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Posted, Friday, September 16, 2005
The first Haitian-American secretary of health, in the state of Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Sept. 15, 2005 - Gov. Jeb Bush named Dr. M. Rony Francois on Thursday to be the state's new secretary of health, which will make him the first Haitian-American to head a Florida state agency.

Francois, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida's College of Public Health in Tampa, replaces Dr. John Agwunobi, who was nominated by President Bush to be assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Francois, 47, was born in Haiti and came to the United States in 1979 to pursue an education.

Along with a medical degree, Francois holds master's degrees in exercise physiology and public health and a doctorate in toxicology.

Francois, who begins his new job Monday, said prevention of disease would be among his top priorities - especially heart disease, the top killer of adults.

He said that under his direction the Department of Health would be focused on improving people's lifestyles to try and avoid disease.

Francois also said that narrowing disparities in health care between different races and social classes would be a top priority.

Copyright 2004, The Gainesville Sun 

*Related photographs: A Haitian native Canadian governor general                                               , the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights
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