Why is infant mortality higher for minority women in Florida? A UF Health study aims to find out

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Certain communities in Florida face greater health challenges than others, according to former Florida Surgeon General and CDC Deputy Director Doctor Celeste Philip.

It’s an issue that will be tackled by UF Health through a multi-million dollar grant from the Florida Blue Foundation.

UF Health will be working for the next four years to figure out some of the greatest health disparities in the state through the $3.71 million grant.

“It has a statewide impact so what that means is that our work will be statewide so we will have partners around the state engaging around those two topics health equity and social justice,” said Ann-Marie Knight with UF Health.

One issue UF plans to look into is infant mortality, a health disparity that is higher for minority women, according to the CDC.

UF Health Jacksonville will be the hub but health partners will include:

  • 904Ward, a group that deals with racial health and equity
  • Florida Health Justice Project in Miami
  • Hispanic Federation in Orlando

The research and response to health disparities will be community driven so the groups will be looking for feedback on what you think are the most important health issues in your community.

“We want our residents across the state to talk to us, what is it they are working on or would like to work on and what are they facing,” Knight said.

Knight says the focus will not just be in major cities, but rural communities too with one goal in mind.

“Let’s close these gaps so our state can shine brighter than any other state across the nation,” Knight said.

Dr. Leon Haley, who was the CEO UF Health and Dean of Medicine, passed away last year. Before his passing, he said one of his goals and the goal of the hospital was to decrease if not put an end to health disparities.

Knight said she could not help but think of Dr. Haley when the grant was awarded.


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