FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (2024)


DOH-Volusia Helped the Community Get Ready to Go Back-To-School

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (1)

Ryan Miles, Maria Villanueva, Alma Nava and Maggie Benko
get ready to assist families in the vaccination area

DOH-Volusia collaborated with the Environmental Health, Nutrition, Dental and Clinic programs to host Back-to-School events providing information, stress balls, pencils, lunch bags, shot records and vaccinations to students. Over 700 students attended the event. Environmental health specialists provided information regarding water and swimming pool safety. Nutritionists provided information on healthy lunch options, how to avoid sugary drinks and snacks, and distributed MyPlate cutting boards to attendees. Dental hygienists informed parents about their pediatric dental services and school-based sealant program. Clinic staff also provided vaccinations and assisted many families with shot records.

DOH-Santa Rosa hosts #TeamBreastfeeding Trivia Night

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (2)

Gift bag table at the #TeamBreastfeeding Trivia
Night at the Bagdad Community Center

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, the DOH-Santa Rosa WIC breastfeeding support team hosted #TeamBreastfeeding Trivia Nights to unite breastfeeding moms in Santa Rosa County. This year’s theme was Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents. The event, hosted by DOH-Santa Rosa members Lis Jordan and Mallorie Lehman, educated moms on navigating the beauties and challenges of their breastfeeding journeys in a fun, interactive way. Attendees received gift bags, breastfeeding resources, and participated in breastfeeding-themed trivia games.

DOH-Madison Teens Receive Safety Lessons Provided at the Annual Madison County Sheriff's Office Youth Camp

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (3)

A group of campers are instructed on the importance of using seat belts.

In June, DOH-Madison’s School Health program participated in the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Youth Camp alongside more than 20 community partners. Some of the learning experiences for campers included: archery, seat belt, boating, fire, sun and water safety; hand and body hygiene; importance of hydration in hot weather; D.A.R.E. mini classes encouraging good decision-making skills; and career exploration. Over 65 campers, ages 8-17 years old, attended the 3-day camp and are better equipped to have a safe and fun summer.

DOH-Monroe HIV Outreach and Prevention

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National HIV Testing Team in Monroe County

A.H. Monroe, Guidance Care Center, Community Health of South Florida (CHI), and the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County’s HIV Prevention Team collaborated and provided outreach, free HIV testing and prevention, and prevention bags on June 27th in observance of National HIV Testing Day. Approximately 100 people visited the four participating Walgreens locations in Key Largo, Marathon, and Key West.

DOH-Charlotte Hosts Back to School Bash

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (5)

Charlotte County student learning about fire safety.

On July 15th, DOH-Charlotte hosted a back-to-school event serving approximately 300 participants. The purpose of the event was to help families complete their back-to-school check-ups to ensure students are safe and healthy. DOH-Charlotte provided clinical services and dental screenings as well as promotional materials on emerging infectious diseases, injury prevention, water and food safety, safe sleep, “Drain and Cover” mosquito prevention, departmental services, and more. In addition, 20 vendors provided car seat fittings and installations, school supplies and uniforms, literacy materials, fire and public safety information and bicycle helmets.

DOH-Monroe Hosts Second “Health to You” Event

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Community partners at the event.

On June 21, 2023, the DOH-Monroe hosted a community event at Bernstein Park on Stock Island. They provided services to 125 residents including vaccinations, health screenings, STD and HIV testing, bike helmets, WIC and Healthy Start services, and more. Eleven community partners including the City of Key West, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, MCSO Animal Farm, Key West Police Department, Epilepsy Alliance FL, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and others shared the services they provide. This event was an opportunity to bring much needed services to the Stock Island community.

DOH-Marion Staff Receive Training on Dealing with Patients Affected by Dementia.

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A representative of Hospice of Marion County instructs DOH-Marion staff Stephanie Coursey,
Senior RN, about the Virtual Dementia Tour tasks as Michelle Morris, Community Health Nurse,
waits her turn.

On April 25, 2023, 19 DOH-Marion staff experienced what dementia looks, sounds, and feels like by participating in Hospice of Marion County's Virtual Dementia Tour. Participants wore special goggles to demonstrate how dementia slowly restricts eyesight, headphones playing a dizzying background din to highlight increased hearing sensitivity, oversized mitt-like gloves to simulate the deterioration of motor skills, and prickly shoe inserts to replicate neuropathy that makes walking painful. Hospice’s program seeks to raise awareness of dementia for caregivers and healthcare professionals.

DOH-Sumter Staff Participate in a Combined Special Needs Shelter/Dementia Awareness Training

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Presenter Gary LeBlanc showing how to safely move a patient from
a standing to sitting position.

The DOH-Sumter Preparedness Program facilitated a successful training regarding Special Needs Shelter activation at the Sumter County storm shelter. This training also included a presentation from guest speaker Gary LeBlanc from the Dementia Spotlight Foundation. The Dementia Awareness Training included education on different types of dementia, the most common symptoms for each type of dementia, and methods to appropriately interact with patients affected by dementia. The training was very well-received by DOH-Sumter staff, with many newer employees being able to experience what a shelter activation looks like.

DOH-Santa Rosa Hosts Its Very First All Moms All Babies One Mile Color Walk/Run

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (9)

Participants toss their powdered color in the air to begin the All
Moms All Babies One Mile Color Walk/Run on Saturday, April 29.

DOH-Santa Rosa held the All Moms All Babies One Mile Color Walk/Run on April 29 at Bagdad Mill Site Park. The event was held during National Minority Health Month to promote breastfeeding for all babies and a healthier community. Nearly 150 attendees were showered with colorful powder as they traveled the one-mile course. Attendees were also given healthy refreshments and educational information on breastfeeding and healthy movement via the Move Your Way campaign. DOH-Santa Rosa continues its work to decrease infant mortality and increase physical activity through outreach activities.

DOH-Volusia Hosts Second Family Fun Day in West Volusia

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (10)

A photo booth was a fun option for children to get silly.

In celebration of Minority Health Month, DOH-Volusia hosted their second Family Fun Day with the goal of informing our community on how they could improve their health outcomes by taking advantage of DOH-Volusia services and those of our community partners working in Deltona and West Volusia. Deltona is Volusia's most populous city with a large population of children. They were able to offer them water bottles, bags of groceries, sandwiches trail mix, water, and tons of information on how to better their health. Over 80 family members completed "passports" for drawings and then an additional 30 middle school students picked up groceries and sandwiches.

DOH-Citrus Minority Health Fair

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (11)

DOH Citrus Staff and Community Participant 8-Year-Old Eliza Williams
hosting a table about planting vegetables and health benefits from
incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into the diet.

DOH-Citrus and the Health Equity and Disparities Coalition hosted their 2nd Annual Minority Health Fair on April 15th. The fair has 14 different vendor tables providing health screenings, referrals for primary care providers, grocery vouchers, seedlings of squash and green beans, raffle prizes and service referrals for various DOH programs. There were over 70 participants from the community in attendance. They were able to provide 55 referrals, 96 health screenings and give out over 50 grocery vouchers to participants.

DOH-Bay Provides Preventive Dental Services to Incarcerated Juveniles

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (12)

Emalynn Mandapat and Kimberly Melnik, DOH-Bay Dental Hygienists

DOH-Bay’s Children’s Dentistry Clinic partnered with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to provide preventative dental care to incarcerated juveniles at the Bay Regional Juvenile Detention Center. On April 5, using the DOH-Bay Mobile Dental Unit, staff provided preventive care to eight patients. “By bringing our dentistry clinic to these youth we hope to be able to prevent tooth decay and gum disease later in their life,” said Sandon S. Speedling, MHS, CPM, CPH, DOH-Bay, Administrator and Health Officer.

DOH-Polk Lil' Bundles Community Baby Shower

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The FDOH-Polk WIC staff providing education to community

DOH-Polk hosted the Lil’ Bundles Community Baby Shower. This baby shower was a free event open to families with children under the age of three, families who are expecting and those planning to expand their family in the future. Over 360 families connected with vendors from 25 diverse community agencies throughout Polk County from mental health services, healthcare providers, childcare information, prenatal classes, health screenings, HIV testing and so much more! Fifty-one car seats, sixty-one play yards, sixty-four strollers, one hundred sleep sacks, and two hundred door alarms were given to families in need.

DOH-Pasco's Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Hosts a Mobile Mammography Bus

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The DOH-Pasco team partnered with AdventHealth's
3D Mobile Mammography Bus

On April 15, the Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (FBCCEDP) at DOH-Pasco County partnered with AdventHealth to bring a 3D mobile mammography bus to New Port Richey. Early detection is the best protection and FBCCEDP-Pasco encouraged everyone to take charge of their health and have that peace of mind. The event was a success with a total of 22 women who received their 3D mammograms on the AdventHealth mobile mammography bus.

DOH-Volusia Welcomes Volunteers in Medicine to New Smyrna Beach Clinic

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Local elected officials joined DOH-Volusia and Volusia Volunteers in
Medicine and board members for a ribbon cutting.

On March 2, several community members joined Volusia Volunteers in Medicine (VVIM) and DOH-Volusia to cut a ribbon on a new primary care clinic located inside DOH-Volusia's new Smyrna Beach location. VVIM is a group of volunteer medical professionals that includes physicians, physical therapists, nurses, and dentists. They offer free medical care and telehealth visits by appointment to residents aged 18 to 64. The goal of the clinic is to provide access to care to the uninsured of Volusia County and to bring awareness of this great resource.

DOH-Nassau Educates Youth on the Dangers of Tobacco and Refillable Cartridges Through School Assembly

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Dr. Danso-Odei presents the facts to teens about the risks of vaping.

On March 13, Dr. Danso-Odei, the Health Officer for Nassau County, presented to approximately 660, 11th and 12th grade students at "The Facts, Your Future" Assembly at Yulee High School. This presentation was in combination with the Nassau County Superintendent, Cathy Burns, Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Ashlyn Gray, and Sergeant Walton from the Nassau County Sheriff's Office to teach students about the life altering effects of alcohol and drug abuse. Students received information about tobacco use with a specific warning about re-fillable vape cartridges and the risks of those being tainted with other substances.

The DOH-Indian River Wabasso Center Welcomes Community Residents

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The DOH-Indian River Wabasso Center Team- Alissia Cypress,
Alma Miller, Molly Steinwald, Anthony Brown, Julianne Price,
Elois Harden

DOH-Indian River expanded public health services by adding a new center in Wabasso. The center connects people in small, under resourced communities to programs, services and resources. On-site services are provided in partnership with hospitals, non-profit agencies and the county. Over 680 clients will be served in the first quarter of 2023. The center provides health screenings and education, access to healthy foods, referrals to care agencies, and space for community gatherings. A Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE-EH) community needs survey of Wabasso, and the Community Health Improvement Plan identified senior services, transportation, and access to healthy foods as top issues. The center opened in the spring of 2022 and served 1,584 clients last year.

DOH-Calhoun SWAT Encourages Peers to “Be Vape Free”

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Two SWAT members and the Blountstown School mascot distributing pamphlets and
other information about Electronic Vaping Products at the school’s basketball game.

Blountstown Middle and High School SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) brought awareness of the dangers of Electronic Vaping Products at a Blountstown High School basketball game. SWAT Club members educated attendees of the tactics Big Tobacco uses with flavored products and appealing packaging to target youth to become the next generation of tobacco and nicotine users. After the presentation, the students threw out basketball stress balls with the message of “Be Vape Free- You Are Worth It”. Many spectators at the basketball game learned about vape products that they were not already aware of and gained valuable knowledge about vapes.

DOH-Martin Saving Smiles

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The bright yellow van is a welcome sight in the community and features
whimsical artwork encouraging everyone to brush and floss daily.

Saving Smiles in Martin County is a school based dental sealant and oral health education program. With parental consent, DOH-Martin dental hygienists provide students with screenings, brushing instruction and dental sealants. The dental team also provides case management to help families connect to follow-up care, when needed. The program has served more than 14,000 students since its inception in 2014.

SWAT Youth Promote Tobacco Free Parks and Beaches

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SWAT youth and advisors at city council meeting.

On January 3rd, DOH-Santa Rosa staff, Tobacco Free Santa Rosa Coalition member Denise Manassa, and SWAT students attended the City of Milton Council Meeting to present information and support for a Tobacco Free Parks and Beaches Ordinance for the City of Milton. Denise spoke about vaping as an epidemic in schools and SWAT students shared personal stories on why the city needs a local ordinance. City Council members agreed to collaborate with SWAT youth to develop the tobacco free parks and beaches ordinance.

DOH-Pasco Participates in Pasco Pride Event

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DOH-Pasco booth view of the Pasco Pride event

DOH-Pasco participated at the Pasco Pride event in Land O'Lakes. Staff provided services, along with educational and promotional materials to approximately 1,500 festival goers. DOH-Pasco staff members distributed 52 Narcan kits, opioid informational fact sheets and provided rapid HIV/Hep C testing.

DOH-Nassau’s Community Partnership Protects Residents

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DOH-Nassau lends cots to the Coalition for the Homeless of Nassau County.

DOH-Nassau partners with the Coalition for the Homeless of Nassau County to address homelessness in Nassau County. This coalition has a facility use agreement with the Fernandina Beach City Commission to operate a cold night shelter when the temperature drops below 40 degrees with 20 cots for those in need.

DOH-Manatee Hosts Workgroup to Follow Up on Community Food Desert Survey Results

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (23)

DOH Manatee health educator
Paige Wesley shares the
design used to market the
Feeding Workgroup survey
to Samoset residents.

DOH-Manatee and the Manatee County Feeding Workgroup have surveyed residents of Samoset, which the USDA deems a food desert. Survey respondents identified barriers to healthy food options. More than 60% of respondents said they spend more than $40 per month on produce and approximately 84% said they would be inclined to purchase produce from an outdoor fruit and vegetable stand. The survey, which was conducted in English and Spanish, had more than 100 responses and is critical to appropriately and effectively implementing changes by using the PACE-EH strategy.

DOH-Jackson Provides Healthy Holiday Initiative

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DOH-Jackson Staff providing vaccines and health information
during New Year School Employee Health Fair.

DOH-Jackson staff members attended three events to encourage participation in positive healthy behaviors during the holiday seasons. The events included November Senior Citizens Physical Activity Classes, December Optimist Basketball Tournament and January Back to School Health Fair. More than 1,600 people were reached with this multi-event initiative. Participants received no-cost workout sessions, workout equipment, vaccinations, educational material, personal protection kits and promotional items to remind the community that it is important to always practice healthy behaviors.

DOH-Broward School Based Dental Sealant Program Resumes Services for 2022-23 School Year

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (25)

The Sealing and Educating All Little Smiles (SEALS) Program Van.

The DOH-Broward Sealing and Educating All Little Smiles (SEALS) Program consists of 17 dental hygienists who visit 267 Broward County public and charter schools for Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. During these visits, the DOH-Broward SEALS hygienists provide oral hygiene education, assessment, dental sealants, and fluoride varnish. During the 2022-2023 school year, the program has a goal of seeing 60,000 students with a 35% participation rate.

>DOH-Lee Hosts Two Community Events to Raise Awareness for World AIDS Day 2022

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DOH-Lee staff at John the Apostle Metropolitan Community Church
during World Aids Day 2022 community event.

On December 1st, DOH-Lee’s HIV and STD team held two community events to raise awareness for World AIDS Day 2022. The events were held at John the Apostle Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Myers and Operation PAR in North Fort Myers. Participants were given the opportunity to receive a free HIV test and promotional items. More than 120 people received educational materials and other promotional items.

DOH-Citrus Helps Prepare Some of Our Youngest Residents

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DOH-Citrus Emergency Preparedness Planner, Dawn Tichenor,
shows children the importance of packing a "go-bag" before an emergency happens.

Health Educators in Citrus County bring a class into All About Kids daycare once a month that incorporates physical activity, nutrition and reading. This month focused on fresh oranges and children were able to sample an orange smoothie and fresh orange slices. The Emergency Preparedness Planner for Citrus County, Dawn Tichenor, also made a guest appearance. She talked about hurricanes and other major disasters. Hurricanes can be scary and disruptive for kids. Showing the importance of being prepared and how to prepare "to-go" bags can help ease stress levels. As an activity, the children packed their own "go-bags".

DOH-Okaloosa Supports Holiday Bicycle Safety

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DOH-Okaloosa Nutrition Educator shares
nutrition coloring books and informs moms
of the lactation pod in the WIC office.

DOH-Okaloosa staff members attended the 5th Annual Grinch Glow Ride in Fort Walton Beach. Okaloosa County children completed a bicycle ride around the health department and local businesses to celebrate the holidays. Attendees received free bike helmet fitting and safety education, along with information for other programs including safe beaches, Florida Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Lean on Me. More than 500 community members attended the holiday ride, and 48 children were fitted for new helmets.

DOH-Manatee Reaches Out to Migrant Workers, Fairgoers with English as a Second Language

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Myriam McDevitt jokes with fairgoers at the DOH- Manatee
information table during the Migrant Education program fair.

Manatee County Schools hosted a resource fair for Migrant Education Program students and their families on December 3rd. DOH-Manatee and the Manasota MRC offered no-cost vaccinations, hygiene kits, nutrition plates and health literature in both English and Spanish. The robust turnout reflected the level of need that socioeconomically depressed subpopulations are experiencing. Vaccinations and educational materials were shared with fairgoers, including up to 389 Migrant Education Program enrollees and their family members.


DOH-Okaloosa Partners Host Family Engagement Month Event

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OCHIP and DEC-C members engage with families at Family Field Day.

The Okaloosa County Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and Communities (DEC-C) and Healthy Children Okaloosa County Health Improvement Partnership (OCHIP) group partnered to host a Family Field Day at Chester Pruitt Park in Fort Walton Beach on Saturday, November 19th. Community partners participated as vendors and volunteers. Attendees were able to receive food and raffle prizes, education on how to help drug endangered children and participate in family engagement activities like tee ball games. More than 100 residents attended to receive information about local resources including crime prevention, substance use, domestic violence and more.

DOH-Marion’s BRAZEN Team Hosts Teen Suicide Prevention Event

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (31)

Joshua Wayne, a longtime counselor of at-risk youth,
poses with DOH-Marion's BRAZEN team

DOH-Marion hosted "It's OK to Ask," a free dinner workshop to raise awareness about teenager’s mental health issues and provide guidance on suicide prevention. The keynote speaker was Joshua Wayne, director of Special Education for the District of Columbia Public Schools. He urged parents to be on their child’s “board of directors,” or the influencers who help them understand adulthood. “You don’t need to be the chairman of the board, but you want a seat at that table,” he said. “Never forget: the difference is always you.” The 50 adults who attended gained important insight on teen mental health issues and better understood suicide prevention techniques.

DOH-Alachua, Bay and Orange Work to Address STI’s

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (32)

QR code to scan to access STI Clinic Stater Kit

DOH-Alachua, Bay and Orange participated in the Special Project of National Significance Program (SPNS). This program evaluates sexual health history using audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) software and patient self-collected extragenital gonorrhea and chlamydia tests. By providing a LGBTQ+ welcoming clinic environment, they worked to improve recognition and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in people with HIV served within Ryan White funded clinics. By scanning the QR code below, the public will gain access to the STI Clinic Starter Kit!

