(1) The department may conduct studies concerning the epidemiology of diseases of public health significance, such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome and other diseases in Florida. These studies may not duplicate national studies but shall be designed to provide special insight and understanding into Florida-specific problems given this state’s unique climate and geography, demographic mix, and high rate of immigration.
(2) Epidemiological studies designed by the department shall emphasize practical applications and utility in the control of diseases of public health significance, such as acute or chronic diseases caused by infectious agents, host factors, or toxic substances. These studies shall, to the maximum extent possible, use state and local public health workers as field teams, study design team members, reviewers, and co-authors. Epidemiological studies conducted pursuant to this section shall be directed by the State Health Officer or his or her designee.
(3) The department shall work with the various universities and colleges in this state, including, but not limited to, the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida, when it deems it appropriate and necessary in carrying out such studies.