It is with great pleasure to announce Penny Smith has agreed to serve as the new Interim Director of the Division of Maternal and Child Health at the Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange). Ms. Smith will be responsible for providing oversight for the programs of Healthy Start, Community Health, Family Planning and Prenatal Health, Women’s Infant and Children (WIC), and the Bellies, Babies, and Beyond program.
Ms. Smith has over 33 years of experience in maternal and child health and has served the Healthy Start Community since 1993. Immediately prior to taking on this role, Ms. Smith was DOH-Orange’s Healthy Start Program Manager where she was responsible for Coordinated Intake and Referrals, Healthy Start Care Coordination, Nurse Family Partnership, Safe Futures, SNAP-Ed, and the Bellies, Babies, and Beyond program. A position she has held since 2004 after working a multitude of positions ranging from home visitor to outreach counselor.
A native of Central Florida, Ms. Smith earned her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. She serves as an active member of Orange County’s Infant Mortality Taskforce and the Florida Healthy Start Coordinated Intake and Referral Home Visiting Advisory Council. Ms. Smith was recognized as the October 2019 DOH-Orange Employee of the Month and honored with a 2015 DOH-Orange Public Health Hero award. She is also a recipient of the distinguished 2013 Perinatal Platinum Public Health Leadership Award.
Ms. Smith is passionate about the health of her community spending her career actively engaged in the planning and coordinating of services to pregnant and postpartum women, fathers, teens, and infants. Stating that “networking and fostering relationships is a priority, as it ‘takes a whole village to raise a child’” to quote her favorite African proverb.