FDOH-Osceola Conducts Targeted Mass Media Campaign to Promote Cancer Screenings

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (33)

FDOH Osceola staff- Senior Community Health Nursing Director, Michael Smith, Community Health Nursing Supervisor,
Bobbie Fitch, and FBCCEDP Regional Care Coordinator, Leonor Marrero

The Regional Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (FBCCEDP) at the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County (FDOH-Osceola) conducted a targeted mass media campaign on Lynx busses to promote cancer screenings, specifically clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests, and primary HPV testing. The Regional FBCCEDP at FDOH-Osceola provides these services primarily to women who are 50 to 64 years of age, low income, uninsured or underinsured, and are a resident of Florida. As of today, the FBCCEDP program has recruited 315 women compared to the same time last year when the program saw 158 recruitments.

DOH-Bradford, DOH-Union, and Partners Participate in Re-entry Seminar

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DOH Bradford Program Staff; Tracy Toms, Iana Patterson

On October 6, 2022, DOH Bradford Program Staff partnered with local community partners to participate in an inmate reentry seminar at the Union County Correctional Institute. These seminars increase an inmate’s awareness and understanding of resources and services in the community and provide critical support to an inmate moving from incarceration to the community. About 60 individuals were in attendance, and all are due to be released within 6 months of the seminar. DOH-Staff shared services offered by the health department, such as primary care services, mental health services, vital statistics and vaccinations, and housing and job assistance.

A New Process in Place for Planning Outreach Events

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DOH –Nassau Staff and community partners at the
Maternal-Child Playdate event.

A Nassau DOH Performance Management and Quality Improvement (PMQI) project aimed to improve the process in which outreach planning was routinely organized and executed. Historically, DOH outreach events and events sponsored by community partners were organized using 0-1 planning meetings and 1-3 email correspondence for a follow-up. Nassau CHD then implemented a series of routine planning meetings for outreach events, which started 6-8 weeks before an event. Staff reported that a September outreach event using this new process was well-structured and organized. This event was shared with 20 media outlets, and 8 community partners were in attendance with their own information tables.

DOH Leon Presents Pink Day of Breast Cancer Awareness

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DOH- Leon's Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Specialist,
Maja Troupe and Christopher Brown

DOH Leon presented a Pink Day of Breast Cancer Awareness at Governor's Square Mall in Tallahassee. The team from our Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program was onsite for the full day to answer breast cancer questions, share information on our early screening program for underserved women and information on other resources in the community.

DOH-Leon Lacing Up for the Tallahassee AIDS Walk

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DOH Leon staff

DOH-Leon teamed up with community partners for the 32nd annual Tallahassee AIDS Walk. The event was organized by Big Bend Cares to raise awareness and funds to support HIV programs in the region. More than 200 people participated. Along with giveaways, there was also a resource table providing education about comprehensive sexual health.

DOH-Marion Helped Kids Get Ready for School with an Extended Vaccine Drive

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DOH-Marion Community Health Nurse
Marcia Welsh with student

During July and the first half of August, DOH-Marion's Immunizations department went into overdrive hosting after-hours events to help Marion County children get updated on school vaccines before the school year began on August 10th. The event especially applied to 7th-graders who needed the required Tdap vaccine to start school. During that period, the immunizations staff inoculated 779 children for a total of 1,451 vaccines.

Keeping Hope in Volusia County

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Terrie Overall, Marisol Bahena, Regina Harris,
Brittany Brown, Helena Girouard and Beatrice Gilbert

DOH-Volusia participated in a Volusia Recovery Alliance event for International Overdose Awareness Day and remembered the 407 lives lost to overdose in Volusia County in 2021. The event, titled Keeping Hope, included a recognition of first responders, free giveaways, information on resources for substance use disorder and grief, overdose and response reversal training, harm reduction and recovery resources. The event also included a time of remembrance of loved ones lost.

DOH-Calhoun and Liberty Soars Out of Summer Promoting Nutrition and Physical activity!

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (40)

Each family at the event was able to visit the DOH-Farmers Market to fill a bag of fresh produce from Jackson Farms!

DOH-Calhoun and DOH-Liberty hosted a community SNAP-Ed event on August 20th to promote nutrition and physical activity. Many partners participated in the event providing a wide variety of nutrition education, physical activity, food demonstrations, tastings, group exercise, organized games and community resource information. Approximately 15 food trucks and 40 community resource vendors came together at the Foxtrot 95 Calhoun County Airport event to educate the community on topics related to nutrition and physical activity. Over 3800 people attended this Saturday event!

DOH Leon Making Back-To-School Immunizations Easy

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School Health staff member Sasha Wright smiles with a young patient
after administering TDaP vaccine.

DOH-Leon's School Health Division hosted a three day back-to-school immunization clinic offering TDaP shots for students entering 7th grade. Parents pre-registered for appointments and were able to get their children in for shots quickly, so they can start the school year off fully protected and feeling good. More than 30 children received immunizations.

DOH-Clay Hosts Community Baby Shower

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DOH-Clay WIC staff

DOH-Clay’s WIC Program celebrated World Breastfeeding Week by hosting a community baby shower in Fleming Island, FL. This year’s theme is based on lactation support that is built on racial equity, cultural empowerment and community engagement. In addition to being a traditional means of providing nutrition, breastfeeding is an important tool to address food insecurity, poverty to improve the lifelong health and well-being of women and their children. During the event, visitors were able to meet with local vendors and learn more about the services that are provided to the public. There were more than fifty50 attendees at the event with more than ten vendors available to provide education on safe sleep, breastfeeding and car seat safety.There were more than 50 attendees at the event.

DOH-Leon Partners With Black-Owned Barber Shops for Minority Mental Health Month

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Nicole Everett, DOH-Leon Behavioral Health Navigator, leads
discussion on mental wellness.

DOH-Leon's Community Engagement Team started the "Shop Talk" series at black-owned barber shops to bring awareness to health issues impacting Black men and boys during Minority Mental Health Month. The team has so far made four stops at barber shops, and 40 people have participated in discussions.

DOH-Clay Taskforce Helping to Reduce Infant Mortality

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Lisa Rogers, DOH-Clay Community Health
Services Liaison

DOH-Clay partnered with the Clay Infant Mortality Task Force to advanced safe sleep behaviors and breastfeeding through education and outreaches. DOH-Clay participated in four drive-thru baby showers where 173 pregnant women and their support systems were educated on the A-B-Cs of Safe Sleep, protective factors of breastfeeding and Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention. Participants were encouraged to register for Healthy Start and WIC. DOH-Clay also participated in Kid’s Fest and provided education and resources on unintentional injury prevention, safe sleep and breastfeeding to more than 167 families.

DOH-Taylor Community Door-to-Door Health Campaign

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Staff members from DOH-Taylor, Healthy Start Coalition,
DISC Village, Connect and Big Bend AHEC are pictured
in front of the Connect vehicle

DOH-Taylor partnered with the Healthy Start Coalition of Jefferson, Madison and Taylor on June 30th to conduct a door-to-door health campaign. Representatives from Healthy Start, Tobacco Free Taylor, Big Bend AHEC, DISC Village, heart health program, health equity program and Connect distributed over 75 bags containing valuable health information to five separate multi-unit housing complexes. Staff members were able to engage in conversations surrounding health topics while also promoting community resources to residents of each complex.

DOH-Duval Collaborated With Having Incredible Victory in the 1st Annual Removing HIV Stigma 4K Walk and Block Party Awareness Event

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (46)

Volunteers with DOH-Duval Staff

Sharonda Barnes from Having Incredible Victory provided education about HIV stigma, importance of HIV testing, methods to prevent new HIV transmission by using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), target populations affected by HIV and how, as a cis-gender African American woman, she's empowered to raise awareness to Duval County in an effort to End the HIV Epidemic. Community partners such as AGAPE, CAN Community Health, JASMYN, Overflow Health Alliance and UF Health participated and provided free HIV testing and educational materials and resources to members of the community.

DOH-Monroe Participates in Juneteenth Event

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Marvin Gifford with DOH-Monroe and Randy Bickers from AH Monroe

Saturday June 18, 2022, DOH-Monroe participated in the Juneteenth celebration at Nelson English Park in Key West. Carmel Cox, DOH-Monroe’s Record Specialist, coordinated and was also the President of the MLK Jr. Birthday Celebration and Scholarship Committee. Thirty reusable bags containing information and promotional items, fans, male and female condoms, HIV and STD education brochures and PREP information were provided. Many from the community stopped by to thank DOH-Monroe for being present. An estimated 200 participants were at the event, including children, teens and young adults, along with parents and elders in the community.

DOH-Calhoun and DOH-Liberty Kick off Summer Break at Last Day of School Event

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DOH-Calhoun/Liberty staff and students at Cooper's Park in Blountstown

DOH-Calhoun and DOH-Liberty kicked off summer break at a last day of school event at Cooper's Park in Blountstown. Students gathered at this community-sponsored event after school on June 1, 2022, to play and enjoy a fun afternoon outside. Children ranging from 1 to 18 years old as well as their parents and families were present at this event. The hot summer weather attracted students and their families to the DOH-Calhoun and DOH-Liberty area where there were fans to cool off, healthy snack options for summer and information about sun, water and insect safety. Families received sunscreen and insect repellant and learned valuable tips to stay safe this summer!

DOH-Osceola Participates in Kissimmee Juneteenth Festival

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Event attendees eager to learn more about DOH-Osceola’s programs and services

DOH-Osceola participated in the 2022 Kissimmee Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Kissimmee Lakefront Park. This event was a celebration of community, culture and unity including live music, delicious food and craft vendors. Event attendees visited the DOH-Osceola tent to learn more about offered programs and services, familiar themselves with health equity efforts and pick up some awesome promotional giveaways. With the summer months here, attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about swimming safety. Staff from DOH-Osceola Environmental, Health Equity, Health Promotions and WIC departments were excited to participate in this free family friendly event.

DOH-Volusia Hosts Path4Hope Conference

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DOH-Volusia's Path4Hope Conference at Bethune Cookman University

In 2020, overdoses in Volusia County increased by 75% and Fentanyl contributed to 85% of fatal overdoses. In response, DOH-Volusia hosted a two-day Path4Hope conference that brought together 68 participants including pharmacists, physicians, law enforcement professionals, community organization staff and people who are in recovery. DOH-Volusia asked this collaborative to work together and asked tough questions for visioning and planning. Participants designed a local, specific, long-term plan. The event enhanced communication among community members and partners to address overdose issues for the long haul.

DOH-Palm Beach Launches Environmental Health Lab Available to the Public

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DOH-Palm Beach Health Officer Dr. Alina Alonso
and Environmental staff who participated in the
laboratory start-up project.

On April 21, 2022, DOH-Palm Beach celebrated the grand opening of their newly certified water testing laboratory. The laboratory conducts bacteriological monitoring and assesses pollution control activities in coastal water and drinking water. The lab allows DOH-Palm Beach to better serve the community during disaster response efforts by providing water sampling and testing services after events such as hurricanes. The laboratory supports current programs in the Environmental Public Health Division and is open to the public. During the grand opening, DOH-Palm Beach staff toured the new laboratory, met the analysts and learned more about the services that are provided to the public.

DOH-Flagler Diabetes Education Center Celebrates 3 Years of Success

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The Flagler County Diabetes Education Center Team
Alana Shawah RD, LD/N and Melody Pierre-Jean RD, LD/N.

DOH-Marion Health Educator Jessie Driggers has taught three 6-week Diabetes Empowerment Education Program classes in 2022 thus far. Her work helped 31 community residents better understand the disease and how to control its effects through improved self-care. Screenings conducted before and after her most recent class showed that 44% of participants lost weight and decreased body fat, 33% recorded lower cholesterol levels, 67% had improved blood pressure readings and 89% improved their HDL counts. Jessie will again host this helpful, and healthful, class at the end of June.

DOH-Marion Promotes the Importance of Self-Care for Diabetes

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DOH-Marion Health Educator Jessie Driggers poses with graduates
of her most recent Diabetes Empowerment Education Program class,
held at the Forest Public Library in Marion County.

DOH-Marion Health Educator Jessie Driggers has taught three 6-week Diabetes Empowerment Education Program classes in 2022 thus far. Her work helped 31 community residents better understand the disease and how to control its effects through improved self-care. Screenings conducted before and after her most recent class showed that 44% of participants lost weight and decreased body fat, 33% recorded lower cholesterol levels, 67% had improved blood pressure readings and 89% improved their HDL counts. Jessie will again host this helpful, and healthful, class at the end of June.

DOH-Seminole Denim Day

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Keisha Nauth and Taylor Kwiatkowski from the
DOH-Seminole Epidemiology office beside the Victim
Service Center table display.

DOH-Seminole partnered with the Victim Service Center of Central Florida (VSC) to better serve those that have been a victim of violent crime, sexual assault or other trauma. In 2021, the VSC opened a new satellite office within the DOH-Seminole facility in Sanford where clients receive crisis-intervention, therapy and other victim support services in a safe and confidential setting. On April 27, 2022, DOH-Seminole in collaboration with the VSC honored Sexual Assault Victims during Denim Day. Information was shared and staff dressed in denim to create awareness.

DOH-Bay Participates in City of Panama City Family Fun Day

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DOH-Bay employees

DOH-Bay team members participated in the Health Equity Minority Health Month’s City of Panama City Family Fun Day. DOH-Bay employees provided diabetes screenings, educational materials on healthy lifestyle choices and DOH-Bay programs to underinsured/underserved residents. About the event, Sandon S. Speedling, MHS, CPM, CPH, Administrator and Health Officer, Florida Department of Health in Bay County said, “Promoting our services is essential to closing the health disparity gap in our community.”

DOH-Dixie from Surviving to Thriving

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Health equity team for DOH-Dixie, DOH-Gilchrist and DOH-Levy

On April 2nd, DOH-Dixie partnered with The Cross City Airport’s Fly-In, Cruise-In and Business Expo to increase awareness of the services provided by the health department and other community organizations. All DOH-Dixie programs, UF HealthStreet, DOH-Alachua STD and HIV programs and Suwannee River AHEC provided free health screenings and information, STD and HIV testing and COVID-19 vaccines. Flyers in Spanish and English were distributed throughout the community before the event. This event ensured that residents have a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health by increasing awareness to inequalities.

DOH-Marion Provides Farmworker Outreach

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DOH-Marion Nursing Director Kelly Conklin
administers a vaccine to a community member

As part of DOH-Marion’s commitment to improving health equity, a team of nurses and staff ventured to southeastern Marion County’s farm country on April 4th for a farmworker vaccination and educational outreach event. One hundred twenty-nine participants received a total of 250 vaccines. Vaccinations included COVID-19, flu, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, Hep A, meningitis and pneumonia. DOH-Marion also distributed educational items, promotional items and contraceptives.

Olympic Champion Billy Mills Brings His Inspirational Message to DOH-Santa Rosa

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DOH-Santa Rosa’s Erin Moore and Matt Dobson with Billy Mills
and Chief Dan “Sky Horse” Helms

On April 8th, DOH-Santa Rosa presented “Billy Mills-Evening of Inspiration” to celebrate National Minority Health Month. Billy Mills, an Oglala Lakota (Sioux), grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and overcame many obstacles to win the 10,000-meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Mills spoke passionately about being Native American, his childhood, a lifelong struggle with diabetes and the rewards of maintaining an active lifestyle. His presentation was an inspiration to people of all ages, abilities and cultures.

DOH-Palm Beach Community Health Division at National Kidney Foundation Walk

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DOH-Palm Beach educational materials provided to walk attendees.

On March 26th, the DOH-Palm Beach Community Health Division attended the Kidney Foundation Walk at John Prince Park in Lake Worth. Tobacco Free Florida staff and other Community Health Program staff attended the walk and operated a promotional table. The table had many visitors who showed interest in the “Quit Your Way” tobacco cessation program. Approximately 400 people were in attendance. The event ceremony began with a welcome from the sponsors, followed by the national anthem and a time of remembrance for those who have succumbed to kidney disease disorders. There were also testimonials from kidney transplant recipients and medical professionals. DOH-Palm Beach received a Silver Award from the foundation.

DOH-Santa Rosa Senior Expo & Health Fair

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DOH-Santa Rosa Community Health Team Kristie Beckstrom,
Kari Lewis, Donna Lowe and Erin Moore.

DOH-Santa Rosa continues its commitment to age-friendly public health initiatives by participating in the Senior Expo & Health Fair hosted by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The event was held at the Clyde L. Gracey Community Center and provided seniors with valuable information on health and well-being. During the event, attendees interacted with professionals to discuss issues about this part of life, including retirement living and preventative health screenings. DOH-Santa Rosa’s Community Health team members provided information on the dangers of tobacco, diabetes prevention and ways to lead a long, active life

DOH-Baker Harvest for Healthy Kids

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DOH-Baker SNAP-Ed Coordinator Hannah Hall
reading Jody’s Beans to Pre-K students.

Hannah Hall, DOH-Baker’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Coordinator, used Harvest for Healthy Kids to promote healthy eating habits in all nine Pre-K classes in the Baker County School district. Hannah was able to reach 180 kids, teaching them about fruits and vegetables and how nutritiously delicious they are. “We do fun activities and read a story related to the fruit or veggie of the day,” said Hannah. The kids have learned to make applesauce and berry parfaits and do fun activities, such as a guess How Many Beans game which exposed them to a variety of beans.

DOH-Sarasota Breast Fest - Free Mammograms to the Community

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DOH-Sarasota and Sarasota Memorial teams with
the Mobile Mammography Bus.

DOH-Sarasota, in partnership with Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), held a Breast Fest to offer free 3D Mammograms to women in the community. The Mobile Mammography Bus from Advent Health came all the way from Tampa to perform the mammograms. DOH staff partnered with Sarasota Memorial Hospital and other volunteer organizations to bring this event together. As a result, 34 women were screened. Three abnormal mammograms were detected leading to a more in-depth follow up.

DOH-Marion’s BRAZEN Team Teen Dating Violence Workshop

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (63)

Health Educators Quameshia Townsend, Joanne Strother,
Ashlee Richards and Ashley Bendiksen

Anti-domestic violence activist Ashley Bendiksen spoke at the DOH-Marion Teen Dating Violence workshop on February 15th. Ashley spoke to more than 50 adults and youth about her experience as a domestic violence survivor. She said that emotional abuse in high school led to anxiety, depression, insomnia and substance abuse. A similar experience in college led to homelessness, unemployment, emotional distress and a physical assault. She now works as an advocate who advises elected officials and community leaders on preventing domestic violence in teenagers. Her life shows that “anything is possible” and teens can overcome dating violence.

United Way of Pasco County and FDOH-Pasco Prioritize Funds for Fighting Human Trafficking Program

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Pasco County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) identifies priorities for Pasco County. Substance abuse, mental health and human trafficking were focus areas for improvement. Mike Napier, Health Officer, FDOH-Pasco, and a United Way board & chair member, used the CHIP to prioritize these focus areas by designating funds to support these programs in the community. In the summer of 2019, United Way of Pasco County's board introduced human trafficking as one of its five new focus areas, and through funding, they opened Fighting Human Trafficking in early 2021. United Way applied for and was awarded a three-year, $500,000 human trafficking grant. Many of the health issues are being treated through DOH-Pasco.

