University of South Florida


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Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos awarded the 2024 Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health

The USF College of Public Health (COPH) has named Stephanie Haridopolos, MD, the 2024 Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health.

The college bestows the award each year to a woman whose career accomplishments and leadership contribute significantly to the field of public health in Haridopolos received the award at the USF COPH National Public Health Week Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 3.

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                                   Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos (Photo courtesy of Haridopolos)

A well-known primary care physician, medical writer and philanthropist for more than 20 years, Haridopolos currently serves as chair of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation Board of Directors, a nonprofit, public-private partnership created by the Florida Legislature to expand access to affordable, child-centered health insurance. 

“As a Florida Healthy Kids board member since 1991, I have experienced a succession of board chairs and other leaders,” said Dr. Steve Freedman, COPH professor and associate director for policy development at the USF Chiles Center. “Dr. Haridopolos stands out with her unique combination of foresight and insight to advance meaningful outcomes toward the mission of providing comprehensive, affordable, quality healthcare for Florida’s children.”

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Drs. Stephanie Haridopolos and Steve Freedman at the COPH’s National Public Health Week Awards Ceremony. (Photo by Caitlin Keough)

Under her leadership, Florida Healthy Kids Corporation’s CEO Ryan West said that Haridopolos shared two critical missions of hers in working toward the corporation’s goal to reduce the number of uninsured children in Florida. First, to advocate for legislative change to make the Florida KidCare program more affordable for working families. And second, to develop innovative ways to secure better health outcomes for future generations.

“Dr. Haridopolos’ tireless efforts to advocate for and invest in Florida’s children in tangible, long-term ways have undoubtedly changed the future of children’s health insurance in our state,” West said. “Her passion for helping others and dedication to implementing change are inspiring.”

In June 2023, Haridopolos led a successful effort to have the legislature increase eligibility for subsidized coverage from 200% to 300% of the federal poverty level for children in Florida KidCare. Signed into law, House Bill 121 establishes a glidepath for families by allowing them to keep subsidized coverage as they earn more, allowing the pursuit of financial stability without losing the government assistance that the families receive. 

“During the 2023 Legislative Session, I worked with Dr. Haridopolos on House Bill 121. Our work didn’t take place in a silo—it was a collaborative, multi-year effort and it paid off,” Florida Representative Robin Bartleman said. “It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Haridopolos, whose altruistic heart and dedication to making a difference for Florida families were ever apparent through this process.”

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Dr. Haridopolos with nominators Ryan West and Dr. Steve Freedman at the National Public Health Week Awards Ceremony reception. (Photo by Caitlin Keough)

A board-certified family medicine physician, Haridopolos completed her residency at Albany Medical Center in New York after receiving her bachelor of science degree from Stetson University in 1994 and medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in 1998.

She was appointed by U.S. Senator Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Board of Medicine in May 2017, where she had previously served as chair of the Rules and Legislative Committee and vice-chair of the Probation Committee. She has held positions with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Foundation, the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Florida Statewide Drug Task Force.

“It's about making a difference. It's nice to be recognized, don't get me wrong, but that's not why I do it. I do it because I have a supportive family who endlessly support my endeavors, I have a husband who has the leadership skills who I've learned from, I have my knowledge of medicine and my knowledge of the political process and how agencies work. So, I was able to marry all of those talents together to make a difference,” Haridopolos said. “This award only motivates me to do more and I'm not stopping here.”

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