Northeast Florida assessment aims to help ensure ‘healthier quality of life’

Hospitals will use data from survey to implement changes and strategies to improve community health

File photo. (WPLG)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In efforts to address the critical health needs of the Jacksonville community, the nonprofit hospital partnership announced the results of the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) study on Thursday at the Jessie Ball duPont Center.

Each hospital in the partnership will use the CHNA data to implement strategies to improve the health and well-being of the community in the identified areas of need.

According to a news release, the Community Health Needs Assessment collected data from over 1,300 residents and found that 50% of the participants are affected by social factors, such as socioeconomic status and access to transportation, affordable housing and healthy foods. However, only 20% of an individual’s health is determined by accessible quality care.

The study also found nine primary health concerns. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Drug abuse & misuse/overdose
  • Housing
  • Maternal and child health
  • Poverty
  • Transportation

This assessment is conducted every three years to “gain deeper understanding of the pressing and persisting health issues affecting the community.” This is the fourth assessment conducted since the partnership was formed in 2011.

The assessment used community input data such as interviews, a bilingual community survey administered to five Northeast Florida communities, and focus groups representing people of color, low-income households, the LGBTQ community, persons with differing abilities, and military veterans.

DOCUMENT: Read the survey results here

The president and CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation, Doug Baer, was a speaker at an event Thursday to announce the results and noted the significance of the partnership:

President and CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation Doug Baer (Courtesy of nonprofit hospital partnership)

“Anytime we can work together more, we can get more done and address things. We have more resources, more coordinated. We cover more geography,” said Baer. “It’s a much better situation than many communities have, and I think that’s going to come through when we really study these statistics and this Community Health Needs Assessment, we evaluate our results over time.”

The Jacksonville nonprofit hospital partnership fosters a healthy collaborative relationship between five health systems and 13 hospital campuses, including Ascension St. Vincent’s, Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Brooks Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic in Florida, and UF Health Jacksonville.

“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with other area hospitals on the shared goal of serving the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Dr. Kent Thielen, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “The CHNA provides a valuable opportunity for us to identify needs and improve the quality of life in our community through collaboration, awareness, education and access to care initiatives.”

The partnership examines issues disproportionately affecting diverse community populations and compares findings against national benchmarks to determine the communities’ state of health. It also provides data on the impact of social determinants of health, including poverty, housing, access to healthy food and transportation.

“I think we know social determinants of health are important so we can, as a community come together and focus on some of those areas, you know, food deserts, mental health issues, […] nutrition, exercise. There’s things that we know, if we can do better at those, we’re gonna have a healthier and happier quality of life and that’s what I know we’re all striving towards,” said Baer.

Each hospital in the partnership will use the CHNA data to implement strategies to improve the health and well-being of the community in the identified areas of need.

About the Author:

As a proud alumnus of Bethune-Cookman University, Kendra is a Jacksonville native, who loves all things lifestyle-related.