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

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About Us

Florida Department of Health in Manatee County

Working for a Healthier Manatee County 

DOH Manatee Building

Welcome to the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County (DOH-Manatee), where we strive to make our community as healthy as it can be.  As your county health department, we offer :

  • Clinical and nutrition services like immunizations, family planning, women's health, and WIC

  • Infectious disease services like epidemiology, HIV/AIDS and STD services

  • Vital records (birth and death certificates)

  • Environmental health services

  • Community programs that promote healthy living in every corner of the county

  • And more!

Vision, Mission and Values 

To be the healthiest state in the nation

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

Values (I CARE)

I nnovation: We search for creative solutions and manage resources wisely.

C ollaboration: We use teamwork to achieve common goals and solve problems.

A ccountability: We perform with integrity and respect.

R esponsiveness: We achieve our mission by serving our customers and engaging our partners.

E xcellence: We promote quality outcomes through learning and continuous performance improvement.

Our History 

DOH-Manatee was created by the Manatee County Commission in 1921 with a health officer, a nurse and a clerk. The administrative office was on the 2nd floor of the courthouse and the clinic was in the basement and local physicians served as the public health officer. In 1947, the health department became affiliated with the Florida State Board of Health and, Dr. William L. Wright became the first full-time health officer, initially sharing his time with Sarasota. As staff and services increased, additional space was needed.

A new health center was built in 1955 at 202 6th Avenue East in BradentonDr. James B. Anderson, a retired army colonel, is credited for securing the most community support for its construction.  The new 4,400 square-foot center had a staff of 14. Space was added in 1966, allowing for a total of 8,400 square feet and a staff of 37. In June 1980, Manatee County Commissioners gave the health department another building (previously used by the Welfare Department) at 216 6th Avenue East.

Demand for public health services continued to grow. In October 1988, a $3 million public health center opened, having 32,000 square feet, housing 100 staff, and named for John Ambrusko, M.D., the director of the center. The 202 6th Avenue East building was remodeled and housed the environmental health services staff. In 1992, the 216 6th Avenue East building was renovated and the environmental health staff became the new occupants, returning the 202 6th Avenue East building to Manatee County.

DOH-Manatee's Directors

  • William L. Wright, M.D., 1947-1952
  • John S. Neill, M.D., 1952-1958
  • Fredrick K. Allen, M.D., 1959-1963
  • George Dame, M.D., 1963-1970
  • Sam T. Simpson, M.D., 1971-1976
  • John Ambrusko, M.D., 1977-1989
  • Gladys Branic, M.D., M.P.H., D.S.W. 1989-2009
  • Jennifer Bencie,  M.D., M.S.A - 2010- Present