Melissa Bell was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Florida, she worked as a Business Analyst for NCR Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia, Liberty Corner, New Jersey and Orlando, Florida. Melissa returned to the University of Florida to obtain her Juris Doctorate degree, with Honors. After graduating from law school, Melissa worked for two Jacksonville, Florida law firms, collectively for a total of 12 years: Brant, Moore, Macdonald & Wells and McGuireWoods, specializing primarily in commercial and employment litigation.
Unfortunately, Lyme Disease has profoundly impacted Melissa's family. After years of searching for answers, Melissa and her children were finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease and multiple other tick-borne infections. Melissa saw first hand the struggles that so many other Florida families face due to poor awareness in the state, faulty testing, and flawed treatment guidelines that fail to take into account the complexities of treating late stage, disseminated Lyme Disease, particularly in the presence of co-infections. Through personal experience and outreach to others, Melissa observed that patients in Florida are routinely condemned to unnecessary suffering because they are denied the opportunity for early diagnosis, along with safe efficacious treatments.
Melissa founded Florida Lyme Disease in 2013 in an effort to raise awareness throughout the state, and to provide leadership for statewide advocacy initiatives. Melissa is excited to partner with the talented, passionate Northeast Florida Lyme Association team to improve Lyme Disease education, awareness and surveillance in the State of Florida.