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Dr. Zelnick attended undergraduate school at Tulane University and completed medical school at the College of Osteopathic Medicine & Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa. He completed a family practice residency at the University of Wisconsin and also completed an occupational medicine fellowship at the University of Cincinnati. He is board certified in family medicine, occupational medicine, as well as general preventive medicine and public health.
Dr. Zelnick currently serves as the director of the Sumter County Health Department in Bushnell, Florida. Prior to this, he completed a 24-year career in the United States Air Force Medical Service and retired with the rank of colonel in 2007. Dr. Zelnick served as consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General from 1995-1999 and authored several articles on occupational health. His main areas of interest concerned field of visual field studies of industrial respirators, as well as the prevention of exposures to jet and rocket fuels. His work on visual fields was recognized as the best paper published in the American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal for 1994 by the Michigan Industrial Hygiene Association. This work is also referenced in an official position statement concerning visual safety by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and is referenced in a textbook on visual ergonomics.
While in the Air Force, Dr. Zelnick was chief of the medical division at the Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Support Office from 2001-04. He was responsible for the medical contingency training, planning, and response in the event of space shuttle mishaps world-wide. For his work on treatment of potential rocket fuel exposure during this time, he was awarded the Silver Snoopy Award, the highest award given by the NASA astronaut corps.
His areas of special interest concerning public health are the analyses of health disparities within Sumter County, the pursuit of health department accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board, and the development of academic-public health partnerships with local universities and academic centers.