Jay High School SWAT Program Unspoken for the Day

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SWAT Participants from Jay High School

DOH-Santa Rosa Tobacco Program encourages Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) to lead the way in educating others about the dangers of tobacco, including e-cigarettes. Jay High School SWAT students used their advocacy skills on January 19th when they went unspoken for the day to honor Floridians whose lives are lost every day due to tobacco related illnesses. Students took a bold stance to bring attention to an industry that targets youth with sneaky marketing tactics and dangerous products. Students are trying to make a lasting impression on their peers that tobacco products are not safe.

Rowlett Middle Academy SWAT Club Wins National Tobacco Point-of-Sale Contest (Twice!)

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Menthol Madness and Greatest Youth Appeal winning

Manatee county’s Rowlett Middle Academy SWAT club activists submitted to a national contest sponsored by CounterTobacco.org powerful photos showing how tobacco companies use point-of-sale marketing tactics to draw customers. The activists won in the Greatest Youth Appeal category with a photo showing cigarillos sitting on a store shelf that youth can access without a store clerk’s assistance. The activists also won in the Menthol Madness category with a photo of a discount offer for buying multiple packs of menthol cigarettes, a product Big Tobacco makes extra efforts to market to the black community.

DOH-Volusia's Clean Hands are Healthy Hands & Early Childhood Literacy Campaign

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Christmas tree of hand sanitizer surrounded by free
children's books bringing joy to the Southside
Health Zone lobby.

Between December 10, 2021 and January 24, 2022, DOH-Volusia distributed over 250 books and infographics as well as 100 hand sanitizers to children and families in the Southside Health Zone lobby. On December 10th, a tree was set up with hand sanitizer ornaments. The hand sanitizer reads “Clean Hands are Healthy Hands.” Books are regularly stocked on the table along with the Early Childhood Literacy infographic in both Spanish and English. The infographic summarizes the need for early childhood literacy. Staff has been great at letting little ones know that they can have a free book.

DOH-Gadsden Hosts A Community Wellness Event in Honor of Diabetes Awareness Month

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (68)

Attendees at the community wellness event.

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, the Diabetes Prevention Program at the Florida Department of Health in Gadsden County closed out their observance with a community wellness event. The event included an exercise session hosted by Lakeva McNeil, giveaways and health information booths from the DOH-Gadsden Chronic Disease Prevention Programs and our local partners who provide diabetes-related services.

DOH-Columbia Provides Health Screening for Community

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DOH Columbia staff providing health screenings

DOH-Columbia, in partnership with NorthStar Family Resource Center and Partnership for Strong Families, participated in a Community Health and Wellness Fair. DOH-Columbia provided health screening services to the community such as blood pressure, glucose, and hemoglobin checks. Several people who were screened had hypertension and/or anemia and were directed to their primary care to follow up. DOH staff also administered 12 flu shots.

DOH-Gadsden's Heart Health Plus Program Conducts Blood Pressure Screenings at Gadsden Senior Services

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Iesha Grinnell, FDOH-Gadsden HH+ program coordinator,
conducts blood pressure screenings for senior citizens

DOH-Gadsden’s Heart Health Plus (HH+) program joined the Gadsden Senior Services at their Farm Share distribution for residents in Quincy, FL. The HH+ program provided 20 free blood pressure screenings for attendees.

DOH-Putnam’s Christmas Socks for Seniors

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Robyn Jernigan, Danielle Parton, and Jamie
Keen-Alford with Christmas gifts for seniors

DOH-Putnam, Healthy Families Florida played Santa for seniors this year. After learning that 45 residents in a local nursing home would not have visitors or gifts to open this year, DOH-Putnam adopted the residents. DOH-Putnam employees collected 45 bags with blankets, socks and word puzzle books to deliver to the residents who may not have any holiday cheer this season or throughout the year. Socks, blankets and puzzle books are simple items that tend to be overlooked as heartfelt gifts. This year, these gifts brightened the spirits of 45 individuals who otherwise would have had none.

DOH-Calhoun and Liberty Healthcare Elves Save Christmas!

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DOH-Calhoun and Liberty staff at Christmas On the Square

In December, DOH-Calhoun and Liberty partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and participated in Calhoun Christmas On the Square and Love for Liberty Craft Fair as well as the Blountstown and Bristol Christmas Parades. They provided hands on activities for children which gave the opportunity to engage with staff and become familiar with the faces they will see when coming to the clinic for services. This proved to be a successful outreach activity that connected DOH-Calhoun and Liberty with the community and provided an opportunity to spread some holiday cheer!

DOH-Collier’s STD and COVID-19 teams participated in Mexican Consulate Health Fair

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DOH-Collier Staff tabling at the Health Fair

The STD teams provided education about the services available at DOH-Collier (Naples/Immokalee). They gave away promotional bags, pens, koozies, condoms and free testing cards for HIV/Hepatitis and STD to raise awareness about these diseases. The COVID-19 team gave sani-kits and rain ponchos to approximately 50 participants and provided COVID-19 testing to approximately 15 participants.


Snow White and Seven Dwarfs Make a Great Team

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Jenea Highfill and her team of school nurses

On October 28th the Santa Rosa County School Health Team was at SS Dixon Intermediate School doing vision screening for 3rd graders and Flu mist for all grades at the school (3rd-5th for an intermediate school). The children enjoyed the costumes and for some it brought a smile and eased the uncertainty of getting the vaccine mist. This proved to be an excellent team building activity that created positive morale and strengthened the feeling of unity within the team.

DOH-Baker Drive-Thru Baby Shower is Another Success!

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DOH-Baker's parking lot drive-thru operation

On October 6th, DOH-Baker’s Healthy Start program partnered with Baker County WIC, Episcopal Children’s Services, First Coast Women’s Pregnancy Crisis Center and Meridian to host a Drive-Thru Community Baby Shower honoring pregnant women in Baker County. Participants were provided with educational materials on maternal and child development, stress management, infant care, safe sleep and reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Participants were also entered in a drawing for door prizes. This event hosted by DOH-Baker since April 2020 has been a successful outreach for pregnant moms and has increased Healthy Start participation.

DOH-Osceola Partners with the National Institutes of Health on Barbershop and Salon Outreach Initiative

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Representatives from FDOH-Osceola and
the NIH provide outreach in Kissimmee.

DOH-Osceola partnered with the National Institutes of Health on a barbershop and salon outreach initiative. Recognizing that barbers and cosmetologists serve as trusted sources of information for their clients and staff, participating barbershop and salon owners were provided with packets containing COVID-19 educational materials. They were also provided with training opportunities to help them engage with their clients about the importance of following CDC and state health guidelines. During this initiative, 30 barbershops and salons were engaged and275 educational materials were provided in English and Spanish.

DOH-Indian River Celebrates National Farm to School Month in October 2021

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Fresh grapefruit and oranges from local farms
located in Vero Beach, Florida.

DOH-Indian River celebrated National Farm to School Month by kicking off a Farm to School campaign to recognize the connections between schools, food and local agriculture. Farm to School activities were done to enrich the connection the community has with fresh, healthy food and local food producers, while enhancing nutrition education. DOH-Indian River's SNAP-Ed program partnered with local citrus farms to share fresh fruit with youth at Head Start Centers, United Against Poverty, Dasie Hope Center and the Public Library. More than 300 oranges and grapefruits were distributed to families and used in fruit tasting activities across Indian River County.

DOH-Palm Beach PACE Environmental Health Community Outreach in Pahokee, FL

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DOH-Palm Beach Environmental Public Health
provide information at community outreach.

On Oct 10th, 2021, The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County conducted a successful community outreach in Pahokee, FL. This was a collaborative effort between the Florida Community Health Centers, Inc. and the Division of Environmental Public Health: Food and Facilities Program at the Belle Glade Office. The activity was undertaken as part of the Belle Glade Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) Initiative action plan that seeks to address healthy labor migrant housing. This outreach provided migrant workers with information to become more proactive and take responsibility for their health. More than 100 farmworkers were informed about the control of co*ckroaches, rats, mold and other pests within their housing facilities.

DOH-Santa Rosa Rabies Drive-Through Clinic

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Left: Dr. Mongue with Pace Veterinary Clinic. Right: Dr. Summerlin with Ark Animal Hospital.

DOH-Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa Animal Services partnered for the 2021 Drive-Through Rabies Clinic on October 22, 2021 at the Animal Services facility on Pine Forest Road. A total of 190 cars passed through the clinic in 2 hours. Veterinarians from Pace Veterinary Clinic and Ark Animal Hospital administered $10 rabies vaccines to 348 dogs and 96 cats. DOH nursing staff provided a bag of treats for each animal. In 2019, the clinic was selected to receive NACCHO Model Practice Award.

DOH-Seminole Garden for a Healthier You

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Participants gather to plant and remove weeds every Wednesday.

The East Altamonte Springs community in partnership with DOH-Seminole has started a community garden. Dr. Zeenat Rahman leads the group as part of the Garden for a Healthier You project through several classes funded by the SNAP Ed federal grant. A group of ladies gather each week to clean the garden plot and plant some delicious veggies. They enjoy the health benefits of gardening, including socialization. Okra, tomatoes and beans have already been planted. The committed group hopes to expand the garden by planting herbs, placing raised beds and inviting more people to join.

Back-2-School Immunization Drive

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DOH-Clay staff participating in the 2021-2022
Back to School Immunization Drive

During the first two weeks of August 2021, DOH-Clay in partnership with Clay County Emergency Management conducted a Back-to-School Immunization Drive where 685 vaccines were provided to school-aged children. These vaccines ensure children have the proper protection to return to school safely. Vaccines given included DTAP, TDAP, HEP A, HEP B and even the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those 12 years and older. The Back-to-School Immunization Drive was held at the Clay County Agricultural Fairgrounds.

School Flu Vaccination

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Santa Rosa County school nursing team

DOH-Santa Rosa school health team is partnering with Santa Rosa District Schools to provide on-site flu vaccines for students. This outreach assures children are vaccinated without an out of school appointment. Last year 3,649 students received flu shots at these clinics. On August 30, 2021, all 29,000 public school students received a packet of information and consent forms for the flu vaccine. This effort to provide flu vaccines in our schools is truly a huge win for Santa Rosa County. Santa Rosa partnered with Locklin Technical College to allow LPN students an opportunity to see public health in action.

Saving Smiles in Martin County!

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A photo collage of DOH-Martin’s outreach van

DOH-Martin unveiled its newly wrapped outreach van, just in time for the launch of the school year. The van's exterior was freshened with vibrant colors to promote public health services and the school based dental sealant program. The oral health program provides pre-school and school-age children with education and support to build a lifetime of healthy habits.

DOH-Leon's HIV/AIDS Program Participates in Kidpalooza Tallahassee 2021

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DOH-Leon HIV/AIDS staff participate in Kidpalooza Tallahassee 2021

DOH-Leon's HIV/AIDS program partnered as a vendor and provided about 30 school-aged children with back-to-school supplies. Supplies included drawstring bags, flash drives, bookmarks, phone wallets and umbrellas. In addition, 25 adults received in-home HIV testing kits, resources and condoms.

New Interactive Dashboard Reveals Health Opportunities for Charlotte County Residents

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DOH-Charlotte launches Community Health Dashboard

DOH-Charlotte introduces an interactive dashboard that gives the community access to health data and allows residents to stay informed about what is happening in the county. It takes the conversation beyond disease outcomes and explores the relationship between environments, behaviors, illness and length of life. The new dashboard provides data in a way that makes it compelling and actually tells the story of how the numbers have a real effect on health. This tool will allow for a more targeted response to specific community needs. DOH-Charlotte is hopeful residents and community organizations will find multiple ways to utilize all it has to offer.

Back to School Backpack Give Away

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Miles of Smiles, ready to pass out dental care kits

DOH-Columbia and Partnership for Stronger Families provided backpacks and school supplies to the children of Ft. White. Folders, pencils, scissors, glue sticks, paper, dental care kits and face shields were provided with every backpack. This drive-thru event was held at Ft. White High School.
DOH-Hamilton, in partnership with Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition, also hosted a drive-thru backpack and school supply give away. DOH staff provided dental care kits and face shields for students returning to school this month.
Between these two events, over 500 backpacks were given out.

DOH-Putnam Celebrates during Kiwanis Centennial

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Sarah Tuschhoff, WIC Administrative Assistant, hands out
brochures at a table

DOH-Putnam participated in the 100 Year Anniversary of Kiwanis Club, Intl celebration. The opportunity allowed for DOH-Putnam Healthy Families, WIC and Chronic Disease Program to interact with Putnam county residents. All participants received brochures and gift bags explaining the comprehensive services DOH-Putnam provides.

Swim Safe Sumter Splashes into Summer

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Water Safety Instructor Karrah Christensen teaches a
Swim Safe Sumter participant how to float

DOH-Sumter hosted Swim Safe Sumter, a drowning prevention program focused on teaching water safety to children ages 3-12. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death for those aged 1-4, 2nd leading cause of death for ages 5-9 and 5th leading cause of death for those aged 10-14. DOH-Sumter Water Safety Instructors are American Red Cross trained swim instructors. Participants are taught how to stay safe in and around bodies of water, including lakes, beaches and pools using drowning prevention strategies such as floating, breath control and multiple ways to move through the water to get to safety. This summer, Swim Safe Sumter had 80 children participate in the program.

DOH-Leon Getting Real About Men's Health

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Derrick Montgomery, DOH-Leon Community Engagement Specialist,
speaks to participants attending a business networking event

DOH-Leon's Community Engagement team participated in a business networking event with a focus on men's health. One of DOH-Leon’s specialists spoke about some of the main health issues facing men including heart disease, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and mental health/suicide, as well as methods of disease prevention, timely screenings and healthy lifestyles among men. This activity created awareness about the importance of seeking regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.

Crystal Lake Bike Safety Event

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Each student received a proper helmet
fitting done by event staff.

DOH-Polk worked with several community partners to plan and host a bike safety event at the Crystal Lake Elementary Community Partnership School on May 22, 2021. The event was set up as a walk-up and drive-up event just outside the school. Students walked or were driven to the event with their families. Each student received a free bicycle (while supplies lasted), had a free helmet properly fitted and received a car seat check if needed. Each attendee was also given a bag with information regarding bike safety and helmet information for children and parents, plus additional information about local resources available to them in Polk County.

Friday Night Done Right Event in Hamilton County

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DOH-Hamilton staff members are shown here
with their children while participating
in the Friday Night Done Right event.

The Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition hosted a Friday Night Done Right community kickball game. Staff from DOH-Hamilton were on hand to pass out information and promote the many services that the health department provides to the community. Staff also shared some goodies with event participants. Friday Night Done Right is a recurring community event that promotes recreation WITHOUT the use of alcohol and drugs. The main goal is empowering teens to make important choices about how they spend their time not only on Friday nights, but other times as well.

DOH-Columbia Participates in Kiwanis Kids Day

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DOH-Columbia’s Miles of Smiles Program dental bus workers provided services and information at the event.

DOH-Columbia participated in the annual Kiwanis Kids’ Day event in Lake City on May 15, 2021. Healthiest Weight Florida’s partners including those providing clinical, dental and vital statistics services were all on hand to pass out information and promote the many services that the health department provides to the community. The Florida Department of Health’s Miles of Smiles Program dental bus was also there to provide dental assessments, fluoride varnish applications and oral hygiene instructions to 34 children. That large number of participants is a record number for this outreach event. The dental program also gave away more than 200 dental hygiene bags to both adults and children.

DOH-Monroe Debuts New HIV Prevention Website

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Testflkeys.org Logo

On April 12, 2021, the Florida Department of Health (Department) in Monroe County debuted its new website, TESTFLKEYS.ORG. This site provides HIV prevention information and HIV-related services. The HIV/AIDS Prevention Section of the Department in Monroe County collaborated with a website design consultant to create an attractive user-friendly site that provides detailed information on best practices to prevent HIV. The website is now available to all 75,000 residents of the Florida Keys, as well as visitors.

DOH-Volusia Administered COVID-19 Vaccinations Through Community Partnerships

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Ashlynd Padgett, Volusia County Firefighter/Paramedic
vaccinating at the Volusia County Fairgrounds

The Volusia County Fairgrounds in DeLand, Florida has been the mass vaccination site for COVID-19 vaccinations for the past five months. The Florida Department of Health has been the lead agency for overall operations with site support from Volusia County Emergency Management. To date, over 90,000 vaccinations have been administered with the help from over 250 different employees from 16 different agencies. Paramedics and EMTs under the direction of the county medical director vaccinated the public alongside public health nurses. This event resulted in successful partnerships working together toward a common goal to serve the citizens of Volusia County.

DOH-Indian River Planting Healthy Habits in Indian River County

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Kimberly Wright (Assistant Director of Dasie Hope Center)
and her daughter, Kamara Wright, standing in front
of the Dasie Hope Garden.

DOH-Indian River and the Dasie Hope Center are working together to improve food accessibly and eating habits among families in the Wabasso community. Despite COVID-19 challenges, a garden was established at Dasie Hope where herbs, collard greens and other produce flourish in small raised beds. In February, Dasie Hope hosted the first “Garden Day,” a hands-on garden and nutrition workshop in partnership with the DOH-Indian River Supplemented Nutrition Education Program (SNAP-Ed). Chelsea Seaver, Health Educator, taught participants how to plant their own edible garden. Families joyfully left with pots and seeds they had planted during the workshop. Together, Dasie Hope and DOH-Indian River are planting healthy habits in Wabasso by connecting families to nutritious food through their gardening program.

DOH-Bay Provides Miles of Smiles

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DOH-Bay Mobile Dental Unit

Now more than ever, the work being done on the DOH-Bay Mobile Dental Unit is critical to the overall health of the children in Bay County. Oral health is part of the body's overall health, and during the pandemic there have been drastic changes in eating and exercising habits. Many individuals have avoided visits to the dentist because of COVID-19 concerns. The DOH-Bay dental hygienists bring oral hygiene instruction and education to underserved children, addressing the importance of proper oral health in a safe environment. Over 100 children have been seen and offered fluoride treatments and sealants to strengthen their teeth and prevent oral cavities thanks to this program.

FDOH-Hamilton Launches Healthy Baby Billboards Campaign

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The I-75 billboard with its important message and information is pictured here.

The Hamilton County Healthy Babies billboard campaign is underway! The campaign will run through June 27, 2021. Billboards are positioned along I-75 in Hamilton county, and showcase public health messaging focused on tobacco’s effect on the prenatal population. Information about how to access resources to quit through the Florida Quitline is also included on these billboards. The main goal of this project is to direct people to our state’s quit line.

FDOH-Broward Tobacco Prevention Program Recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) as a 2020 Model Practice

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DOH-Broward Tobacco Prevention Program sponsor/partner
logos are shown here.

