About the Staff
The Food and Waterborne Disease Program consists of a statewide coordinator, nine regional environmental epidemiologists, one bioterrorism preparedness coordinator, and one administrative support member. We are here to assist the 67 county health departments in the surveillance, investigation, reporting, and prevention of food and waterborne disease.
As a group, we have over 200 years of experience in environmental health. Our regional environmental epidemiologists are "in the field" with offices in various parts of the state. Our
color coded regional map visually depicts their locations and contact information and can be printed for future use. This information is also available in a text format
regional map text equivalent. Also, a
list for the program is available to download.
Jamie DeMent, MNS - Statewide Coordinator
Jamie DeMent is the Statewide Coordinator for the Food and
Waterborne Disease Program with the Florida Department of Health. Ms. DeMent
earned her Masters of Natural Science from Southeast Missouri State University
in 2006. Ms. DeMent has previous experience working in the public health field
at the county and state level.
Laura Potter - Panhandle Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
received two undergraduate degrees at the University of Georgia in biology and
environmental health and her MPH from the same university. Prior to her
employment as a regional environmental epidemiologist, she worked as an
Environmental Specialist III for the Food and Waterborne Disease Program at the
Florida Department of Health. During her time at FDOH she developed a training
manual for the new complaint and outbreak system and developed a just-in-time
training video on the use of the Dead-End Ultra Filtration sampling method.
Kathleen Van Zile - Northeast Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
Katie has been employed with the Florida Department of Health since 1978. She
earned a Bachelors of Science from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville,
Florida and a Masters of Science in Environmental Health from East Tennessee
State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. She began her career as a
sanitarian and progressed to Assistant Environmental Health Director before
leaving Duval County Health Department. She joined the Food and Waterborne
Diseases program in 1994 and serves as a Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
in Northeast Florida. Katies office is located in Jacksonville and she is
currently responsible for Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Clay,
Columbia, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf,
Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Nassau,
Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia,
Wakulla, Walton, and Washington counties.
Dean Bodager - Central Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
Dean Bodager is employed at the Florida Department of Health. He serves as a Regional Environmental Epidemiologist for Food and Waterborne Diseases for the Central Florida area. He has worked for county, state and federal public health agencies including field, supervisory, middle management, and consultative positions since 1982. He has been an environmental epidemiologist since 1993. He earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Health Sciences from Indiana State University in 1981 and a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Central Florida in 1996. He is a Registered Sanitarian with the National Environmental Health Association and the Florida Environmental Health Association. Dean is a member of the National Environmental Health Association, Florida Environmental Health Association, International Association of Food Protection and Florida Public Health Association. He is a Diplomat in the American Academy of Sanitarians and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Dean is on the Technical Editorial Advisory Board for the NEHA Journal of Environmental Health and on the Journal Committee for the FEHA Journal of Environmental Health. He is a Past President of the Florida Environmental Health Association and has held numerous FEHA
offices including Vice President, Board Director-two terms, and Central District
Chairman. Deans office is located in Orlando and he is responsible for Brevard,
Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, and Seminole counties.
Mike Friedman - West Central Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
Mike Friedman received a B.A. degree in 1979 and a MPH degree from the University of South Florida in 1991. He began working for the Florida Department of Health at the Pasco County Health Department where he was a Sanitarian Aid, Sanitarian, an Environmental Health Specialist, and Epidemiology Division Director. He works closely with four county health departments in the Tampa Bay area with the investigation and analysis of food and waterborne outbreaks. These counties include; Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas,
Hernando, Sumter, Citrus, Levy, and Dixie Counties. His office is located in New Port Richey. Mike was born in Maryland and moved to Florida in 1976.
Janet Wamnes - Southeast Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
Janet graduated from Mississippi State University with a B.S. in Foods and
Nutrition and an M.S. in Food Science and Technology. She has been in her
current position since 1994. Prior to this, she was an Environmental Specialist
with the Martin County Health Department for four years. Janets office is
located in Ft. Pierce and she is responsible for Broward, Indian River, Martin,
Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties.
Robin Terzagian - Southwest Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
Robin received a BS in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1979.
She began her career in food safety with the USDA as an agricultural commodity
grader and then moved into public health. Her journey into public health started
in 1981 in environmental health at the county level as a sanitarian,
environmental specialist and sanitation and safety supervisor. She worked for
the Glades, Charlotte and Lee County Health Departments, including the Office of
Restaurant Programs. Robin moved to the Department of Business and Professional
Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants in October 1992. Robin returned
to the Department of Health and has been in her current position since September
1997. Robins office is located in Ft. Myers and she is responsible for
Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Okeechobee,
and Sarasota counties.
Juan Suarez - Southern Regional Environmental Epidemiologist
Juan Suarez graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras in 1979 with a BS in Biology. He focused his research interests in the areas of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He worked after graduation in various private and hospital clinical laboratories. He worked at the Drinking Water Research Center of Florida International University in environmental research and the Microbiology and Immunology Department of the University of Miami Medical School in murine immunology. He joined the Florida Department of Health in 1987 as supervisor of the Environmental Microbiology and Serology Sections of the State Laboratory in Miami. He became part of the Food and Waterborne Disease Program in 1994 as Regional Environmental Epidemiologist for the South Florida area. Juan’s office is located in Miami and he is responsible for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
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