South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday August 4, 2020
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January 2005 - Volume 1 - Issue 6
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Nancy Humbert, Deputy Secretary for Health and State Public Health Nursing Director, Advocates for a Healthy Florida for All Residents

Nancy Humbert, RN, ARNP, a nurse with over 25 years of diverse experience providing for the medical needs of Miami-Dade County residents, is now in a position in which she can have a significant impact on the health and well being of citizens across the entire state of Florida. As the new Deputy Secretary of Public Health, Director of Public Health Nursing and Women’s Health Officer for Florida, Humbert will play a primary role in the effort to promote and protect the health of Floridians of all ages. Those three titles carry heavy responsibilities, but Humbert views her role as an extraordinary opportunity to improve the health and safety of the state. She was appointed to the position on July 12, 2004 – and several weeks later, was presented with a public health challenge of enormous magnitude, with the arrival of Hurricane Charlie.

"Those storms showed me, first, the incredible courage and resilience of Floridians," she says. "People managed as best they could and they pulled together to help each other under terribly difficult circumstances. I was overwhelmed by their pride and compassion. Caregivers were especially heroic, as so many doctors, nurses and others gave of themselves selflessly, coming to work even when they didn’t know how their own homes were faring in the storms."

The storms of 2004 demonstrated to Humbert the power of the partnerships that exist among the many public health agencies in Florida. She made personal visits to 17 of Florida’s 67 counties after the storms, visiting county health departments to offer encouragement and to assess needs. "What I found was that they all were back in business right away, in whatever makeshift capacity they had. All the partner agencies did a great job together. We saw teamwork and leadership at every level, not only at the management level," she says.

Humbert hopes to capitalize on those strengths as she leads her departments into a comprehensive effort to develop "the best public health system in the world." She oversees a number of programs: public health nursing, emergency medical operations, public health laboratories, family health, Department of Health alcohol, drug and tobacco programs and public health research. With an extensive background in women’s and children’s health, Humbert has a special interest in improving the health of women across the lifespan and in promoting more preventive care for children.

"The health of women and children is my passion," she claims. "Women bear a bigger burden, caring for everyone else, and need to learn better self-care. Women’s services are too fragmented at the present time; they need to have easier access to care. One of our goals is to convene people with an interagency council and have a statewide conference on women’s health later next year. We will identify where things are going well and where the gaps exist."

Humbert hopes to improve the health of the state’s children by increasing immunization and newborn screening rates and decreasing the number of uninsured children. She is a former school nurse who believes that schools are an ideal setting to reach children and plant the seeds for healthier futures. There are programs underway for injury prevention, suicide prevention, and substance abuse prevention. "We want to inspire the children and teach them to make healthy choices. They will acquire the skills they need to protect themselves, resolve conflicts and say no to unhealthy behaviors. School health nurses can make a big impact with prevention programs and giving parents the support they need."

Another key objective for Humbert is to promote physical activity among Florida residents. Step-Up Florida is a statewide effort to increase awareness of the numerous benefits of physical activity and to motivate people to get moving. A day in February 2005 has been designated as Step Up Florida Day, with a program of activities to take place across the state.

Prior to assuming her new position, Humbert was the deputy administrator of the Miami-Dade County Public Health Department. She is a graduate of Florida State University and received her master’s degree from Florida International University. Her nursing experience includes intensive care nursing, school nursing and public health nursing. Humbert also worked with Healthy Start, a program that promotes healthy pregnancies and healthy infants among high-risk groups. She is enthusiastic about nursing and anticipates collaborating with the Florida Nurses Association, the Florida Center for Nursing and the university school of nursing deans to encourage nursing careers.

"I am proud to be a nurse and I’m honored to serve as public health nursing director and deputy secretary for health," she says. "My role is to work with everyone on this wonderful team and implement our vision of a healthy state by providing Florida residents with the highest quality services."

Nancy Humbert can be reached at (850) 245-4321.
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