The FDOH-Broward Tobacco Prevention Program successfully implemented 30 tobacco-free policies in multi-unit housing dwellings; 14 tobacco-free policies which included worksite polices, campus policies and tobacco control policies for entertainment and recreation venues; and 23 Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) clubs. Through the utilization of a mass media campaign, 30% of Broward County Schools were educated on Point-of Sale. Tobacco control policies were also implemented at nine local recreation and entertainment venues frequented by young adults, and at 21 large employer sites. Implementations of these policies ultimately provided a tobacco-free environment to more than 27,000 employees. FDOH-Broward tobacco prevention activities have resulted in an overall 3% decrease in tobacco use.

FDOH-Seminole Serving the Seminole County Community Through COVID-19

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The Community Integrated Mobile Health Services Team members
at the May 30, 2020 pop-up test site are pictured here.

The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County, Seminole County Emergency Management and other partners have united to educate, test and vaccinate Seminole County residents and visitors. Through March 2021, Seminole County provided 422,684 COVID-19 tests at drive-thru and pop-up events, with locations including African-American and Hispanic communities and churches. A total of 149,340 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to date at the Oviedo Mall vaccination site, outreach events and visits directly to residents’ homes. The Community Integrated Mobile Health Services team has delivered 1,331 doses of the vaccine to the county’s homebound. These important combined efforts have allowed those with barriers to get vaccinated, and for the most vulnerable to receive the vaccine which will protect them against COVID-19.

FDOH-Okeechobee Focuses on Underserved Communities to Offer COVID-19 Vaccines

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Pictured left to right are Patricia Pelayo, RN Epidemiology, administering
2nd dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and Dorothy Ramsey, LPN,
reviewing consent and medical questions prior to providing the
2nd dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a Douglas Brown Community
resident. In the background are additional residents of the Douglas
Brown Community who were also provided with the vaccine.

On March 15, 2021, FDOH-Okeechobee partnered with Okeechobee County and many faith-based organizations to provide Moderna COVID-19 1st dose vaccines to an underserved population in the Douglas Park area of Okeechobee County. The Douglas Park Community was the location for FDOH-Okeechobee’s Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (P.A.C.E. EH) project. This community, made up predominantly of African-American and Hispanic residents, has shown a need to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to their community due to the residents’ inability to travel outside the Douglas Park area. Many of the faith-based organization partners helped to promote the event, providing a way to get life-saving information about the health benefits resulting from being vaccinated to potential vaccine recipients. FDOH-Okeechobee offered 50 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and was able to distribute all 50 doses at Okeechobee County’s Douglas Park Community Center. On April 12, 2021 FDOH-Okeechobee again partnered with Okeechobee County to provide the Moderna COVID-19 2nd doses at the same site. Many residents expressed gratitude for this outreach project created to assist their underserved community. FDOH-Okeechobee continues to strive to offer Health Equity to its Okeechobee residents.

COVID-19 Vaccinations in Orange County

What to Expect When Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccination

In partnership with the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Orange County Department of Health (DOH-Orange) have been providing COVID-19 vaccinations at the Orange County Convention Center drive-through site since December 2020. DOH-Orange has also partnered with the Orange County Fire & Rescue Department, the Orlando Fire Department and the Apopka Fire Department to serve underserved and elderly populations. The vaccines were administered at local churches and senior housing facilities. To date, over 55 vaccination events have been conducted, and 7,828 individuals were vaccinated. The total vaccine doses administered in Orange County is 303,515. The total number of people vaccinated is 205,616. Of those, 108,394 are fully immunized.

Rare Use of Radio During Pandemic Earns Productivity Award

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This sign leads people to the radio station purchased by DOH-Citrus in
2009 which allowed residents to tune in and receive important
information and instructions while waiting in line for their COVID-19 test

Congratulations to DOH-Citrus for winning a 2020 Florida TaxWatch Productivity Award. DOH-Citrus was recognized for developing targeted messages using a low power portable transmitter AM radio station at the agency's drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. The radio station allowed residents to tune in to receive important information and instructions while waiting in line for their test. Using the portable radio allowed DOH-Citrus to utilize less staff at the site and traffic became more efficient and safer.

DOH-Martin Working with Partners to Provide Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

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Jimmy Smith, an NAACP Representative, is shown here assisting
with the vaccines initiative.

Staff and volunteers from DOH-Martin joined forces with members of the NAACP to provide COVID-19 vaccinations in East Stuart, an underserved area of the community. Using a drive-thru model, teams vaccinated approximately 320 residents 65 and older as well as healthcare providers. DOH-Martin has carried out many targeted outreach events across the county to ensure access for those who are eligible but may have difficulties accessing the vaccine due to computer access, transportation and/or other barriers.

Florida Gateway College and DOH-Hamilton Partnership

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Florida Gateway College Nursing Students shown here participating
in the vaccine event

Through a partnership with DOH-Hamilton and the Florida Gateway College, six nursing students and their instructor assisted with vaccinating over 100 individuals at the drive-through Point of Distribution (POD) held at DOH-Hamilton. This is an on-going partnership in which nursing students and college faculty will assist at the vaccination sites each week. Due to this collaboration, DOH-Hamilton is able to expand vaccination capacity and nursing students are gaining important POD experience.

DOH-Jackson COVID-19 Mass Vaccination in Jackson County

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Vehicle safe vaccination stations were used to administer 1,750 Moderna vaccines at
the Jackson County mass vaccination event.

DOH-Jackson led a mass vaccination event Wednesday January 13, 2021. The event was a partnership provided to ensure that the available doses of the vaccine were quickly distributed to the masses. DOH-Jackson partnered with Jackson Hospital, PanCare Health, EMSs, local law enforcement, local churches, local doctors, county workers, the Marianna Women's Club and additional groups that volunteered to assist with traffic and other duties. The Moderna vaccine was administered across 10 drive through stations on the grounds, and it was available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for residents age 65 or older. This event enabled DOH-Jackson and community partners to distribute 1,750 vaccinations.

DOH-Baker Promotes Baker County’s Middle School SWAT’s Through with Chew and Tells Everyone to Skip the Dip!

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A fence display helped to spread this important campaign message.

Through with Chew Week raises awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use (chew, dip and snus) and the many effective resources available to quit smokeless tobacco use. During this Through With Chew Week, held February 21-27, 2021, the Tobacco Free Florida, DOH-Baker and Baker County’s Middle School SWAT Chapter encouraged smokeless tobacco users to set a quit date and create a personalized quit plan. Using Tobacco Free Florida’s free Quit Your Way tools and services was the suggested quit assistance source. As part of the effort to spread the Through with Chew Week message, Baker County’s Middle School SWAT Chapter created a display in the community.

DOH-Monroe Hosts Super Shot Sunday Event in Monroe County

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The College of the Florida Keys, in partnership with DOH-Monroe, held Super Shot Sunday at which student nurses administered 400 vaccines under supervision of The College of the Florida Keys nursing staff. Other partners supporting this event included the City of Key West, the Key West Police Department, Key West Fire Rescue, Monroe Emergency Management, Lower Keys Medical Center and the Ocean Reef Medical Center.

City of Key West Mayor, Teri Johnston; DOH-Monroe Administrator, Bob Eadie; College of the Florida Keys President and CEO, Dr. Jonathan Gueverra; and a staff volunteer from The College of the Florida Keys are pictured here at the Super shot Sunday event.

DOH-Volusia Supports COVID-19 Vaccination Community Partnerships

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Senior nursing students from UCF College of Nursing, Daytona Beach Campus who participated
in COVID-19 vaccinations at the Fairgrounds in DeLand, Florida.
People In Photo: Sarah Martinez-Moore, Instructor and senior nursing students from the
University of Central Florida, College of Nursing, Daytona Beach Campus participated
in the COVID-19 vaccination community partnerships event.

During the first week in February 2021, the University of Central Florida, College of Nursing, Daytona Beach Campus helped to vaccinate the local 65 years of age and older community at the Fairgrounds in DeLand, Florida. Seniors enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Nursing program participated in this project as part of their public health clinical rotation by working under the direction of their clinical instructor, Sarah Martinez-Moore. The students worked collaboratively with the Volusia County Health Department, Volusia County Emergency Medical Services and Volusia County Fire Rescue. These partners assisted with medical screening, education and vaccinations. Being a part of this project allowed the students to enhance their knowledge of public health through education and in administering over 3,000 COVID-19 vaccines.

CDC Full Recognition given to Union County for the National Diabetes Prevention Program

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Past and present class instructors for the program,
Tracy Toms, Kasey Cornwall and Debbie Williams.

Union County has received CDC Full Recognition for its diabetes prevention program. The National Diabetes Prevention Program offers evidence-based lifestyle change programs to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The two major goals are 150 minutes of weekly exercise at a moderate pace as well as a 5-7% weight loss. Union County has held classes for 3 years to improve health, one person at a time and will continue to educate and strive to improve the overall health of even more community members to help them delay or prevent type 2 diabetes altogether. Union County has guided 18 at-risk individuals through the program since it began.

DOH-Manatee Paves Way to Celebrate 100 Years of Public Health

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First mention of establishing a county health unit, taken from the minutes of the Manatee County
Commission dated August 6, 1921.

DOH-Manatee is kicking off its 100th anniversary with a dive into the archives that has already yielded first mention of County Commission interest in establishing a public health unit (Manatee County Commission Minutes dated August 6, 1921). DOH-Manatee continues to research its history, with plans to mount a display, publish a booklet and host an event with locally elected officials.

COVID-19 Vaccination in Columbia County

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Aerial view of Columbia County vaccination point of distribution where residents
were provided COVID vaccinations.

Starting in January, the Columbia County Health Department began offering COVID-19 vaccinations via a drive-through point of distribution set up at a local sports complex. To date, the CHD has administered nearly 2700 vaccines and has been able to accommodate up to 60 people per half hour. Approximate wait time has been calculated at 45 minutes: check-in to release from observation. The team is currently looking to expand their capability to accommodate more clients per hour as they work through their pre-registration process.

Collier County Accepted into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities

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The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and
Communities certificate for Collier County.

Through a collaboration between DOH-Collier and the Leadership Coalition on Aging (LCA), Collier County has been officially accepted as part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, a program providing the county with access to national and global research, best practices and planning models. Collier is now joining Florida and many other cities and counties in the state who have received this designation. Next steps include developing and implementing an action plan that will ensure Collier County becomes a truly age-friendly place to live.

On World AIDS Day, Frontline Health Workers Overcome COVID-19 Challenges to HIV/AIDS Outreach

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Brittany Perkins, Area 2B Minority AIDS Coordinator and
Calandra Walker, Prevention Training Consultant staff
a welcome and education table at Leon Arms Apartments
to connect and engage with residents who may lack
HIV/AIDS information.

On December 1st, 2020, Big Bend Cares partnered with Florida Department of Health – Leon for a World AIDS Day outreach at Leon Arms Apartments. Frontline health workers provided snacks, musical entertainment and free giveaways, including free men and women haircuts, retail gift cards and picnic chairs. Residents also received OraQuick: In-Home HIV Test and Scott Tissue, HIV prevention education, such as condoms, brochures and promotional items. The event provided education, resources and encouragement to 85 adults and youth residents at the Leon Arms Apartments.

Bounty of Health Drive-Thru Food Distribution

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Florida Department of Health – Miami-Dade employees and volunteers load fresh produce, milk
and poultry into the trunk of a vehicle during the Bounty of Health event.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, local communities are facing some of the hardest challenges to date. With public health issues such as loss of income and food insecurity on the rise, care and resources have become difficult to access. In response, The Office of Community Health and Planning hosted the Bounty of Health two-day event. The first day was an hour-long virtual health education session where organizations throughout Miami-Dade County provided 5-minute videos on a variety of health topics. The second day event was a drive-thru food and health resource distribution. Over 300 families in the West Perrine community were provided with fresh foods, healthy beverages, health educational materials and information about local resources.

Hepatitis A Outbreak in High-Risk Individuals: Effectiveness of Community Outreach

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Amy McCandless, nursing doctoral student
who worked with DOH-Volusia to evaluate
the effectiveness in reducing hep A rates
through community outreaches.

Amy McCandless, BS, BSN, RN, Family Nurse Practitioner doctoral student UCF College of Nursing, worked with DOH-Volusia to study the effectiveness of the hepatitis A vaccination and outreach activities in Volusia County. Her study aimed to evaluate DOH-Volusia’s current outreach practices and the effectiveness of vaccination of people at risk. High-risk groups were identified as the homeless and those incarcerated. Data indicated those vaccinated within the community were directly correlated with the number of declining cases. Outreach intervention can produce results and protection for high-risk individuals within a community to prevent and reduce the spread of hepatitis A.

DOH-Okaloosa Partners with Local Barber Shops and Salons for COVID-19 Prevention

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Anamaria Penagos (left) and Jasmine Selph (right) visiting
a local barber shop to discuss COVID preventative measures.

DOH-Okaloosa Health Educators Jasmine Selph and Anamaria Penagos conducted an outreach project focused on local barber shops and hair salons to provide COVID-19 education and resources. At each site, they spoke to shop owners and stylists about procedures that can prevent the spread of COVID-19. They also provided hand fans, window clings, cloth face masks and tip sheets to reinforce the messaging to their patrons. In total, they reached 18 sites across the county including businesses in Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Crestview, Laurel Hill and Holt.

DOH-Leon Launches its Speaking the Same Language on COVID-19 Outreach to Latino Community Project

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Dr. Andrea Albertin, a community partner with the Leon
Health Department, sharing COVID-19 educational flyers
with a Spanish speaking vendor at the Tallahassee
Flea Market

DOH-Leon is demonstrating how partnerships matter. The Leon County Health Department has established partnerships with several Spanish speaking community leaders to bring COVID-19 information and education to a vulnerable group which is hesitant to engage with government health agencies. For example, in support of this effort, a Latina community member helped to hand out information flyers to Spanish speaking vendors at the local flea market. More than a dozen vendors accepted flyers that explained the correct way to wear a mask, and they agreed to display them on the doors and walls of their businesses.


DOH-Okaloosa Partners with Local Barber Shops and Salons for COVID-19 Prevention

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Anamaria Penagos (left) and Jasmine Selph (right) visiting
a local barber shop to discuss COVID preventative measures.

DOH-Okaloosa Health Educators Jasmine Selph and Anamaria Penagos conducted an outreach project focused on local barber shops and hair salons to provide COVID-19 education and resources. At each site, they spoke to shop owners and stylists about procedures that can prevent the spread of COVID-19. They also provided hand fans, window clings, cloth face masks and tip sheets to reinforce the messaging to their patrons. In total, they reached 18 sites across the county including businesses in Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Crestview, Laurel Hill and Holt.

DOH-Leon Launches its Speaking the Same Language on COVID-19 Outreach to Latino Community Project

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Dr. Andrea Albertin, a community partner with the Leon
Health Department, sharing COVID-19 educational flyers
with a Spanish speaking vendor at the Tallahassee
Flea Market

DOH-Leon is demonstrating how partnerships matter. The Leon County Health Department has established partnerships with several Spanish speaking community leaders to bring COVID-19 information and education to a vulnerable group which is hesitant to engage with government health agencies. For example, in support of this effort, a Latina community member helped to hand out information flyers to Spanish speaking vendors at the local flea market. More than a dozen vendors accepted flyers that explained the correct way to wear a mask, and they agreed to display them on the doors and walls of their businesses.

DOH-Volusia Conducts a Community Flu Vaccination Point of Administration: Rising Against All Odds

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Volusia County nurse Denise Ayers, MS, RN
administering the flu vaccine to a citizen of the
Spring Hill community as Jim Burns, Public
Health Preparedness provides support.

On November 17, 2020, staff from the Department of Health in Volusia County held a flu vaccine Point of Administration (POA) at the Dr. Joyce M. Cusack Resource Center in the underserved Spring Hill area of DeLand during their annual Thanksgiving Feed the Community Dinner. With combined community efforts the event hosted Volusia School Fuel providing hand sanitizer, masks and bags of canned goods. Rising Against All Odds provided access to free COVID-19 education and testing as well as the flu vaccine along with HIV and glucose screening.

DOH-Alachua Provides Mobile Flu Vaccines and More!

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Chidrine Frederic and Jermeka Anthony with DOH-Alachua participate
in providing testing and education to Gainesville residents.

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County’s Medical Reserve Corps program, the Minority AIDS Program and the STD Control Program partnered with Gainesville Fire Rescue to provide flu shots plus HIV and syphilis tests and education to Gainesville residents in both October and November. The group traveled to low-income, vulnerable neighborhoods. This partnership proved to be extraordinarily successful. Over 110 people were tested for HIV and syphilis, and 392 flu vaccines were administered.

Healthy Start Helps Host World’s Greatest Baby Shower

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Joy Gatewood, Tina Allen, Candi Morris, Jacob Clore and Dawn
Harper at the World’s Greatest Baby Shower event in Jasper.

DOH-Hamilton and DOH-Columbia’s Healthy Start programs in partnership with Healthy Start of North Central Florida and the WellFlorida Council hosted The World’s Greatest Baby Shower on Saturday October 24, 2020 in Jasper and Lake City. This was a drive-through event and was offered to any parents who are expecting or have an infant that is under one year. They were gifted diapers, wipes, onesies, sleep sacks, water bottles and other goodies. They were also entered to win larger baby items like Pack n’ Plays, strollers and infant bouncer seats. In total, 73 mothers and 30 pregnant women attended the events in both cities.

Partnerships to Promote Wellness

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Edwardo & Elena Gonzalez, employees of the Florida
Department of Health, helping to setup the event to
promote wellness offering influenza & hepatitis-A
vaccines at the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.

DOH-Charlotte has partnered with Humana health services and the Homeless Coalition to promote and provide the Flu vaccine for those most in need including the indigent, homeless, unemployed, under employed, elderly and many others in our community. Hep A vaccines are also being offered along with 100 “goodie bags” provided by Humana. Bags contain basic hygiene items, disposable masks, hand sanitizer, blankets, socks and educational material from our Health Promotions team. Because of this important work, many homeless and uninsured were able to get influenza and hepatitis-A vaccinations. By meeting people in their location of need, the stress of trying to find transportation is eliminated and the vaccines are readily available to many more members of the community. Feel good about the good!!!

Partnering with the WellFlorida Council

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WellFlorida Councils’ distribution table at the testing event.

DOH-Columbia County, in partnership with the WellFlorida Council, is providing free HIV testing at the drive through COVID-19 testing site. Visitors can receive a COVID-19 swab and then opt into an oral swab for HIV. DOH employees provide HIV informational cards to each person being tested for COVID-19 during registration. This gives clients the opportunity to confidentially test for HIV from the comfort of their car. Additionally, this service provides access to testing for individuals that would not normally think of being tested.

Health Equity Profile and Video Released

The cover image of the Hillsborough Health Equity Profile representing diversity in Hillsborough County.

DOH-Hillsborough recently released two public education pieces, a profile and video, telling the story of health equity in Hillsborough. While equity issues have been much on the forefront of awareness in 2020, health equity is not well understood by many outside the arena of public health. These first-ever health equity publications for Hillsborough are data and graphic rich explanations of how some groups come to be worse off than other groups in terms of health. Both pieces incorporated numerous sources of data. Chief among those data was FLHealthCHARTS.gov, which is an invaluable resource to Florida constituents. The profile and video are currently being used by leaders throughout Hillsborough County in evaluating their equity work and plans.

