Video Interview and Statement from DOH Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Harris on TB in Duval County

Statement on TB in Duval County

Below is a statement from Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) Deputy Secretary for Health, Steven Harris, M.D. Prior to joining DOH, Dr. Harris has served as Medical Director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department and as the Country Director for Haiti for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global AIDS Program. His full bio is below the statement:  

“The inaccuracies cited in several media reports are outrageous. As soon as the Department of Health (DOH) saw a slight spike in the FL0046 Tuberculosis strain, we immediately reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and engaged stakeholders in the community.  

As soon as the CDC site visit was completed, we re-formed The Jacksonville Community Tuberculosis Coalition which enlisted several community partners including the City of Jacksonville, the Mayor’s office, local officials, local hospitals, the Sheriff’s office and homeless shelters. The very purpose of the coalition is to ensure the homeless population is protected, the cluster is contained and the locally affected community is informed of the isolated strain within an isolated population.  

Contacting these local government officials, community organizations and hospitals is a clear sign that these actions were conducted with the utmost level of transparency.  

With the misinformation that has been reported, it is important for the public to know the number of TB cases in Florida has been trending downward for several years. The increase in this particular strain of non-drug resistant TB has affected approximately 99 people over the past eight years.”  

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Dr. Steven Harris currently serves as the Deputy Secretary for Health for the Florida Department of Health. Most recently, he served as Dallas County Health Authority and Medical Director of the Dallas County Health & Human Services Department. Prior to that, Dr. Harris served as Country Director for Haiti for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Global AIDS Program, in Port au Prince. He also served as the Western Sector Surgeon (Western Regional Medical Director) for the United States Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM) in Chicago. Earlier, Dr. Harris was the Quarantine Medical Officer with the CDC Houston Quarantine Station; Director of Student Health Services, San Jose State University; Medical Officer, Student Health Center, Massey University, New Zealand; Health Authority, City of Austin & Travis County and Chief Medical Officer, Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services Department; and Director of Preventive Medicine, Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  

Dr. Harris has a long and varied educational background, having earned his Master’s degree in Health Care Management from California State University, Los Angeles (1991). He earned his M. D. degree from the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio (1977), and an A. B. degree from Washington University, St Louis (1973).  

He completed residency training in emergency medicine at Martin L King General Hospital (Los Angeles, CA); University Hospital of Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL); and a flexible internship at San Joaquin General Hospital (Stockton, CA). He is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American Board of Medical Management.  

His academic appointments include: Clinical Assistant Professor of Family & Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine; Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine; Instructor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch; and Clinical Instructor for the Austin Medical Education Program.  

If you are a member of the media and have further questions, please contact the DOH Office of Communications (850) 245-4111.

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