Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Health Consultant
Florida Department of Health - Tallahassee, FL

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The Division of Disease Control and Health Protection, Bureau of Epidemiology, Florida Department of Health is seeking a full-time Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Health Scientist responsible for the development of collaborations and essential partnerships to create appropriate decision processes and disease surveillance related to harmful algal blooms (HABs).

As a member of an interdisciplinary team of epidemiologists, public health professionals, and environmental managers, the successful Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Health Scientist will have the opportunity to collaborate on a variety of emerging public health issues related to HABs including documentation of exposures to people and domestic animals, refinement of case definitions, and development of integrated, multi-agency response strategies, and utilization of remote sensing capabilities for detection, forecasting and preparedness capacity.

Components will include 1) Maintenance of essential partnerships, 2) Facilitating stakeholder interaction, 3) Fostering effective and efficient data sharing and transfer mechanisms between partners, 4) Development of outreach and education programs to mitigate HAB related illness, 5) consult with technical experts to obtain and disseminate information about the public health risks from HABs, and 6) assist county health departments with response efforts designed to prevent adverse health effects. Major stakeholders include Florida Department of Health county health departments (CHDs), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Mote Marine Laboratory, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Work activities may include, but are not limited to: • Perform surveillance data collection, documentation and interpretation • Facilitate data sharing between FDOH, FWC, CDC and NOAA • Communicate with CDC on a routine basis to coordinate surveillance and response activities • Find creative solutions to furthering research efforts aimed at developing an understanding of the human health effects of HAB exposures • Provide technical support and consultation to CHDs when they are investigating cases of human illnesses • Develop risk communication messaging on the effects of HAB exposures and how the public can mitigate adverse health reactions • Alert CHDs on the locations and severity of harmful algal blooms they can prepare for public inquires and develop appropriate risk communication materials • Notify partners when forecasts for HABs are at levels deemed to be of public health significance; and to initiate mitigation and management strategies aimed at limiting human exposures • Coordinate a joint response with governmental agencies when public notifications are required • Provide technical expertise to CHDs, WMDs, and environmental agencies (FWC and FDEP) on the human health effects of HABs • Increase Florida’s capacity to respond to and investigate illnesses associated with exposures and document the impacts of HAB exposures and human health • Interview people who develop illnesses possibly associated with HAB exposures • Perform other related duties as assigned

Candidate must have excellent written and oral communication skills including experience communicating with the public and explaining the health risks. A master’s level degree in biology, environmental health sciences, or public health or a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields with at least 3 years of employment experience in a relevant field is required. Knowledge of statistical and epidemiology research methods is preferred. Additional expertise in environmental and epidemiology concepts including disease transmission, case detection, laboratory testing, and causal pathway assessments is a plus. Experience with Microsoft Office, including PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Word, and Excel is also preferred.

Organization Description:
: This position is located in the Bureau of Epidemiology at the Florida Department of Health. The position is part of the Public Health Toxicology Section and is located in Tallahassee, Florida. The Bureau of Epidemiology leads the Department of Health's efforts to prevent diseases through surveillance, case and outbreak investigation, training and information dissemination and development of appropriate public health protection strategies. This position is supported with a federal grant with a pay range of $40,000 to $50,000. This grant funded position will end September 30, 2013.

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