Back-to-School Immunization Event

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The client registration area at the immunization event is pictured here with employees and clients.

DOH-Orange collaborated with Orange County Public Schools to conduct an immunization event offering free vaccinations to children ages 4 to 18 years old. The DOH-Orange Emergency Operations team along with staff members from School Health, Immunizations, Information Technology and Administration were involved in weeks of planning, training and promotion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's event was by appointment only. The Q-Flow system was used to manage the flow of clients and ensure clients received their vaccinations in a timely manner. This event enabled students to get their required immunizations prior to the new school year. Staff administered 7,236 vaccines to more than 2,600 Orange County students in Ocoee from July 20 to August 4, 2020.

1 bag, 2 bags, to 300 bags full

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There were 300 individual hand sanitizers included
in backpacks that were given to students for the
new school year.

DOH-Putnam donated grade-appropriate school supplies including hand sanitizers while teaming up with both Hope FM, the community-supported non-profit Christian radio station, and the CommUNITY partners organization to distribute back-to-school backpacks to elementary school students in need of assistance. The goal was to give these Putnam County students a solid footing by providing them with the necessary supplies for success. With school ending so abruptly this past spring, creating a firm foundation for the new school year is more important than ever. The collaborative work done by this team partnering event resulted in 300 backpacks being given to children benefitting from their community’s support.

COVID-19 Pandemic Response Journey Video

COVID-19 Pandemic Response Journey Video.

DOH-Seminole partnered with Seminole County Government TV (SGTV) to recognize and thank staff and community partners for their heroic actions in the Coronavirus response. An Appreciation Video was produced to capture all of the dedication, hard work and collaboration that has taken place during this COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this project, a group of staff and leaders of partnering organizations provided a short summary of their journey during the COVID-19 response. This video project provides a better understanding of the collaborations taking place and what is being done to protect Seminole County residents and visitors.

DOH-Pasco Collaborates with Pasco Schools to Create a COVID-19 Command Center for Schools

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DOH-Pasco Assistant Administrator Gregory Crumpton is shown being interviewed by 10 Tampa Bay News.

DOH-Pasco was featured on 10 Tampa Bay because of the new COVID-19 Command Center located at the Pasco Schools District Office in Land O’ Lakes. Together, DOH-Pasco and Pasco Schools established this COVID-19 Command Center to facilitate a joint effort for COVID-19 responses in schools. The purpose of the command center is to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The efforts made by DOH-Pasco and Pasco Schools have proven to be effective because of the importance they are placing on providing an accurate and unified communications resource for their community.

A “To-Go-Bag” Can Make All the Difference in An Emergency

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Katia Contreas, FDOH-Putnam Healthy Families, displays the
“To-Go-Bags” packed up and ready to be distributed.

DOH-Putnam distributed “To-Go-Bags” filled with hurricane season supplies to their Healthy Family program participants. The crisis kits provide important supplies in an emergency preparedness kit that is easy to carry and can be used at home or in case of an evacuation. Stopping to hunt for supplies can cost hurricane victims critical seconds in an emergency. Each kit contains a hurricane tracking map and checklist, a poncho, a lantern and flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, bugspray, Lysol wipes, document protectors, adult bathing wipes, a whistle, a manual can opener and a first aid kit. This proactive distribution event enabled DOH-Putnam to help get their community prepared for a hurricane, reminding everyone that the time to prepare is before the season begins.

Partnering with Faith-Based Community Organizations to Offer COVID-19 Testing

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Amanda Colwell, CHI Section Chief, assists at a faith-based COVID-19 testing site.

DOH-Okaloosa joined forces with Striving for Perfection Ministries, Beulah First Baptist Church and St. Simons Episcopal Church to offer COVID-19 testing and cloth face masks to their attendees. Connecting with faith-based organizations allows for targeted outreach among high-risk groups to provide both testing and prevention education. Through this partnering, more than 250 individuals were tested and offered masks. These three churches are also members of DOH-Okaloosa’s Healthy Okaloosa Faith-Based Initiative. This is an initiative that aids faith-based organizations in developing health policies, hosting health education events and providing important health-related information to their members.

City of Key West Awarded Healthy Community Champion Recognition

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Teri Johnson, Key West Mayor, receives the award from Bob Eadie, Health Officer and Administrator for DOH-Monroe. Also pictured are Tim Staub, Multimodal Transportation Coordinator for Key West (left) and Alison Kerr, PIO for DOH-Monroe (right).

DOH-Monroe has awarded the City of Key West with their Healthy Community Champion Recognition for implementing health in all policies related to comprehensive planning. Bob Eadie, Health Officer and Administrator for the Monroe County Department of Health states, “The City of Key West exemplifies a commitment to public health through the active work being done to improve street infrastructure by making it safer for residents and visitors, and by supporting the mobility of all users.” He presented the recognition award to Key West Mayor Teri Johnson.

DOH-Duval Data-Driven Walk-up COVID-19 Testing Sites

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Walk-up COVID-19 testing site

DOH-Duval used a data-driven approach to identify walk-up COVID-19 testing sites. In partnership with Inspire to Rise, a resource center in zip code 32210, DOH-Duval’s mobile unit brought testing to Jacksonville’s Westside. According to Florida’s COVID-19 Dashboard, zip code 32210 ranks 3rd for the highest number of cases in the county. Walk-up testing was also made available at DOH-Duval’s Central Health Plaza. DOH-Duval’s dedicated healthcare workers tested 200-300 people a day at these locations. These sites bring COVID-19 testing to residents who may otherwise be unable to access testing.

DOH-Collier COVID-19 Education to Businesses in Immokalee

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DOH-Collier staff members: Nicole Combs, Ashiranie Beauchamps and Cris Labra

Our team of COVID-19 Health Educators and Health Consultants includes: Cris Labra, Reginald Wilson, Nicole Combs, Melissa Peaco*ck, Ashiranie Beauchamps, Ruben Torres and Cristina Cisneros. In the month of June 2020, we have seen 156 businesses in Immokalee, Florida. We have provided 809 educational resources on COVID-19 and 291 masks; and we are not finished educating and handing out resources to the Immokalee community. Our staff is making a difference in our community. We are proud to be a part of the Florida Department of Health Collier County. We recognize the impact COVID-19 has on Immokalee residents here in Collier County. We understand the severity of positive cases in the Immokalee community, and we are here to help take action.

Face Coverings for Vulnerable Populations in Volusia

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DOH-Volusia staff display the masks being distributed across the county.
Staff from left to right: Maria Rivera, Janyce Chaplo, Chloe Singleton,
Kendall Martir and Jaime Satterfield.

DOH-Volusia has distributed more than 134,000 cloth masks to social service agencies, faith-based organizations and non-profit entities that serve the county's vulnerable populations. The agencies are partnering with DOH-Volusia to help people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 protect themselves and others with whom they come into contact. This population includes agricultural workers, people with physical or developmental disabilities, the homeless, minorities and underserved populations. Masks have also been provided at the agency's pop-up drive-thru test sites in June, and at DOH-Volusia locations.

COVID-19 Response: Reaching Out to Neighborhoods

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Bilingual COVID-19 message boards

DOH-Martin went "back to basics" using community bulletin boards to deliver COVID-19 messaging. When staff saw an uptick in cases from specific neighborhoods, a plan was designed to meet the people where they are and install the message boards in areas where they can be viewed by motorists and pedestrians. The bilingual messages provide COVID-19 prevention tips, information about symptoms and the call center phone number for questions. This initiative was supported by residents as well as local business owners.

DOH-St. Lucie Putting Community First

DOH-Leon Data Innovation in the Time of COVID-19

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Participants at the free COVID-19 walk-up site

A team from the U.S. Digital Service traveled from Washington D.C. to Tallahassee for an up close and personal look at a community COVID-19 testing site that the Leon County Health Department helped to organize.

On June 1, 2020, the three-member team met the department's Health Officer, Claudia Blackburn, as well as leadership from Florida A & M University and Bond Community Health Center, Inc., at Bragg Memorial Stadium to explain their team’s mission.

Since the free COVID-19 walk-up site opened in late April, more than 8,000 people have been tested for coronavirus infection.

The U.S. Digital Service team is researching the data reporting and surveillance challenges and successes at the state and local level. This research will be used to make technology and policy recommendations.

The goal is to find short-term and longer-term methods to help state and local health departments get more timely, complete and accurate data to use for public health surveillance and reporting.

DOH-Putnam Community Comes Together for COVID-19 Testing

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DOH-Putnam's Donna Lynn, Susan Lane and two Region 3 IMT RNs set up for testing

DOH-Putnam, in partnership with the Putnam County Emergency Management, Putnam County Sheriff Office and Putnam Farmworker Career Development Program, hosted a COVID-19 testing event on Saturday, June 13, 2020. COVID-19 education, masks and testing were provided to 48 community members. The event partners extend a special “thank you” to Aza Health for the use of their space to conduct the event and to the two participating Region 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) RNs. Thanks go out also to the dedicated Putnam Farmworker Career Development Program youth and volunteers that came out to help translate and register citizens.

DOH-Gadsden Collaborates with Local Videographer to Deliver Gadsden County Health Talks

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From DOH-Gadsden, Michelle Fedrick, Public Information Officer and Hannah Barnes, Senior Community Health Nutritionist Supervisor, take part in a health talks recording

Since January 2020, in partnership with Southerland Enterprises Video, DOH-Gadsden has delivered talks on various health topics, with program highlights being showcased on the local government access channel. To date, the department has aired approximately nine recordings which include: 1.) Introduction to FDOH-Gadsden, 2.) Through With Chew Week, 3.) Departmental Efforts for COVID-19, 4.) Heart Health Plus Program, 5.) Environmental Health Program, 6.) Diabetes Prevention Program, 7.) Women, Infants and Children Program, 8.) Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and 9.) Asthma Program. These recordings educate the public about programs and services available to assist the community, what DOH-Gadsden does beyond clinical services and current initiatives.

DOH-Hillsborough County COVID-19 Response

The first COVID-19 case in Hillsborough County was announced on March 1, 2020. Staff at the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County have been working night and day to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.​

DOH-Duval Doing Good: COVID-19 Response Team

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Shekelia Baker, HST and Michele Presley, RN – DOH-Duval Administration Building

DOH-Duval would like tohighlightour COVID-19 screening team and the work they do to keep employees and clients safe. The emergency response screeners are comprised of nurses and health support technicians, WIC staff and dental staff.The screeners take temperatures of every employee, client and guest who enters any location and ask a series of questions to determine the individual's risk for COVID-19. If a client answers yes to a screening question, then the client is given a mask andplaced in an isolation room.

Behind a mask, the screeners greet everyone with cheerful words since their smiles are hidden. They calm young children's fears who may be anxious about getting their temperature taken. They brave the elements of extreme heat, gusty winds and rainy days. Meet our screeners!

DOH-Seminole Hispanic Church COVID-19 Site Testing

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DOH-Seminole, American Muslim Community Clinic and Bueno Pharmacy staff joined forces to test 305 people at a local Hispanic church.

Another successful COVID-19 testing event took place on Saturday, May 16 at Iglesia Presbiteriana El Redentor in Oviedo. A dedicated team of DOH-Seminole staff worked this event in conjunction with the American Muslim Community Clinic and Bueno Pharmacy. A total of 305 people were tested.

First Responders in Manatee County Celebrate Hospital Workers

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Lakewood Ranch Medical Center staff wave at first responder motorcade

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center staff wave in gratitude as a motorcade of area first responders passes the hospital entrance on April 17 in Lakewood Ranch.
First responders riding fire engines, ambulances and law enforcement vehicles staged a motorcade around the facility in honor of hospital workers staffing the frontlines of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Motorcades were staged simultaneously at Blake Medical Center, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota ER in Lakewood Ranch and Manatee Memorial Hospital.
DOH-Manatee delivered its own message of thanks as it shared the Manatee County Sheriff's Office invitation to the motorcade with local media and COVID-19 partners across the county.
"The Manatee County Health Department salutes all of our health care partners as we continue to move through the COVID-19 pandemic," the message reads. "A BIG thanks to our first responders, as well as to Sheriff Rick Wells and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office team, for inspiring hospital staff and others working the frontlines to save lives and promote good public health across Manatee County during this crisis."

DOH-Palm Beach COVID-19 Thank You to Employees Video from Dr. Alonso

DOH-Alachua Recognizes Heroes Work Here

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Staff members stand behind ‘Heroes Work Here’ sign

There are over 300 employees working for the Department of Health in Alachua County during the COVID-19 public health crisis. On Friday April 17th, DOH-Alachua honored all of these hardworking, essential employees with a colorful sign that read "Heroes Work Here." These photos serve to remind each employee of their value. To all DOH-Alachua employees: The community sees you and appreciates your contributions as well as your sacrifices.

Leon County Health Department's Disease Detectives

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Epidemiologists Labake Ajayi, Rebecca D'Alessio, Mathew DiFede, and Mary Levens

This is the team of epidemiologists at the Florida Department of Health in Leon County. They are working around the clock to reduce the reach of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They are disease detectives on the front lines; investigating the threat, tracking down cases, and those who may have come into contact with an infected person.
They are putting all of their training to the test and collecting as much data on this novel illness as possible.
It's a tedious, time-consuming process for Labake Ajayi, Rebecca D'Alessio, Mathew DiFede, and Mary Levens. They will tell you, though, that this is important work to try to get those people who have been exposed to quarantine to protect their family, friends, and the communities in which they live.

Interstate I-10 COVID-19 Checkpoint

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FDOH-Escambia's Environmental Health and Public Health Preparedness
team members worked at the I-10 COVID-19 Checkpoint

Seminole County Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County in partnership with True Health began hosting Pop-Up Community Test Sites for COVID-19 on Tuesday, April 21. The Apostolic Church-Jesus Christ was the first location to provide the tests from 10am through 2pm with a total of 239 tests given. Health Officer Donna Walsh, Emergency Manager Alan Harris and True Health CEO Latrice Stewart spoke with local media about the pop-up testing sites, location, importance of testing and who can get tested. DOH-Seminole Public Information Officer Mirna Chamorro did interviews with local Spanish TV stations.

Seminole County Pop Up COVID-19 Test Site

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The Pop-Up Test site, which had a drive thru and walk-up component

Seminole County Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County in partnership with True Health began hosting Pop-Up Community Test Sites for COVID-19 on Tuesday, April 21. The Apostolic Church-Jesus Christ was the first location to provide the tests from 10am through 2pm with a total of 239 tests given. Health Officer Donna Walsh, Emergency Manager Alan Harris and True Health CEO Latrice Stewart spoke with local media about the pop-up testing sites, location, importance of testing and who can get tested. DOH-Seminole Public Information Officer Mirna Chamorro did interviews with local Spanish TV stations.

DOH-Orange activates a COVID-19 Call Center

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DOH-Orange employees in call center

In support of the state's efforts to better serve and assist residents regarding concerns about the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County established its own Call Center on March 4, 2020.
Practicing social distancing, the Call Center, which is staffed by DOH-Orange employees, continues to answer general questions from residents and visitors Monday through Friday about COVID-19. Besides fielding questions, the staff also educate callers on using universal precautions to prevent the transmission of the virus. In addition, the Call Center screen callers for COVID-19 according to the CDC testing criteria, and if they fulfilled the criteria, their information is forwarded to the Epidemiology program for review and scheduling of appointments at DOH-Orange's Appointment Only Testing Site in east Orange County.
Initially, the Call Center was averaging around 50 calls per day, however, by the end of the first week the number of calls reached 1,000 per day. Thank you to our staff who participated in the Call Center to assist our residents during this pandemic.

DOH-Pasco COVID-19 Response: Staff Town Hall Meetings

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DOH-Pasco partnering with Baycare Health and assisting with the COVID-19
drive-thru testing near Gulf High School in New Port Richey

DOH-Pasco has been working nonstop with drive-thru testing, COVID-19 investigations/monitoring, answering phone calls, and partnering with the community to work together during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every Wednesday at 8:30 am, DOH-Pasco holds a Town Hall meeting/conference call to update all the staff on the current COVID-19 information. Staff are also encouraged to fill out a survey online prior to the Town Hall meeting if they have any questions regarding COVID-19. DOH-Pasco has also partnered with BayCare Health Systems, assisting with the drive-thru testing that is held at Gulf High School in New Port Richey, FL.

Public Health is On The Air in Flagler County

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WNZF Newsradio

Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is alive and well in Flagler County, thanks to a partnership with Flagler Broadcasting, a local company that owns four local radio stations. The health department has broadcast its own health and wellness related talk radio show, Flagler Health Matters, since January 2019, and jumped at the chance to cohost a live program airing weekday mornings on WNZF Newsradio. The daily Coronavirus Town Hall features station owner and radio personality David Ayres with Health Officer Bob Snyder and Public Information Officer Gretchen Smith as his cohosts, giving updates on how the community is being impacted by the virus and sharing relevant news from DOH-Flagler and other community partners. DOH-Flagler and Volusia County Medical Director Stephen Bickel is a frequent contributor to the program, as is the Mayor of Palm Coast and other community officials. Reception to the program has been extremely positive and is allowing the health department to effectively communicate with a large number of residents on a regular basis.

DOH Martin Urges Prevention with Bilingual Messaging

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Gas pump with ‘wash your hands’ message

DOH Martin launched a bi-lingual COVID-19 prevention campaign featuring posters at convenience stores and ads on gas pumps. The ads encourage basic steps to stop the spread of the virus and promote public health.

DOH-Bradford and DOH-Union Promote Healthy Living at County Fair

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DOH-Bradford and Union staff, Lindsey Borgner, CDA, Shelby Parmenter, RDH and
Kasey Cornwall, manned their fair booth to promote healthy living.

In early March, DOH-Bradford and DOH-Union joined many other organizations at the 2020 Bradford County Fair. Blood pressure screenings were completed at the Annual Senior Day, which hosted about 250+ seniors. Throughout the week, staff members worked to provide the community with health information such as healthy eating tips, proper dental care, heart health and helmet fittings – including a free helmet. This gave DOH-Bradford and DOH-Union the opportunity to speak face-to-face with the community regarding COVID-19 concerns and prevention such as good hand washing and staying home when sick. Hundreds of educational materials were distributed at this successful outreach event.

DOH-Highlands Provides Hepatitis A Immunizations to 1st Responders

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The Highlands Epidemiology and Preparedness Team and South Florida State College Nursing
students participated in the event.

In late January, DOH-Highlands participated in a Hepatitis A outreach event. The Epidemiology department, in cooperation with the South Florida State College nursing program, offered Hepatitis A and Flu vaccines to first responders that were participating in a regional training offered by the Florida Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosive Investigations. In addition, the vaccines were provided to students of the emergency medical services and nursing programs. Hep A immunizations were provided to 38 First Responders, EMS students, and Nursing students.

DOH-Palm Beach Offers Helpful & Educational Services at South Florida Fair

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DOH-Palm Beach at South Florida Fair.

