Maternal-child health leader named Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health

Tampa, FL (April 7, 2011) —  Annette Phelps, ARNP, MSN, family health services division director for the Florida Department of Health, has been named the Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health for 2011 by the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

The College bestows the award each year to a woman whose career accomplishments and leadership have contributed significantly to the field of public health in Florida. Phelps was honored during an awards ceremony April 6 at the Interdisciplinary Research Building in the USF Research Park.

Annette Phelps, ARNP, MSN

Phelps has been instrumental in policy and program development for public health and public health nursing.  At the Florida Department of Health, Phelps established a state-level maternal-child health infrastructure, including a nationally-renowned epidemiologist, to take Florida to the next level of evidence-based practice.

Nearly all hallmark maternal and child health programs developed in Florida over the last 15 years reflect her influence. A few of the many initiatives she helped develop and nurture include the statewide Healthy Start program, the nationally-recognized Pregnancy Associated Mortality Reviews Program, expanded Medicaid coverage of pregnant women, preconception health, and MomCare, a community-based program to  improve birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality.

Phelps holds a certificate as a Nurse Practitioner in Adult Care and received her Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Florida. She also earned a certificate from the Public Health Leadership Institute at the USF College of Public Health. 

Before joining the state Department of Health in Tallahassee in 1989, Phelps worked nine years for the Okaloosa County Public Health Unit in Fort Walton Beach, FL.  She ended her tenure there as the senior community health nursing supervisor.

Phelps has served on several statewide advisory and leadership boards, including the Healthy Families Advisory Committee where she has been a member since 2002.

The Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health Award was initiated by USF in 1988, and nominations are solicited from public health practitioners across the state. Past honorees have included Lillian Stark, PhD, MPH, director of virology at the Florida Department of Health Tampa Branch Laboratory; University of Miami epidemiologist Lora E. Fleming, MD, and Florida’s Division of Environmental Health Director Lisa Ann Conti, DVM, MPH.

– USF Health –

USF Health is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School Physical of Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group.  With more than $394.1 million in research grants and contracts in FY2009/2010, the University of South Florida is a high impact global research university.

Media contact:
Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Public Affairs
(813) 974-3300 or