The Florida State Board of Health was created in 1889 in response to a fearsome epidemic of yellow fever that hit the town of Jacksonville the previous year. Local county health departments began appearing in the early 1930s and here in Brevard the Brevard/Osceola Health Department opened its doors in the old BelAire Arcade, downtown Cocoa in January of 1947. The first health director was Dr. James Wells and he had a staff consisting of two public health nurses, a sanitarian and a clerk.
In 1954 a dramatic change occurred to the quiet coastal communities that made up Brevard; Cape Canaveral was selected to be the launch site for the developing space program called NASA. The population exploded from 20,000 to well over 100,000. By 1959 the Brevard/Osceola County Health Department split, and Brevard now had its own health department.
From 1962 to 1977, three clinics were opened to provide easier access to public health services throughout the county. At that time the staff of the health department was 161 serving a population over 250,000.
With a staff of approximately 400, the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County responds to the public health needs of the over 500,000 Brevard citizens. The future will hold new public health challenges and DOH-Brevard is ready.