In late January, the South Florida Fair was held in West Palm Beach. The fair allowed the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County to take advantage of this opportunity to provide helpful educational services to those in need. Educational sessions offered literature in the form of flyers, booklets, research posters, an opioid awareness survey and more. Immunization services were also made available to the residents. Hepatitis A and Flu vaccines were the main focus. Approximately 3,340 people visited the DOH booth. Of those visitors, 1,030 received health education information, 136 received immunizations and 572 had their immunization status assessed.

DOH-Escambia and DOH-Santa Rosa Interactive Data Walk Invites Non-traditional Community Partners and Conversation

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Attendees at the Interactive Data Walk

On February 20, 2020, Escambia and Santa Rosa CHDs participated in an interactive data walk. This event allowed more than 200 community members from a variety of disciplines including faith-based, business and non-profits to interact with 43 data indicators that explained the intersection of health and social determinants for these two counties. The two CHDs, hospitals, behavioral health and non-profits have been meeting to discuss how to implement a cross-county collective impact effort to bring non-traditional partners into the health improvement planning process since April of 2019. Mental health, prenatal care and increasing access to county resources were identified as important areas on which to focus.

February was National Children’s Dental Health Month. County health departments used this opportunity to educate the community about the importance of dental health and provide dental health services to children.

DOH-Baker Dental Partners with Rethink your Drink and Tobacco Prevention

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Dental hygienist Teri Collins
cleans teeth

The Baker County Health Department Dental Program, along with the county’s tobacco prevention specialist and community health nurse, are working to provide dental, nutrition and tobacco education to school age children. Students are bussed to the Health Department for restorative and preventative care throughout the week. The Baker County Health Education staff provides learning sessions for the students which educate them on the importance of dental care plus healthy food and drink choices by using Rethink Your Drink and emphasizing the negative effects of tobacco use.

DOH-Putnam Let’s Talk Teeth Event

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Melissa White and Catherine Crinnion demonstrate
good dental care at the event

DOH-Putnam celebrated February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month with a Let’s Talk Teeth event to raise children’s awareness of good oral habits for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Melissa White, Registered Dental Hygienist, and Catherine Crinnion, SWAT Coordinator, illustrated the importance of proper brushing and flossing plus good eating habits. Visual aids demonstrated the sugar content of snacks and its effects on teeth, and “Mr. Gross Mouth” showed the result of poor oral habits including not visiting the dentist regularly. The 150 students who attended very much enjoyed these visual aids.

DOH-Leon Giving Kids A Smile Event

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Patient Symone Brown and
hygienist Ashley Jones

This February the Leon County Health Department Center for Dental Care and Prevention, affectionately known as The Molar Express, hosted the popular Give Kids A Smile Program to help their area's underserved children improve their dental health. Dr. Shawn Hanway from Tallahassee Pediatric Dentistry has organized the event for several years now in Leon County. At the event, both Dr. Hanway and her dental staff provided services to appreciative smiling children who would otherwise not have had access to important dental care.

DOH-Okaloosa National Children’s Dental Health Month Celebration

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DOH-Okaloosa promotes dental health
at the Roane School

In February, DOH-Okaloosa provided dental health education sessions at childcare centers across the county in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month. Information about their dental clinic and oral hygiene tips were presented at the sessions, plus care kits were provided for children to take home and share with their family. Participating childcare centers included the Roane School in Destin, La Petite Academy in Niceville and Noah’s Ark Daycare in Destin. Over 200 children, their families and the centers’ staff members were reach by this program!

DOH-Putnam: A CommUNITY Investment

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Mary Garcia, Department of Health in Putnam County Administrator standing with donated items

Putnam County is very generous and always answers the call for help. When we come together great things happen. Over the course of several weeks, the community donated food for distribution to organizations serving individuals facing hardships and economic difficulties. “Over 8000 pounds of donated food and personal items is being shared with our community partners across the entire county: when we come together great things happen,” said Mary Garcia, DOH-Putnam Administrator.

DOH-Miami-Dade: 6th Annual Homestead/Florida City WIC Health & Resource Fair

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6th Annual Homestead/Florida City WIC Health & Resource Fair

DOH-Miami-Dade’s health fair provided outreach and health screenings to the underserved south Dade community which has some of the highest levels of poverty in South Florida. Around 2,500 participants attended the DOH-Miami-Dade health fair. The fair had 53 sponsors/exhibitors and 75 community volunteers. Baptist Health and DOH-Miami-Dade HIV/STD program provided 103 health screenings. Over 100 dental screenings were performed by the Colgate Bus and 102 dental exams by the Nicklaus Children Bus. There were 1,150 free books, courtesy of the Read to Learn Books for Free Program, and more than 900 free toys distributed. Farm Share provided over 2,000 meals to over 700 households.

DOH-Charlotte: Community Health Needs Assessment Prioritization Meeting

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People attend the community health needs assessment prioritization meeting

On January 17th, the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County completed phase 4 of the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) assessment, “Identify Strategic Issues” for their 2019-2020 Community Health Needs Assessment Process. They received 1,367 community health surveys, conducting 7 community focus groups and analyzing over 700 data points. A final prioritization was conducted where agency representatives and community members prioritized: Child Abuse, Neglect & Well-Being, Behavioral, Social & Emotional Health, Healthcare, Environment and Aging. During the upcoming Healthy Charlotte steering committee meeting, members will discuss how best to move forward with the new 2021-2026 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).

Indian River County Reduces Infant Mortality

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The Indian River Community Health Assessment (CHA) revealed a significant need to improve the infant mortality rate. The goal - a reduction of the County’s infant mortality rate from 6.9 to 1.5 per 1,000 live births - was accomplished through the hard work of the county’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Infant Mortality workgroup. The health department’s community and administrative efforts as well as the different health professionals spread out through the county, including the Nurse Family Partnership, were able to influence the infant mortality significantly through several collaborative & equitable interventions, such as a Doula program.

DOH-Okaloosa Provides Helmets for the Holidays

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Staff members from the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County's Community Health Improvement section celebrated the holidays by providing helmet fittings for clients. The staff members provided helmet fittings for four days, allowing dental and WIC clients to receive free helmets and reflective bands as they came in for appointments. In total, the team provided education and helmets to over 100 residents!

DOH-Brevard Supports World AIDS Day Event

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DOH-Brevard joined several governmental representatives and non-profit organizations at the Space Coast World AIDS day event hosted by the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church on December 1st. Over 100 attendees were present. During the candle light vigil DOH-Brevard staff member, Diane Franta, presented the current state of the epidemic in Florida and Brevard County. The names of those who recently died were announced and the Memorial Bell was rung 38 times, once for each year since the official start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

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Staff from DOH-Putnam postponed their own family gatherings to attend the Interlachen’s Lions Club Thanksgiving Day dinner. Volunteers prepared and served meals for over 600 individuals who otherwise might have gone without a Holiday dinner. The EPI Team was on hand to provide Influenza and Hepatitis A vaccines and commemorated the 21st annual World AIDS Day by providing HIV testing. #LiveWellPutnam #FLHealth

DOH-Santa Rosa Participates in 2019 Creek Pow Wow

DOH-Santa Rosa was honored to be invited to participate in the 2019 Santa Rosa Creek Pow Wow. The CHD's partnership with the Creek nation has made it possible for DOH-Santa Rosa to be a part of the celebration since 2011. Although the weather was inclement and attendance was not what it has been in the past, CHD staff were still able to share information of interest to the Native American community, including pre-diabetes screening, diabetes prevention and smoking cessation. Hepatitis A shots were also available.


DOH-Okeechobee Partners with Okeechobee County Fire Rescue for a Safe Baby Academy

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Captain Ryan Hathaway, Okeechobee County Fire Rescue and Amy Cormier, DOH Health Educator educated Safe Baby Academy participants on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ABC’s of safe sleep techniques, water safety and car seat installation. Proper nutrition and breast feeding were taught by Shonda Flores and Maribel Castaneda Nunez from DOH WIC. Graduates received a Safe Sleep Kit, a Pack-n-Play and a car seat. The Safe Baby Academy was created to prevent premature deaths and aligns with the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) and Okeechobee’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) goals.

Healthy Lifestyles: A Growing Trend in Martin County

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Martin County is making strides in helping residents live a healthier lifestyle. Working in collaboration with the House of Hope, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to helping residents overcome hunger and hardship and Cleveland Clinic/Martin Health, DOH-Martin is providing diabetes prevention workshops to residents who have limited access to diabetes education. The workshops are led by our nurse program specialist and certified diabetes educator, Marybeth Peña. The programs focus on management strategies, healthy recipes/demos, information on goal setting and more. The story is featured here: http://bit.ly/2KVPmJ4

DOH-Columbia/Hamilton Host World’s Greatest Baby Shower

DOH-Columbia/Hamilton hosted the "World's Greatest Baby Shower" at the Richardson Community Center in Lake City, FL to promote prenatal and infant health care, nutrition, breastfeeding, avoidance of substance use, as well as teach skills in parent and infant safety, and increase knowledge of community resources. Over 70 mothers attended and 21 community agencies were represented. Participants viewed exhibits, played games and even won prizes!

DOH-Columbia Miles of Smiles Dental Program Hands Out Toothbrushes at Trunk or Treat in Lake City

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The Miles of Smiles dental team and a few enthusiastic DOH staff and friends gave out a total of 3,438 toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss packets to ghouls, goblins, fairies, princes and superheroes of every kind at Trunk or Treat at the new Wilson Park in downtown Lake City. Of the 3,438 toothbrushes, 1,911 of them were given to ages 8+; the remaining were to younger children.

DOH-Okaloosa Presents 2019 CHA Update Draft

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On October 30, the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County presented the draft version of the 2019 Community Health Assessment (CHA) Update to their CHA Leadership Team. The document includes information about health equity, life expectancy and data that relates to each of the county's four Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) groups. Feedback was collected from attendees and will be used to shape the final version of the document. In addition, the CHIP Group Champions shared the progress made by their members over the past year and their plans for 2020.

DOH-Collier Community Health Planning Retreat

DOH-Collier hosted a Community Health Improvement Planning Retreat. Information gathered from this retreat will begin the development of the 2020-2023 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). There were 24 participants representing 18 key organizations that participated in the planning retreat where cross-sector workgroups collaborated on the community-wide health priorities identified in the Collier County Community Health Assessment. These priorities include: Mental Health, Chronic Diseases, Access to Care, Alcohol and Drug Use and Health of Older Adults. Community partners are looking forward to further collaboration within their workgroups to benefit Collier County residents.

DOH-Flagler Renews “Flagler Health Matters” Talk Radio Show for Second Year

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In December 2018, the Florida Department of Health in Flagler County embarked on a new venture, hosting a weekly talk radio show called “Flagler Health Matters.” The 30-minute show, which airs on Flagler Broadcasting’s WNZF News Radio 94.9FM, broadcasts Saturday mornings at 11:30 am, taking on a range of health-related related topics and featuring local medical and wellness subject matter experts. Communications manager & PIO Gretchen Smith hosts the program and schedules guests. Flagler Broadcasting vice president David Ayres says Flagler Health Matters has been a big success with listeners. Podcasts of the Flagler Health Matters can be found here.

Special Guests at Agency Performance Management Council Meeting

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The Department of Health welcomed special community guests Dr. Jay Reeve, Dr. Heather Flynn and Claudia Blackburn at the October Agency Performance Management Council meeting to discuss how community health improvement processes can result in real action and health improvement. They shared how the focus and synergy of the local health improvement process significantly enhanced the efforts of the Mental Health Council of the Big Bend. As a result, they collaborated with several community partners to create an online mental health database to raise public awareness of mental health resources and created a new navigator position at 211-Big Bend to provide specialized support to callers.

Pets Drive Through to Prevent Rabies

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DOH-Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa Animal Services partnered to present the 2019 Drive-Through Rabies Clinic on October 4. Veterinarians from Pace Veterinary Clinic and The Ark Animal Hospital administered rabies vaccine to 336 dogs and 76 cats. Pets also received a bag of treats to take home. This event raised awareness of rabies prevention and served as a training exercise for DOH-Santa Rosa staff by simulating a Point of Distribution, where prophylactic medication could be distributed to residents in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease.

DOH-Monroe Attended Safety Day Event

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Community partners gathered together at Home Depot’s Safety Day in Key West. The event, which took place on October 5th, was an opportunity for residents and children to learn about how to stay safe, meeting one of Monroe County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) goals on Bike Safety. The event included information from DOH-Monroe’s immunizations program, the City of Key West’s and health department’s bike safety program, the US Coast Guard, Key West Police Department and Key West Fire Department.

Putnam County Breathes a Little Easier

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Putnam County takes huge strides in making a Heart Healthy community with the first ever 100% tobacco free event: the 2019 Bartram Frolic. Changing behaviors related to tobacco is critical in Putnam, where one of every two youth reported exposure to secondhand smoke and vaping. Kicking off the event was DOH-Putnam’s 5th annual Heart Healthy 5K walk/run/frolic. The Frolic continued with historic re-enactors, tall tales and educational opportunities throughout the day. We are so proud that the Bartram Trail Society took the lead in making changes one step at a time. #LiveWellPutnam #FLHealth #PutnamSWAT

Healthy Aging TV Show

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Healthy Seminole is a half hour health show created through a partnership between the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County and Seminole County Government TV. The show covers a variety of health topics and highlights community organizations. The latest show aired in September and engages community members in conversations on Healthy Aging. Special guests from the City of Longwood Age Friendly Communities, Longwood Police Department, Seminole County Committee on Aging, Meals on Wheels, Westside Community Center Seniors and the health department shared information about their initiatives and age-friendly resources available for the community.
Click here to watch the show

Okaloosa County Celebrates National Fall Prevention Month

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On the first day of Fall, Okaloosa County’s Preventing Injuries Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) group held an event to celebrate National Fall Prevention Month. The Fort Walton Beach Medical Center hosted the event which featured pharmacist evaluations of medications, blood pressure checks, fall risk screenings, information booths, a short presentation and refreshments. Falls are the leading cause of injury death for those aged 65+ in Okaloosa County. The group hopes that the 50 individuals who attended the event left with the knowledge and tools needed to reduce their risk of falling.

Monroe County Health Department Fits Free Bike Helmets

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Lindsey Cavey, RN, Assistant Nursing Director; Emily Mutschler, Healthiest Weight Florida Coordinator; and Amos Joe, Public Health Planner shared free health resources with community members at the 2019 Monroe County School District Academic Day event in Key West. At the event on September 7, Monroe CHD distributed over 20 free helmets for youth and adults. Bike safety is one of the priority health issues of Monroe County’s CHIP. The department also provided information on tobacco prevention and vaping, nutrition and services offered for free and low-cost for school district families. Cavey provided no-cost hepatitis A vaccines.

SWAT Working to Make Putnam Healthier

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Putnam CHD SWAT youth attended the Interlachen Town Council meeting to present on tobacco marketing to youth and local tobacco retail licensing. The students focused on the importance of creating a tobacco free zone around the schools where youth are more susceptible to targeted tobacco marketing. This initiative would make a positive impact on the community and change the way youth view using tobacco/nicotine products. Town Council members will meet with Mary Garcia, Putnam CHD Administrator and Jennifer Ramos Gagne, Tobacco Manager to discuss options, sample ordinances/resolutions and more resources to create a healthier community.

Hurricane Dorian Response in Brevard County

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Nearly 150 Brevard CHD staff members staffed three special needs shelters that housed a total of 350 clients during Hurricane Dorian. Staff members were also active in the ESF8 and ESF14 desks in the EOC and administrative offices.

Healthy Okaloosa Worksites Launch Breastfeeding-in-a-Box Kits

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Healthy Okaloosa Worksites celebrated National Breastfeeding Awareness Month by launching Breastfeeding-in-a-Box kits! Kits include educational materials for Human Resources staff, new parent packets, posters and rack cards about breastfeeding for display in breakrooms, breastfeeding room signage, a small cooler for breastmilk storage in staff refrigerators and a list of ways worksites can support breastfeeding. Okaloosa CHD staff delivered them to local worksites during August. They hope the kits will encourage the implementation of breastfeeding policies and creation of private breastfeeding rooms, increasing the number of mothers who initiate breastfeeding.

Build-A-Bucket for Preparedness in Liberty County

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Before a disaster is the best time to get prepared. DOH Calhoun/Liberty staff participated in the Liberty County Emergency Management Build-A-Bucket event. Over 200 community members of all ages came out to learn how to build a family disaster preparedness bucket. As participants stopped by the DOH table, many enjoyed playing the ‘Preparedness Plinko’ game - all while learning up-to-date information about being prepared.

Grocery Store Outreach

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The DOH-Seminole WIC Program launched its first grocery store outreach to provide services to current and potential clients. Angela Osorio and Yvette Piguave had a successful interaction with many clients, assisting them to reschedule their appointments, make appointments for new clients, determine income eligibility, set up the WIC app on their phones, issue WIC benefits and provide information on how WIC works. WIC will continue providing these services at the grocery stores three times a month.

DOH Columbia/Hamilton Staff Attend Backpack Giveaways

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During August, DOH Columbia/Hamilton staff attended backpack giveaways in Ft. White, White Springs and Lake City. At the backpack giveaways, “Miles of Smiles” dental team members distributed 769 toothbrush packets and Healthiest Weight FL health educators distributed over 450 children’s activity books on healthy eating and physical activity. Nursing staff administered a total of 12 back to school vaccines. Vital Statistics staff passed out information on services offered, while Healthy Start Coordinators gave out information and promoted the Columbia/Hamilton World’s Greatest Baby Shower coming up in October.

National Night Out 2019

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Mary Garcia, Carol Kazounis and Catherine Crinnion participated in Palatka’s 2019 National Night Out. This year’s event, hosted by the Palatka Police Department and the Palatka Police Athletic League, continues to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. Palatka truly is united and dedicated to building a safer and more caring place to live. Booker Park was packed with fun, food and fellowship and the Back-2-School Backpack & Supply Giveaway. DOH-Putnam team members shared information on programs, completed 23 type 2 diabetes screenings and recruited for SWAT.

Hamilton County School District Health Fair

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At the Hamilton County School District Health Fair on August 5th, Hamilton County DOH health educators distributed over 200 educational flyers on healthy eating, hypertension, physical activity and eating on a budget to the Hamilton County school district administrators, teachers and staff. Hamilton County DOH nursing staff administered over 30 Hep A vaccinations to Hamilton County school district teachers.

DOH-Collier Immokalee Team Recognized for the TaxWatch Productivity Award

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DOH-Collier Immokalee Team was recognized by the TaxWatch Productivity Award 2019 for their efforts to increase HPV vaccination initiation and completion rates by age 13. When the project was started by Immokalee staff in 2011, cervical cancer among Hispanics and Black women in Collier County was significantly higher than the non-Hispanic and white counterparts. Preventing cancer saves consumers, taxpayers and insurance companies about $2,000 for precancer treatment with up to savings greater than $100,000 for advanced cases of cancer.

