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Duval health director at center of TB outbreak retires

Dr. Bob Harmon, chairman of the Duval County Health Department, announced his retirement today. Harmon and other state Department of Health officials have been criticized in recent weeks for their response to a deadly tuberculosis outbreak among the state's homeless population.

His resignation comes after a series of stories from the Florida Times-Union and Palm Beach Post that criticized the state and Duval County officials for failing to notify the public of the outbreak or respond to inquiries about how it was being handled.

harmon's last day is Wednesday. Volusia County Health Department Director Dr. Bonnie Sorensen will serve as interim health director for Duval County.

Here is the statement from Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong announcing Harmon's retirement:

“On behalf of the Florida Department of Health and the Duval County Health Department, I want to express appreciation to Dr. Bob Harmon for his service to public health over 34 years and wish him well in retirement.

In this transition, I have appointed Volusia County Health Department Director Dr. Bonnie J. Sorensen to serve as Interim Director for Duval County, where she is currently serving as the Incident Commander for the tuberculosis cluster investigation. Dr. Sorensen’s willingness to serve the people of Duval and Volusia departments is a testament to her tireless commitment to public health in Florida.

We are launching an immediate national search for the next Director of the Duval County Health Department.”