Our chapter serves both the Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia region. Our members include Infection Preventionist, Epidemiologist, vendors and friends who are seeking to collaborate on activities centered around patient safety and care.
Stefanie Buchanan is an Infection Preventionist at the UF Health Downtown campus. Stefanie's educational background includes an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Florida Community College at Jacksonville and a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Central Florida. Mrs. Buchanan is board certified in Infection Control and began her Infection Prevention training in the ambulatory setting and transitioned from there into acute care and has over eight years of experience in the field. Her nursing background includes work in various healthcare settings including community, academic and research hospitals. Beyond her infection control practice, her professional experience includes service as a perioperative nurse in ambulatory surgery, operating room circulator in Urology/Gynecology/Robotics, and Sepsis Coordinator for one of the first hospitals certified by the Joint Commission for sepsis management. Stefanie is also a member of APIC and currently serves an active role as President in the Northeast Florida region APIC chapter.
Dr. Melody Wu - Ballis is a former fellow at the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Public Health in Washington D.C. During her experience at the VA, she worked on the Infectious Diseases Division, HIV and HCV and Clinical Public Health Pathogens and she is also a former fellow at The Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Wu - Ballis holds an MPH degree from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia with a concentration in Epidemiology. She received her Undergraduate and Professional Doctorate degrees from the School of Veterinary Medicine at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) in Lima, Peru where she is originally from. Dr. Wu- Ballis is board certified in Infection Prevention and Control, and currently serves as Vice President for the Northeast Florida region APIC Chapter.
Ms. Kay graduated from the Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in 2003 with an MPH in epidemiology. Immediately after graduation, she enrolled in the Florida Epidemic Intelligence Service and then continued on to a position at the Florida Department of Health. Currently, Ms. Kay is board certified in infection prevention and is a Clinical Epidemiologist at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned the status of Fellow of the Association in Infection Control and Epidemiology in 2017. Ms. Kay's work over the past 10 years has dramatically impacted outbreak detection, infection control practices, and how disaster surveillance is conducted in the State of Florida. One of her many notable accomplishments includes designing and evaluating epidemiological surveillance systems to enhance outbreak detection. In another instance she tracked the source of an outbreak of Hepatitis C at a Jacksonville hospital. The three-year investigation resulted in the capture and conviction of a hospital worker who was infecting syringes. And she worked with the Florida poison control centers where her tireless efforts led to the identification of multiple cases of carbon monoxide linked to generators. This resulted in the Consumer Product Safety Commission requiring a warning label on generators. Her work has impacted health on both the state and national levels in areas such as communicable diseases, hospital-acquired infections and infection control.
Heather Parth is an Infection Control Practitioner at Mayo Clinic. Ms. Parth earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Florida. She is board certified in Infection Control. Her work experience includes environmental laboratory bench work, genetics research, and public health epidemiology and preparedness. During her tenure with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), Ms. Parth was the state study coordinator for the CDC grant-funded meningococcal vaccine effectiveness project and later served five local counties as the Northeast Florida Consortium Epidemiologist. Ms. Parth was presented with the FDOH Individual Award for Excellence in Epidemiology in 2016. She currently serves as secretary to the Northeast Florida region APIC Chapter.
Aleya Byrd is a Nurse Epidemiologist for Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Ms. Byrd is a registered nurse and has a Bachelor Degree in Community Health. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and is board certified in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Aleya has experience in infection prevention that spans to include long term care, a rehabilitation hospital, adult acute care and pediatrics. She was named one of the Great 100 Nurses for Advocacy of Northeast Florida in 2017. She is currently the treasurer of APIC Ch. 50 and she was elected to serve on the national APIC education committee. Aleya will be presenting at the Society for Pediatric Nursing national conference this spring on the topic of the Collaboration between Quality and Infection Control. She was instrumental in process improvements at her hospital that lead to the facility being given the 2018 John Curran Quality Improvement award.
Marilyn is the Manager of Infection Prevention for UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North. She graduated with a BSN from the University of Miami, she recently obtained a Master's of Science Degree in Nursing from Western Governors University. Marilyn's nursing career spans nearly 4 decades heavily concentrated in critical care in such areas as Surgical Intensive Care, Coronary Care, PACU, Neuroscience Intensive Care and Medical Intensive Care; she has been a critical care nurse since 1986. Marilyn actively maintains her skills as a critical care nurse by working at a local hospital bi-weekly. Marilyn additionally has experience in long term care where she served in leadership roles that included Director of Nurses, Assistant Director of Nurses, and Staff Development. Marilyn began her current position in Infection Control in 2007 at what was then Shands Jacksonville. At that time the department had an FTE allowance of 2.0 staff persons. She became Manager of the Infection Control Department in June 2011. She has seen the transition of the role of Infection Prevention emerge from a limited position to the dynamic role that Infection Preventionists serve in hospitals and medical facilities presently. Marilyn currently serves as the Legislative Representative for the Northeast Florida region APIC Chapter.
Dawn Smith is the Director of Quality and Accreditation at Baptist Jacksonville, flagship hospital for Baptist Health of NE Florida’s five hospital system. Ms. Smith’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing from Jacksonville University as well as a Master’s of Science Degree in Nursing from Jacksonville University. She is currently working on her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Jacksonville University. Ms. Smith is board certified in Infection Control and has been in the nursing profession for 24 years with experience in many clinical areas including medical/surgical, critical care, peri-operative and interventional radiology nursing. She has been named as one of the Great 100 Nurses of NE Florida (2015), Legendary Caregiver BMCB (2014) and was nominated by her peers for Inspirational Nurse of the Year (2014 and 2015) that is presented by Health Source Magazine.
Ch. 50 Education Chair
Marko Predic is one of the infection preventionists at UF Health Jacksonville. He holds a Master's in epidemiology as well as a Bachelor's in microbiology and cell sciences from the University of Florida. In addition to his microbiology degree he has spent time working as researcher within a genetics lab. He comes in with experience in infection control from UF Health in Gainesville, having both worked and conducted research while at the Infection Prevention and Control department. He currently oversees a mix of hospital units, including intensive care units and tuberculosis units. Marko is actively working on research and publication along with his daily tasks within the department. His interests include surveillance epidemiology of both infectious diseases and multi-drug resistant organisms.