DOH-Brevard Teams Earn 2019 TaxWatch Productivity Awards

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Environmental Health team members improved the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system construction permit application process. This program has the potential of generating up to $4,800 per month and improves staff scheduling by limiting unnecessary drive time. Endocrine Specialty team members provided an on-site endocrinology specialty clinic to pregnant women with diabetes. Pregnant women were able to maintain improved sugar control which resulted in healthier birth outcomes and a reduction in hospitalization associated costs. Vital Statistics staff launched a program in which Brevard County Tax Collector offices were able to issue birth certificates. This program allows tax collector offices to better carry out their responsibility of issuing driver’s licenses and provides county-wide birth certificate availability to citizens.

DOH-Marion Publishes Community Health Assessment

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County has published the 2019 Community Health Assessment for Marion County. The department and leaders from more than 30 community partners worked with WellFlorida Council to complete the assessment. Now that the assessment is complete, local leaders are working on Marion’s Community Health Improvement Plan. Using the assessment when creating the improvement plan allows for informed community decision-making and prioritizing of health challenges to ensure health issues are addressed strategically.

Columbia County Health Improvement Planning

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On August 15th, community partners came together to review data that was identified in the Community Health Assessment (CHA) in order to create the 2019 Columbia County Community Health Improvement Plan. Meeting participants then divided into four subgroups to work together to address the following focus areas that were identified through the CHA process:

  • Access to Care,
  • Mental Health Promotion,
  • Tobacco Prevention Awareness and
  • Physical and Nutritional Wellness.

WellFlorida community planning facilitators Lindsey Redding and Chris Abarca gave community partners the task of meeting together to create goals and objectives as a group before the next meeting on 9/19 at 9am.

Escambia/Santa Rosa Community Health Improvement Planning in Full Swing

The 2020-2023 CHIP process has begun for FDOH in Escambia and Santa Rosa, alongside the area’s three hospitals, federally qualified health center, university and other community coalitions. Using the Collective Impact model, we are building the governance, infrastructure, strategic plan, community involvement, evaluation and improvement process that will be the driver for our community health assessment and improvement planning across the two-county MSA. Working closely with Achieve Escambia, our cradle to career impact model, the planning team is currently developing six-month strategic objectives to impact the health of this community in a way that has not been done before.

DOH-Walton Community Health Assessment Includes Age-Friendly and Disability-Friendly Objectives

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The Florida Department of Health in Walton County is facilitating the collaboration of local government and Walton Community Health Improvement Partnership (WCHIP) to ensure that the issues affecting older adults and individuals with disabilities are addressed strategically. Walton County is part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. For the 2020-2022 Community Health Improvement Plan, all priority areas will be required to have one objective that is considered “Age-Friendly” or “Disability-Friendly” to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live a long, healthy life. DOH-Walton included data found in the Aging in Florida Profile on FLHealthCHARTS in the 2019 Walton County Community Health Assessment.

DOH Putnam Targets Chronic Disease Prevention

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DOH-Putnam’s Chronic Disease Prevention Programs’ aim is to educate and support the health of residents to avoid or manage chronic diseases. With that in mind, they used their Quality Improvement Plan to increase recruitment and awareness of the DOH-Putnam Heart Health, Diabetes Prevention and Diabetes Self-Management Programs among residents and participating community partners. The program was so successful that it was recognized as 2019 Model Practice Award Winner at a recent National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Conference. Learn more: #LiveWellPutnam

Calhoun/Liberty Host Women’s Health Seminar

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DOH – Calhoun/Liberty hosted their 12th Annual Women’s Health Seminar. The theme this year was “May your wellness be as plentiful as sand on the beach”. Over 170 women of all ages attended the beach themed seminar and heard three speakers talk about “A new healthier You”, “Coping with Loss After Disaster” and “From Stressed to your Best” – Stress training techniques for the real world. To go along with the theme, participants wrote their worries in sand and their blessings on a stone. The ladies also enjoyed manicures, massages and a craft table where they could make their own sand art sea shell bottle.

DOH-Okaloosa Partners with Food Pantries for Bicycle Safety

“I noticed a lot of people biking across dangerous intersections with no helmets. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do some kind of outreach in the community,” said Taela Cintron, a DOH-Okaloosa Health Educator Consultant and Crestview resident. As a result, staff members perform bike helmet fittings and bicycle education at local food pantries and meal stations where many people bike to the sites. Already, nearly 50 helmets have been distributed along with safety tips and reflective armbands.

Team Delivers Hope

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Thirteen DOH-Brevard employees recently formed team Baby Aspirins and participated in the Space Coast Promise Walk to increase awareness of preeclampsia and "make strides and deliver hope" for families affected by preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome (a life-threatening pregnancy complication), and other pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders. The walk helped raise over $6,000 and was a part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness about preeclampsia.

DOH-Brevard Partnering in Pregnancy: Embedding Endocrine

With a rising number of women with diabetes and the observation that about 30% of all deliveries in the county were high risk, staff at DOH-Brevard created an endocrine clinic to provide better care to clients. The clinic is staffed by an endocrinologist and APRN who provide care to women without access to specialty services. The program is helping those with pre-gestational and gestational diabetes, and participants show no significant increases in A1C levels.

DOH-Columbia encourages healthy habits at Kiwanis Kid's Day in Lake City

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On Saturday, May 18th, DOH staff distributed information on vaccines, bike safety, physical activity, healthy eating, infant safe sleep, and gave out over 300 toothbrushes to children in Lake City. It was a hot day, but RN Supervisor Sarah White did her part to keep even Smokey the Bear cool!

DOH-Calhoun Runs with Health Education

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Blountstown Fire Department hosted its 8th annual Catfish Crawl 5k run on May 18, 2019 attracting over 600 people including both locals and visitors from across the panhandle. DOH-Calhoun partnered with the Blountstown Fire Department at this event to address priorities including tobacco, healthy babies and preparedness. Calhoun County Tobacco Prevention has participated in making this a tobacco-free event for two consecutive years!

DOH-Collier Educates College Bound Students Regarding Family Planning and STDs

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DOH-Collier provided a presentation to The Immokalee Foundation Post-Secondary Program/Summer Boot Camp on Family Planning and STDs. Forty-six students who were preparing for college attended. Topics included safe sex, birth control, STDs and HIV, HPV vaccine, emotional/physical abusive relationships, condom education, and available services. The students asked numerous questions regarding STD transmission, fertility issues, contraception, and the cost of testing, and several scheduled screenings or appointments.

Data Placemats Inform about Health Disparities

DOH-Walton and the Walton Community Health Improvement Partnership are partnering to provide community data placemats for tables at the Caring and Sharing of South Walton’s Communities of Transformation program. The program is led by the SoWal Community Chaplain, a WCHIP member, with the mission of moving families from surviving to thriving by developing personal leadership skills and building authentic relationships. There are over 50 participants that meet weekly. The placemats assist participants in understanding the needs of the community by looking at health disparities and the social determinants of health.

Hernando County Completes Local Public Health System Assessment

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Angie Bonfardino-Walasek (center, raised hand,) Executive Director, United Way Hernando County shares her thoughts to the Hernando County Community Health Assessment Steering Committee.

Over 30 community partners convened at the Florida Department of Health in Hernando County as part of the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) process for community health assessment. Representatives from the local hospital, county health department, faith-based community, school board, mental health community, private industry, veterans and private citizens participate in the process. In April, the Steering Committee completed and scored the public health system’s capacity using the Local Public Health System Assessment. Key observations will be shared and integrated with other components to form a complete health needs assessment. To learn more about the process, visit WellFlorida.com

Monroe County Health Plans Released

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Bob Eadie, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County, presented information about the county’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to community stakeholders at Bernstein Park in Stock Island (March 2019). Community partners included law enforcement, local healthcare centers, service organizations, and government entities. These partners helped develop the CHIP and will work together to address Monroe County’s health priorities. The department released the CHIP and Community Health Assessment in time for National Public Health Week on April 1. These documents are available online at Monroe.flhealth.gov.

DOH-Sarasota – Mobilizing the Community Against Substance Abuse

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In partnership with local organizations and residents, the Englewood Community Health Action Team (CHAT) promoted an outreach day on March 05th at the local library, where CHAT members spoke with more than 50 people promoting awareness on Substance Abuse. The topic is a priority of the current Sarasota County CHIP and was chosen by the group as a local priority for first quarter of this year. Since September 2018, Englewood CHAT has been working on Safety Disposing Medications. CHAT members have spoken with more than 300 people and distributed more than 200 Deterra pouches used to safely dispose of drugs.

Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties Collaborate on Community Health Survey

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County health departments from Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties collaborated with their local non-profit hospital community partners to launch a joint community health survey. The survey will inform hospitals’ community health needs assessment (CHNA) and planning efforts, and county health departments’ community health assessment (CHA) and community health improvement planning (CHIP) efforts. Each organization will use the survey data to inform improvement planning, leading to a more coordinated approach to county health issues.

Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative Quarterly Meeting L-R Brittney Frazier (Allegany Franciscan Ministries), Lisa Bell (BayCare), Dr. Ayesha Johnson (DOH-Hillsborough) participate in a panel discussion with representatives from AdventHealth System and BayCare Health System about the significance of the collaboration.

Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties Promote Participation in Community Health Improvement Planning

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Santa Rosa’s Matt Dobson and Escambia’s Kimberly Pace presented results of the collaborative Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) to the Leadership Pensacola’s 2019 class March 14. Each person received a copy of the CHNA document. Leadership Pensacola brought individuals from community organizations together to learn about the healthcare landscape and needs of the community. Matt and Kimberly encouraged the class to get involved in the process by participating in the Community Health Improvement Planning workgroups that will begin in late April.

Washington County Completes the Local Public Health System Assessment

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FDOH-Washington in partnership with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department organized a stakeholders face-to-face meeting in February and completed the Local Public Health System Assessment (LPHSA). There was an outstanding response from local community partners with a total of 42 people attending. Throughout the assessment, participants answered questions regarding essential public health services. With the completion of the LPHSA, Washington County Community Health Improvement Partnership (WCHIP) is moving forward with their Community Health Assessment.

It's Official – Palatka is a Trail Town!

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The City of Palatka recently received prestigious recognition as Florida’s sixth official Trail Town designee. Palatka and the surrounding area offers a system of multi-use paths providing nearby residents many health benefits of walking, hiking and cycling on local trails, paddling on the St. Johns and riding on equestrian trails. Mary Garcia, Administrator, serves on the Trail Town Committee along with partners from the City of Palatka, Revitalize Historic Palatka, Inc., Downtown Palatka, Inc. and the Putnam Blueways and Trails CSO. This accomplishment is part of our Complete Streets efforts for Putnam County. Trail Friendly Communities help combat the rise of chronic diseases.

Community Health Assessment progresses in Sarasota

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DOH - Sarasota hosted a community meeting on April 25 as part of the Community Health Assessment process. Two assessments were completed by the group in addition to reviewing the 2018 Community Health Improvement Plan Annual Report and Community Health Action Team updates. The Local Public Health System Assessment and the Forces of Change survey were completed by the twenty attendees representing schools, foundations, non-profits, government, and community.

Monroe Health Department Hosts Bike Safety Trainings

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The DOH-Monroe’s Injury Prevention program recently held two free trainings for community members to become certified helmet fitters through the Florida Pedbike Resource Center. The project, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, provides trained individuals with the opportunity to order safety materials, including helmets and educational brochures, to educate their communities. The newly certified people, nine from Key West and six from Key Largo, will provide education about bike safety, raise awareness about the impact of safe riding practices (such as wearing a helmet), and mobilize local community members to bring resources to the area in an effort to reduce bicycle accidents and injuries.

Hamilton County Strives to Prevent Human Trafficking

On April 3, 2019, the Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition hosted a symposium to increase awareness about human trafficking. Clinical staff from the Hamilton County Health Department provided human trafficking awareness stickers, magnets, pamphlets and cards to participants.

Putnam Community Unites to Bring Self-Care to Homeless

DOH-Putnam recently co-hosted the 1st Self-Care Day for homeless citizens that provided showers, haircuts, laundry service, food and education about other local services and resources. The DOH-Putnam team gave Hepatitis A and Flu Vaccines, and they provided testing and counseling for HIV, TB and Diabetes. The event was a great opportunity to assist some fantastic folks who needed a hand up. #LiveWellPutnam

DOH-Okaloosa Bikes to School with Elliott Point Elementary

DOH- Okaloosa partnered with Elliott Point Elementary School and the Emerald Coast Regional Council (ECRC) to hold a Bike to School event on May 8th. In the days leading up the event, DOH-Okaloosa and ECRC fitted 30 students with new helmets. Even Assistant Principal Scott Nuss (pictured) was fitted for a helmet! Over 60 students, parents, and school staff members biked to school, with Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office staff members leading the route.

Healthy Esca-Rosa’ – A Cross-County Collective Impact Approach

Organizations, businesses, DOH and Hospitals across Santa Rosa and Escambia County are coming together to discuss the collective impact approach to implementing a Community Health Plan. Still in the early planning phases, stakeholders are meeting to discuss the best way to build the bridge to close the gap in health outcomes for all residents. Prioritizing diabetes, infant health, and mental health, partners and community members will be working on goals and objectives for creating a ‘Healthy Esca-Rosa’.

DOH-Martin Promotes Healthy Weight

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As part of the Healthiest Weight initiative, DOH-Martin created a special card to educate the community about the evidence-based 5-2-1-0 program to promote healthy lifestyles. The colorful and engaging card provides obesity data specific to Martin County along with resource information and features the information in English and Spanish. The creation of the card led to a collaboration with pediatricians at the Cleveland Clinic/Martin Health System. Doctors use the cards during well-child visits to promote 5 or more fruits and veggies, 2 or fewer hours of screen time, 1 hour of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks each day.

Unveiling the Plan to Reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences in Charlotte County

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With rising rates of child abuse and other Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the area, Charlotte County’s community health improvement collaborative developed an action plan to address these issues and increase resilience in the county. At the April Healthy Charlotte Steering Committee meeting, DOH-Charlotte staff unveiled the completed Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to community partners and members of the community. Representatives from healthcare, mental health, law enforcement, and social services volunteered to participate in the ACEs Task Force to recruit organizations and individuals who will commit to joining the movement.

Vaccination Outreach Efforts Key to Preventing Hepatitis A

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DOH-Brevard staff members have been going into the community to provide Hepatitis A vaccinations to at-risk populations. Multiple events in April resulted in 207 In this photo, Barbara is all smiles while getting her Hep A vaccine from Helen Medlin, DOH-Brevard Nursing Program Specialist.

Collier County Leadership Coalition on Aging Brainstorms Issues and Solutions

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On April 17, 2019, the Collier County Leadership Coalition on Aging (LCA) hosted a community forum to discuss at-risk seniors, vulnerability, and health equity. Cindy Whetsell, Director of Nursing, DOH-Collier, and co-chair of the LCA, presented data to participants from 30 healthcare organizations. Data highlighted three main risk factors that contribute to vulnerability in older adults: health status, cognitive ability, and social network. Participants brainstormed advantages, challenges, and opportunities for local organizations to use E-Based Platforms to address senior needs, solicit information, and solve issues.

DOH-Okaloosa Recognizes Healthy Okaloosa Partners

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DOH-Okaloosa celebrated the accomplishments of community partners at the 4th Annual Healthy Okaloosa Celebration! Awards were given to the Partner of the Year in each Healthy Okaloosa program sector: the SWAT Clubs, the Tobacco Free Partnership, and the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Groups. Hurlburt Field Youth Programs received the overall partner of the year award for outstanding work for providing the Recipe for a Healthy Baby presentation to all staff and providing education to kitchen staff to prepare healthier food options for youth. Collectively, partners reached thousands of Okaloosa County residents through health promotion activities, health-related policies, and environmental changes.

Food Pantry Ribbon Cutting Celebration in Seminole County

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The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County (DOH-Seminole) hosted a Public Health Garden Ground Breaking and Food Pantry Ribbon Cutting Celebration on Thursday, February 21st. Community leaders and officials joined the celebration as well as students from the Goldsboro Elementary School. Partners shared some words on their work around food insecurities and current collaboration. Seminole County Commissioner Amy Lockhart, The Christian Sharing Center, Inc. Director of Client Services Dan Ryan and DOH-Seminole Health Officer Donna Walsh cut the ribbon officially inaugurating the food pantry.

Tooth Fairy Visits Elementary School in Hamilton County.

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Jasper, FL – With a little help from the Tooth Fairy, elementary school nurse Terry Cribbs, LPN, taught over 350 Pre-K and Kindergarten students in Hamilton County proper handwashing and teeth cleaning techniques. The students love Tooth Fairy visits! She reads to them and teaches them about flossing and brushing their teeth!

Greater Tampa Bay Area Residents Contribute to Community Health Needs Assessment

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To better understand and address health needs of communities in the Greater Tampa Bay area, The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties and local area hospitals collaborated on the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment Survey. Area residents will provide feedback about nutrition, physical activity, access to care, and mental health. Resulting data helps the local health department and health care providers understand the needs of the community and develop a community health improvement plan to address the issues residents are most concerned about.

Collier County Engages Community in “Themes and Strengths” Assessment

DOH-Collier is conducting the 2019 Community Themes and Strengths Assessment by facilitating focus groups with local partners and community members. Focus groups include participants from DOH-Collier’s Haitian Prenatal classes, Leadership Coalition on Aging, Everglades City residents, Golden Gate Senior Center, and Drug Free Collier, with more sessions to come. Together, different perspectives of what residents think is important will inform setting health priorities for the community.

DOH-Leon Spearheads Regional Network to Fight HIV/AIDS in Black Communities

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The Florida Department of Health in Leon County (Tallahassee) partnered with the Black AIDS Institute to set up a chapter of its Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN) in the Big Bend region. Efforts focus on helping people of color to take charge of their health and break down barriers to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care in Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Franklin, Madison, and Liberty Counties.

DOH-Leon ‘Reach Out and Read’ Project

DOH-Leon partnered with the Reach Out and Read project to encourage parents to read to their children, especially in pre-kindergarten years. Through the WIC program, each child up to age 5 receives a brand-new, age-appropriate and culturally sensitive book. The nutritionist reads the book aloud to the child, encourages the parents to make reading a part of their daily routine, and offers suggestions on making reading time more interactive. The session also gives the nutritionist a chance to observe the development of a child’s motor, cognitive, and speech skills. Since September 2018, more than 300 children have received books.

Reducing Bike Accident Death Rates in Monroe County

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Monroe County has one of the highest death rates for bike accidents in Florida. To address this issue, the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County partners with local law enforcement, city municipalities, State Parks, the Wesley House, and Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition to make bike safety a priority. Recently, the Florida Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Center provided free helmets that the department properly fit and gave to community members at no cost. Here, Chief Sean Bradenburg, with the Key West Police Department, gets properly fitted with a helmet by Emily Mutschler, Certified Regional Trainer and Health Educator.

DOH-Okaloosa Gets “Sticky” to Promote Safe Sleep

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Health Educator Taela Cintron places a floor sticker at the Eglin
Air Force Base Commissary.

