“For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be involved in healing people. I love the idea of serving the community, and in public health you can help large populations, and get to have a bigger impact than a physician in private practice.”
“DEDICATED AND OUTSTANDING PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIAL”
In October 2001, Jean Malecki and the Palm Beach County Health Department in Florida, leapt into the headlines as the first medical team in the county to deal with a biological terror attack. A deadly anthrax powder sent through the mail was first detected in Palm Beach County, eventually killing five people across the country. Jean Malecki mobilized a team within the Health Department that diagnosed the first puzzling anthrax cases, and then led an investigation with the Emergency Management Response Team that sought to reassure a nervous public and prevent further attacks. For Malecki it was the ultimate test of her passion for public health.
"I've always wanted to heal people and help the community," she says today. "The anthrax emergency was a tremendous lesson in responding to and helping a large population." Palm Beach County is now a model for public health and emergency response teams nationwide. Malecki knew from an early age that she wanted to be a doctor and heal people. Directing public health operations gives her that opportunity on a larger scale than a private doctor.
Nominated by Rep Robert Wexler (D-FL-19), Jean Malecki "epitomizes the meaning of public health and public service," according to Wexler, who credits her fast response to the anthrax threat with helping the public confront a frightening ordeal.
Jean Malecki became the Director of Palm Beach County Health Department, the largest in the state, in 1991. She has led in efforts to fight West Nile Virus, HIV/AIDS, and a local outbreak of malaria, all with her trademark optimism and energy that has also brought the County Health Department nation-wide recognition for innovation and quality of services.
Medical education is also a passion and commitment. She directs a nationally-accredited county health department residency program that trains physicians in preventive medicine and public health. She is Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine, and lectures widely on public health including HIV/AIDS, and bioterrorism.
She is the recipient of the award for Outstanding Woman in Public Health from the University of South Florida in 2000, and in 2002, the J. Howard Beard Award for her work in the first case in the history of the United States of inhalation anthrax bioterrorism. She is board certified in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health and is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Malecki is widely published and her advice is much sought for on public health. And what is her finest achievement? "Overall, personally, raising a successful, beautiful daughter. But professionally, the creation of the best and most modeled public health department in the country."
Appointed Medical Director, Health and Rehabilitation Services, Palm Beach County, Health Department, West Palm Beach, Florida
Becomes Director of Graduate Programs in Public Health, Residency in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Department of Health, Palm Beach County Health Department, West Palm Beach, Florida
Appointed Director, Department of Health, Palm Beach County Health Department, West Palm Beach, Florida
Appointed Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Davie, Florida
New York Medical College
Public Health and Preventive Medicine