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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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Meet Our Administrator

Florida Department of Health - Highlands County

  •  863-386-6040

    Mailing Address

    7205 South George Boulevard Sebring, FL 33875 



Mary Kay Burns, RN, BSN, MBA 

MKB Headshot

Mary Kay Burns is the Administrator of both the Desoto and Highlands County Health Departments. Mary Kay began her role with the Florida Department of Health with a vision to build partnerships in these rural, underserved areas where a lack of services and service duplications existed.  Also, by introducing a participative management style, staff at both health departments have the opportunity to share opinions and contribute to an employee- and customer-driven organization.  Because of this mindset and the resulting positive response, Mary Kay was named “Rookie of the Year” in 2005. 

A keen interest in process management and quality improvement launched Mary Kay's career in healthcare, which includes experience as Vice President of Nursing Services and director roles in case management, utilization review, quality initiatives, and education.  In addition, she led a process mapping initiative for re-engineering and client throughput, which resulted in higher employee/customer satisfaction, enhanced fiscal initiatives, and career accolades.  Mary Kay’s commitment to enhancing customer service at all levels has been the core principle which drives her personal mission and success. 

Mary Kay is a recent recipient of the Leadership DeSoto 2016 Inaugural Alumni Achievement Award, and in June 2016 received an award at the FDOH Statewide Leadership Meeting for her continued commitment to “Demonstrating the Values of FDOH”. She is also a 2009 graduate of the Public Health Leadership Institute of Florida.

Mary Kay believes goals are both internally and externally driven in an individual, and has set strategic goals for the health department, including “Best County Health Department in Florida”, “Leader in the Community”, and “Employer of Choice”. More importantly, she has been a “Take Stock in Children” Mentor for DeSoto School District students since 2009, and recently volunteered as a mentor with the DeSoto High School Mentoring Program for at-risk students. As evidence of her commitment to community involvement, both personally and professionally, Mary Kay is a member of many local and state organizations, including those listed below. 

  •   Rotary Club of Arcadia
  •   Ladies of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (president 1989 and 2005)
  •   DeSoto Economic Development Advisory Committee
  •   DeSoto County Chamber of Commerce (past president)
  •   DeSoto Community Foundation (chair)
  •   Charlotte Behavioral Health Care (board)
  •   Florida Association of Counties, National Association of County and City Health Officers (NACCHO) Representing Florida on:
    • Preparedness Policy Committee
    • New Health Officers Leadership Team
    • Annual Convention Planning Committee
  •   United Way Suncoast Leadership Committee (chair)
  •   Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida (board member)
  •   Health Council of West Central Florida (board member)
  •   Early Learning Coalition of Florida's Heartland (board member)
  •   Southwest Alliance of County Health Officers (co-chair)
  •   Career Source Heartland (board member)
  •   FDOH Bureau of Preparedness and Response Regional Domestic Security Task Force (co-chair)
  •   State Working Group on Domestic Preparedness
  •   Healthcare Coalition Task Force