication “Today’s Geriatric Medicine.” 

Dr. Laird is an active Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and has served as the President of the Florida Geriatrics Society. In 2013 she was named Clinician of the Year for the AGS. She now serves on the AGS BEERS Criteria writing group. 

Dr. Laird is married to Dr. Tim Laird. He practices Family Medicine with Health First Physicians in Viera, FL. They have 4 children.