Health in a Heartbeat
Team

Sue Wagner
Sue Wagner became the official voice of Health in a Heartbeat on March 1, 2004, replacing Polly Anderson, who served as program voice since its creation in 2000. Sue currently serves as director of communications for WUFT-TV and WUFT/WJUF-FM. She has worked at the public broadcasting stations for more than 17 years and serves as voice talent for program promotion and underwriting credits, fund drives, and special event and image advertisements. Other voice work experience includes narrating a national water company Web site and Hippodrome State Theater commercials.

R. Whit Curry Jr., M.D.
Dr. R. Whit Curry Jr. is the lead medical adviser for Health in a Heartbeat. Curry is a professor and the chairman of the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He received his medical degree from Duke University Medical School in 1971. He completed his training in internal medicine at Stanford University Medical Center and became board certified in internal medicine in 1974. After spending two years in the National Health Service Corps, he completed a fellowship in family medicine at the University of Florida and became board certified in family medicine in 1979. Curry has been a faculty member with the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine since 1977 and was appointed chairman in 1992.

Curry has won several teaching awards as Teacher of the Year, has been listed in The Best Doctors in America since 1995 and has received certificates of recognition from the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation and the Florida Medical Association. Curry has been a consultant for the Education Council for the National Diabetes Education Initiative and is currently a national advisory board member of the EthicAd Council. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians, a member of the Society for Health and Human Values, the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine, the Florida Medical Association, the Teachers of Preventive Medicine and the Alachua County Medical Association. Curry has given numerous presentations and workshops on various topics on the national, state and local level. His medical interests include cardiology and diabetes, general medicine, health maintenance and preventive services.

Melanie Fridl Ross, M.S.J., E.L.S., Director, Office of News and Communications/Senior Producer and Managing Editor
Melanie Fridl Ross is director and senior medical writer/editor at University of Florida Health Science Center News and Communications. As senior producer and managing editor for Health in a Heartbeat, she oversees operations for the series and serves as a senior editor for the script production process. Ross joined UF in 1992 from The Tampa Tribune, where she was a reporter. She holds a master’s degree in journalism with a concentration in newspaper administration from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her bachelor’s degree is in American culture from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She is a past president of the Florida chapter of the American Medical Writers Association and currently serves on the organization’s national executive committee. She also is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, the Council of Science Editors and the National Association of Science Writers.

April Frawley Birdwell
April Frawley Birdwell is the editor of The Post and a medical writer in the HSC Office of News & Communications. Before joining the HSC News & Communications staff, she was a reporter and assistant editor for the Charlotte Sun, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news in 2005. As a reporter, she covered education and features and won seven national and three state awards for her writing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida.

John Pastor, Assistant Director, Office of News and Communications/Public Relations Director, McKnight Brain Institute/Genetics Institute
John Pastor is the assistant director for the Office of News and Communications and public relations director for the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida and the UF Genetics Institute. He came to UF after more than 20 years in journalism, including stints as the editor of The Daily Commercial in Leesburg, Fla., and as opinion editor of the Press Journal in Vero Beach, Fla. He has received top editorial writing awards in state and international newspaper competitions and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Jill Pease, Writer
Jill Pease directs public relations for the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions. She joined the college in 2001 and has worked in public relations and marketing for the past eight years, after working in previous positions at the Medical College of Ohio and St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Central College in Iowa.

Kim Rose, Co-founder and Producer Emeritus
Kim Rose is assistant director in Shands HealthCare’s Marketing and Public Relations department. She’s been with Shands since 1995. Her team oversees corporate communications (media relations, internal communications and disaster-response/crisis communications) for the north central Florida health system. Rose was a co-founder and senior producer of Health In A Heartbeat from 2000 through 2004, overseeing operations and helping to launch the series and establish its national reputation for quality programming. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Prior to joining Shands, she worked for the City of Gainesville’s Division of Cultural Affairs and directed two annual festivals, the Downtown Festival and Arts Show and the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, and a variety of cultural programs for children and youth. Rose is a past member of the WUFT-TV board of trustees and the City of Gainesville Cultural Affairs Board, and she is a current member of the Florida Public Relations Association and the Public Relations Society of America.

Ben Wilson, Audio Engineer and Producer
Ben Wilson is a producer and the jazz director for WUFT/WJUF-FM. He received both his master’s degree in mass communication and his bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Before becoming a full-time staff member of WUFT, Ben left Florida for awhile to be the operation manager of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ noncommercial educational radio station.

Dana Hill, Audio Engineer and Audio Editor
Since 2002, Dana Hill has hosted “Afternoon Classics” on Classic 89 and Nature Coast 90. He is the host/producer of “The Pre-Opera Program” each Saturday, and a regular technical director for Mid-Florida Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” In addition to playing an active role in “Sikorski’s Attic,” North Central Florida’s premier program on antiques and collectibles, he also serves as assistant traffic manager. Dana lives in Gainesville, where he enjoys home improvement and watching Northern cardinals.