125 Years - the Alachua County Experience
The truth in this statement is evident when you take a look at the history of the Florida Department of Health, and the Alachua County Health Department. 125 years ago, in 1889, the Florida State Board of Health was formed in direct response to the urgent needs of a population being repeatedly devastated by yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, malaria, tuberculosis, hookworm, and small pox. Economic, political and social infrastructures were weakened by waves of epidemics, as settlements were turned into ghost towns.
A Health Threat Arises, and Public Health Responds
This response model was further developed and refined once funds became available to establish county health units (CHU). Taylor County was the first in 1930, Leon was second in 1932, and by 1938 there were 17 CHU's. Alachua CHU was number 43, established in July of 1944. Our first health officer, Dr. Frank M. Hall, was confirmed in August. His initial staff consisted of two public health nurses and one clerk. By June of 1945, this humble cohort had increased to nine public health nurses, two clerks, three sanitary officers, one VD investigator, and a janitor.