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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 Our Health Officer

Florida Department of Health in Sumter County


picture of director Dr. Zelnick

Sanford D. Zelnick, D.O., M.S.
Director, Florida Department of Health in Sumter County (FDOH-Sumter)

2011 - present

Education: Dr. Sanford Zelnick attended undergraduate school at Tulane University and completed medical school at Des Moines University, Des Moines, Iowa. He completed a Family Practice Residency at the University of Wisconsin and an Occupational Medicine Fellowship at the University of Cincinnati. He is board certified in Family Medicine and Occupational Medicine.

Experience: Prior to his arrival at the Department of Health in Sumter County in April 2011, Dr. Zelnick completed a 24-year career in the United States Air Force Medical Service and retired with the rank of colonel in 2007. While in the Air Force, Dr. Zelnick served in various assignments dealing with the occupational health of active duty and civilian employees. From 1995-1999, Dr. Zelnick served as consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General for Occupational Medicine in Washington D.C. From 2001-2004 he served as chief of the medical division at the Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Support Office (DDMS), and was responsible for medical contingency training, planning, and medical response to space shuttle mishaps world-wide. For his published review on treatment of potential rocket fuel exposure during this time and other contributions to flight safety, he was awarded the Silver Snoopy Award, a distinguished award given by the NASA astronaut corps in 2006.

From February 2007 through March 2011, Dr. Zelnick served as a senior physician in the Volusia County Health Department in Daytona Beach.

Dr. Zelnick authored several articles on occupational health. His original research concerning field of vision studies of industrial respirators was recognized as the best paper published in the American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal for 1994 by the
Michigan Industrial Hygiene Association. This work is also referenced in an official position statement concerning visual safety by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

His current areas of special interest concerning public health are the reduction of health disparities within Sumter County, the pursuit of health department accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board, and the development of academic-public health partnerships with local universities and academic centers.