New wellness center seeks to fill critical health need on Northside

Three-story center includes doctors, gym, wellness center

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a one-of-a-kind wellness and medical destination partnership, the YMCA and Baptist Health have opened a new facility within the Baptist Medical campus on the Northside that organizers say will give more access to an area with a critical health need.

"We can be healthier," Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said at Monday's ribbon cutting of the three-story wellness center near I-295 and Dunn Avenue.

The center includes doctor's offices, a gym and a wellness center at one location.

In fact, Duval County is ranked 48th out of 67 counties in Florida when it comes to health in the past year. That's several steps down from 2015 when the county was ranked 43rd.

"It bothers my mind because there's a lot of gyms all over Duval County and I think people just don't access the places like they should," said Ernest Setzler, a 65-year old YMCA gym member. "The older you get, the better shape you need to be in so right now I'm health conscience.:"

Setzler says lack of convenience is a factor that may keep other people from staying active and healthy, an issue he says this new facility is solving.

The healthy living center which is located right next to the YMCA, and it offers many free services, like health screenings and "talk with a doc" classes--things that people on the Northside said they don't have much access to. The great thing about it is that you don't have to be a member of the Y to visit the center.

There are five healthy living centers on the First Coast: Mandarin YMCA, Ponte Vedra YMCA, Riverside Winston YMCA, Northside Johnson YMCA, and Baptist North.

Curry, along with other organizations, started the 904 Mission One Million challenge last year, encouraging people to set health goals and hold themselves accountable by logging weight loss.