The Department of Health in Okaloosa County's Reducing Infant Mortality Community Health Improvement Plan group is working to promote safe sleep practices after several sleep-related infant deaths occurred. The group utilized census tract-level data to determine which areas were most at-risk for sleep-related deaths. They partnered with stores, post offices, clinics, daycare centers, and salons in the areas to place educational floor stickers and brochures. By targeting the at-risk locations, the group hopes to maximize their impact.

Florida Greenways and Trails Council Highlights Putnam County and Opportunities for a Healthy Lifestyle

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The City of Palatka was designated as new trail town by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council on January 23, 2019. Palatka is an emerging trail hub, situated along long-distance paved multi-use trails, the St. Johns River Blueway and historic Bartram Trail in Putnam County. The town's interactive St. Johns River Center provides trail information and maps and the Palatka Bicycle Weekender draws hundreds of participants each year. Two new trail segments were recently added to the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail and Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail.

DOH-Collier Facilitates Community Healthcare Forum & Focus Groups

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In partnership with the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, DOH-Collier representatives took a lead role in corroborating findings from the foundation's 2017 Collier County Community Needs and Assets Assessment. Facilitated by the DOH-Collier Community Health Promotions team, these focus groups, including community members and health care experts, provided beneficial information to validate and enhance the Schulze Foundation needs assessment and contribute to the Collier County Community Health Assessment scheduled for publication in July 2019.

DOH-Marion Surveys Community for Health Issues

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County is leading the charge to develop the next Community Health Needs Assessment for Marion County, bringing together more than 20 partner agencies representing government, health care, social services, and others. The department is asking Marion County residents to share what they see as their most pressing health needs in a 2019 Marion County Community Health Survey. The local health department will use the survey results to develop the assessment, slated for completion in summer 2019, followed by a five-year community improvement plan.

DOH-Okaloosa Shares 2018 CHA Update

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Dr. Karen Chapman welcomes attendees to the CHA Leadership
Team and CHIP Champion meeting.

DOH-Okaloosa met with community partners to share the Okaloosa County 2018 Community Health Assessment (CHA) Update. The document provides data related to each of the county’s five Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) groups. During the meeting, attendees gave feedback that will shape the final version and inform development of 2019 goals in the Community Health Improvement Plan. Learn more

Drowning Prevention Task Force Brings Infant Swimming Resources to Monroe County

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As a part of an injury prevention goal, the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County formed a taskforce to address drowning prevention in the Florida Keys. The group is bringing affordable ISR (Infant Swimming Resource) courses to the area to teach infants and children aquatic skills to survive an accidental water exposure. Recently, the taskforce transitioned into a nonprofit organization run by community members to ensure sustainability. ISR lessons are expected to start by May 2019 at no cost to almost 50 children in the Florida Keys. Learn more

Baby Safe Sleep campaign

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DOH-Orange continued its Baby Safe Sleep campaign with LYNX Bus shelter posters to educate the community. Located in areas of Orange County where infant mortality rates are a concern, the campaign, both in English and Spanish, focuses on highlighting the ABC's of Baby Safe Sleep messaging – that babies should sleep alone, on their back and in a crib. The posters also encourage parents to limit smoking around babies and offers Sudden Infant Death Syndrome prevention messages. Learn more

2019 Great Hernando Weight Loss Challenge

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For a third year, residents joined the Great Hernando Weight Loss Challenge (GHWLC), a community health initiative that motivates teams of 10 to lose 10 lbs. per person in 10 weeks. The 760 individuals aim to lose a total of 7,600 lbs. by March 27. In 2018, Challengers lost a total of 7200 lbs. The GHWLC is an initiative of the Hernando County Community Health Improvement Plan Partnership which enjoys strong support from DOH-Hernando, UNITED Way, Oak Hill Hospital, Hernando County School District, City Parks and Recreation, YMCA, Hernando County Library and many others.

Nassau County Releases 2019-2021 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)

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On January 30, 2019 the Florida Department of Health in Nassau County and the Partnership for a Healthier Nassau presented a new Nassau CHIP for 2019-2021. Strategic issue areas include Access to Care, Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse, Community Support, Health Disparities, and Housing and Safe Places. Melissa Nelson, State Attorney for Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, shared her vision of health and connected it with the five priority areas. Local stakeholders, including County Commissioners, and representatives from law enforcement, health care agencies, the school district, the hospital, other organizations attended. Learn more

Cribs for Kids and Safe Sleep Ambassador Training Kicks Off in Alachua County

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One goal in Florida’s State Health Improvement Plan is to reduce infant mortality by advancing safe sleep behaviors among families of infants. Florida Healthy Babies in Alachua has successfully created a partnership between the Department of Health in Alachua and Cribs for Kids. Together, they are using consistent safe sleep messaging and the Safe Sleep Ambassador training with the WIC program, DOH Alachua staff and community partners. Learn more


Escambia and Santa Rosa Release 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment Report

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Escambia and Santa Rosa’s sixth combined Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) Report was approved for public distribution on December 11 by the Live Well Partnership Steering Committee. The Partnership brings together both public health systems to develop a collaborative CHNA document that identifies the health needs and concerns of the two neighboring communities. The 2019 CHNA will serve as a blueprint for the upcoming Community Health Improvement Plan.

Learn more

Community Health Needs Assessment Underway in Volusia County

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DOH-Volusia has begun taking a leading role in developing the next Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for Volusia County. The agency is working in collaboration with governmental and nongovernmental partners. Once the CHNA is completed in the spring, it will serve as the basis for the Community Health Improvement Plan, which identifies priority issues, develops and implements strategies for action and establishes accountability to ensure measurable improvement. The county's current Community Health Improvement Plan runs through 2019 and is online at volusiahealth.com/planning.

DOH- Manatee Stands Up at Veterans’ Stand Down Event

The DOH-Manatee recently participated in a community-wide Stand Down Event providing resources to local veterans, including many homeless. The event was held at the Manatee County Fairgrounds with more than 50 partner agencies and community organizations. More than 300 participants benefitted, receiving health coaching, educational materials and flu shots.

DOH Union Celebrates World Diabetes Day

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DOH-Union County recently celebrated World Diabetes Day as part of National Diabetes Awareness Month. Staff provided free prediabetes screenings, blood sugar testing, and information on local prediabetes and diabetes self-management classes available in the community.

Learn more

Baker Drives Thru to Stop the Flu

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DOH-Baker held a no-cost Flu POD drive thru on November 6, 2018 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. “The event was a complete success!” said Jordan Duncan, DOH-Baker’s Senior Community Nurse. “The turnout of people ready to get their flu shots exceeded our expectations.” In just two hours, the team vaccinated 72 clients in the DOH-Baker’s parking lot as they drove through three stations (triage, vaccine and observation stations). The clients were extremely thankful and shared with staff how innovative and convenient it was for them to get vaccinated this way.

Seminole Bikes to Work

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Priority 2 of DOH-Seminole’s 2017–2020 CHIP is chronic diseases and conditions. The goal is to increase the percentage of Seminole County residents at a healthy weight by encouraging good nutrition and physical activity. On October 26, 2018 the DOH-Seminole, in collaboration with reThink Your Commute, hosted the first Bike-to-Work Day. Seminole County Sheriff’s Department Motorcycle Deputies escorted community partners and DOH-employees from Seminole County’s MetroPlan Orlando and Seminole County Government along a 3-mile route to the office location at 400 West Airport Boulevard in Sanford. In preparation, reThink Your Commute gave free helmets and proper fitting assessments to participating cyclists, and Old Towne Cyclery provided free bike tune-ups.

Community Health Needs Assessment Underway

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DOH-Volusia has begun taking a leading role in developing the next Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for Volusia County. The agency is working in collaboration with governmental and nongovernmental partners. Once the CHNA is completed in the spring, it will serve as the basis for the Community Health Improvement Plan, which identifies priority issues, develops and implements strategies for action and establishes accountability to ensure measurable improvement. The county's current Community Health Improvement Plan runs through 2019 and is online at volusiahealth.com/planning.

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure and assess the risk of hunger. In the United States currently, 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger and 1 in 6 children struggle with hunger. Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap estimated 13.9 percent of Florida’s population and 20.7 percent of Florida’s children experienced food insecurity during 2016.

Find data for your county regarding food insecurity and food insecurity among children in CHARTS’ Health Equity Profile.

Addressing food insecurity and more in Holly Hill

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DOH-Volusia’s Health Equity and Community Engagement Team is working with community partners at Derbyshire Place in Holly Hill. Collectively the partners are addressing food insecurity, nutrition education, economic development and social isolation of residents age 0 to more than 100. The group discussed a proposal to develop 42 garden beds, seating areas, edible shade trees and more. Derbyshire Place is a faith-based community center that provides a safe, caring environment where children and families can gather and foster growth in the areas of education, recreation, and spiritual development.

DOH-Volusia’s Jill Taufer, human services program specialist, and Akisia Hicks-German, health educator, are working with community partners at Derbyshire Place in Holly Hill to address food insecurity and more.

Exploring Local Health Data with FLHealthCHARTS Webinar

This webinar provides an overview of how to view and interpret data from CHARTS. Profile reports, 4-panel viewers, the community map and social & economic factors report, query systems, and atlases are all demonstrated. There is discussion about data utilization, including how to use years of potential life lost and the difference between age-adjusted and crude rates.

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (228) A recording of the webinar is available now. If you have questions, use the Ask a Question feature to contact the CHARTS team.

Mosquito Fish Tanks

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The Community Spotlight for October features a cost-saving sustainable approach for mosquito control, healthy food production and dealing with abandoned swimming pools in Orange County. DOH-Orange’s Environmental Health and Epidemiology staff members partnered with United Global Outreach in Bithlo to install a hydroponic system. Fish in this system create waste that supports growth of 650 units of leafy greens. The fish will stay in the system for a while and then will be moved to abandoned swimming pools to feast on mosquito larva and reduce the mosquito population. This system is sustainable as new fish are moved in, more leafy greens are produced and old fish are moved to abandoned swimming pools.

Corps Volunteers Save DOH Nearly $13,000

DOH-Volusia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers saved taxpayers nearly $13,000 over the last fiscal year. Medical Reserve Corp volunteers have conducted flu shot outreach at homeless shelters, and staffed immunization clinics and health fairs. They attended trainings and exercises to prepare them to work in special needs shelters, alternate medical care sites and medicine dispensing locations. They also assisted DOH-Volusia staff as needed. Corps volunteers logged a combined total of 443 hours.

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MRC volunteers Larry Westley (left) and Aleta Dick (right) prepare vaccinations at DOH-Volusia. The registered nurses helped DOH staff handle the back-to-school rush for vaccinations.

Collaboration in Action

Alachua County has identified an area with few resources and a high concentration of health disparities and social detriments. Through model community advocacy and collaboration, this once-isolated area now has a family resource center and a health and dental clinic. Additionally, a childcare learning center opened on June 7. DOH-Alachua operates the health clinic, providing over 3,200 residents with over 40,000 services—including WIC, dental, family planning and immunizations—since the clinic opened in 2015. The low birth weight data shows a decline from 18.8% in 2014 to 11.5% in 2016 in the census tract where the clinic operates. DOH-Alachua staff supported and celebrated the opening of the childcare center that will add another resource of early childhood care and learning to the area.

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Announcing Florida’s 2017–2021 SHIP!

The recently-released State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) is a five-year plan that engages public health system stakeholders to collectively address Florida’s top health priorities. Consisting of diverse partners from throughout the state, the SHIP Steering Committee meets throughout the five-year timeframe to ensure objectives are being met. The SHIP is structured by eight priority areas interwoven with health equity concepts that address health disparities. The priority areas are: Health Equity; Maternal and Child Health; Immunizations; Injury, Safety and Violence; Healthy Weight, Nutrition and Physical Activity; Behavioral Health (includes Mental Illness and Substance Abuse); Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Other Infectious Diseases; and Chronic Disease and Conditions (includes Tobacco-Related Illnesses and Cancer). Each priority area has a priority area workgroup (PAW) comprised of subject matter experts and managed by an internal and external co-chair. The subject matter experts work collaboratively to determine the PAW’s goals, strategies and objectives for the SHIP and track their progress throughout the range of the plan.

Please follow these links to access the SHIP Executive Summary, SHIP Goals, Strategies and Objectives, and SHA Key Findings.

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DOH-Volusia Improves Access to Dental Care for Children

According to a survey conducted by DOH-Volusia, time and a lack of dentists willing to see young children keep parents from getting dental care for their children. To improve access, the department’s WIC program and dental clinic collaborated on an initiative that earned the agency a Prudential Productivity Award. Recognizing that many children aged 1 to 5 enrolled in WIC programs have never seen a dentist, the initiative was designed to make dental care more convenient for parents by providing care during WIC appointments. A dental hygienist in the WIC office offered preventive dental care, dental education and referrals, as needed. Since its launch in 2016, the collaborative has expanded to the DOH-Volusia’s three WIC sites in Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach and Orange City. During the first year, nearly 2,000 children aged 1 to 5 years old received care.

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DOH-Volusia staff earned a Prudential Productivity Award from TaxWatch for an initiative that increased access to dental care for young children. In front, from left: Patricia Foster and Priscilla Montijo, dental hygienists. In back, from left: Trina Cowan, dental hygienist, Elin Grimes, public health nutritionist, Tachara Ferguson-Reid, dental program manager, and Stacy Greenlaw, dental hygienist.

Miami-Dade Developing a New Community Health Plan

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The Miami-Dade County Health Department is working on its updated county-wide health assessment in response to the State Health Improvement Plan that seeks to hit 18 goals in improving Floridians’ health. Working with and within the community, they will complete a new assessment and then update the county’s goals together. Members of the health department, coalitions, and groups within the county work collaboratively to include health in all policies. Miami-Dade’s new 5-year Community Health Plan will be released by the middle of 2019. Learn More at Miami Today, May 8, 2018

DOH-Monroe’s Radio Stars Feature Health Issues

The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County conducts interviews on a regular basis with various radio stations in the Florida Keys. One station—US 1 Radio, 104.1 FM—is the most listened to news station in Monroe County. The department has a regular 10-minute spotlight on the Morning Magazine with Bill Becker every Monday at 7:45am, where DOH subject experts and program managers speak about public health topics including upcoming department events, vaccinations, injury prevention, chronic disease prevention and more. Those who are interested can listen live or listen to previously recorded shows at www.us1radio.com. In addition to US 1 Radio, the department has also aired live on WEOW 92.7 FM, Island 107FM and WFFG 1300AM, WLRN (NPR) 91.3FM.

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On March 14, Eddi Roberts, RN at DOH-Monroe, conducted a live radio interview about the flu vaccine on Island 107 FM in Key West for the show Island Issues. In the half-hour, interview host Wayne Dapser asked a series of questions regarding the most effective methods of preventing flu. Roberts spoke at length about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine and its importance during one of the worst flu seasons in several years. She also pointed out that, although flu activity has peaked, it is still not too late to get vaccinated.

North Point Neighborhood Block Party

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On Saturday, February 3, DOH-Duval hosted a Block Party in the North Point neighborhood near DOH-Duval’s Children’s Dental Center. The event was held in a community with a largely minority population that faces health disparities contributing to high rates of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, suicide, infant deaths, preterm births and other health conditions. The event addressed three Florida Health Performs goals—Health Equity, HIV Infections and Trauma Services—in DOH-Duval Strategic Priority Area 2—Long, Healthy Life.

After gathering and analyzing census tract data from the FLHealthCHARTS website, the DOH-Duval External Affairs team identified external service agencies and DOH-Duval programs to attend the event to provide services and access to resources relating to career development, food insecurity, home repair, housing, jobs and job training, and youth services. At the Block Party, Precision Imaging performed 18 mammograms, A New DEAL Diabetes Program performed 71 diabetes risk assessments, River Region performed 40 HIV tests and UF Health provided hands-only CPR training. Additionally, staff distributed 300 bags of groceries (donated by Farm Share), 16 bicycles (donated by MWUGL of Florida) and 93 bicycle helmets (donated by the Health Planning Council). A total of 15 attendees signed up to be pre-certified for the WIC Program.

Councilwoman Katrina Brown, District 8, and Tony Hill, Director of Community Outreach and Field Operations for Congressman Al Lawson, attended the event.

Sharing Positive Info with All Families

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DOH-Pinellas is sharing infant health information, including the role of breastfeeding, with families in the county via a free publication that debuted in November. Good Living’s Tampa Bay Baby is a guide focusing on the needs of babies and toddlers through the pre-K stage. The first issue has a wraparound cover depicting seven mothers and their babies. It was created in partnership with DOH-Pinellas.

DOH-Pinellas Gets Social About HIV

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Via a Pinellas County Government grant, the DOH-Pinellas HIV/AIDS Program launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #TheBurgCares. The campaign focuses on St. Petersburg (commonly called “The Burg”) with information about testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), treatment and overcoming the HIV/AIDS stigma. The campaign will also host a series of public service announcements featuring local leaders. #TheBurgCares is reaching out to high-risk populations on dating sites.

Heart Health Plus Success in Madison County!

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Heart Health Plus aims to prevent heart disease in the communities that need it the most. This program implements evidence-based strategies to affect faith-based organizations, health systems and local communities. The Madison County Health Department recently implemented “Keeping the Pressure Down,” which is a blood pressure self-monitoring course. The participants received one-on-one counseling once a week and worked with nurses to develop a plan for managing their hypertension. Each client received an individualized blood pressure self-management plan. Self-management involves focusing on an individual’s role in managing chronic disease and providing assistance with activities such as patient education, lifestyle modifications and developing the skills needed for effective chronic disease management.

The Madison County Health Department partnered with North Florida Community College (NFCC) and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (IFAS) Extension Office to carry out this initiative. NFCC offered a free 3-month gym membership as an incentive for participants to complete the course and the IFAS Extension Office agreed to conduct the classes in partnership with DOH-Madison. Eight clients participated in the course and seven actively participated in the full program. All participants were successful in lowering and/or maintaining their blood pressure during the course of the program.

To read more about the Heart Health Plus program please go to www.flhealth.gov/heart.

Sealants for Students

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Columbia County started their school-based sealant program in November. Dental hygienist Lisa Swisher provided dental assessments, fluoride varnish, oral hygiene instruction and sealants to 39 2nd and 5th graders. Annually, the mobile dental clinic bus visits all of the elementary schools in Columbia and Hamilton Counties to see children who qualify for diagnostic, preventive, and restorative services.

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Educates On Air

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WTXL ABC 27 invited Lynn Vinson, manager of DOH-Leon’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, and several department colleagues to the studios on October 26 to answer phone questions from WTXL viewers on breast cancer detection and prevention, and the BCCEDP. Lynn and colleagues staffed phones during the 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts.


Improving Access to Community Resources Through Pensacola’s Reimagine Event

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DOH-Escambia staff participated in Pensacola’s largest Reimagine event—Reimagine Brownsville—on November 4, providing information and resources about nutrition, physical activity, and breast and cervical cancer. The event, which attracted approximately 300 community residents and organizations, aimed to improve access to community resources. Attendees also received free groceries, diapers, clothes and health screenings, such as blood pressure checks and HIV/STD testing.

Immunization Clinics Keep the Flu Out of School

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Because of the collaborative efforts of DOH-Lee, Healthy Schools LLC and three schools in Lee County, 239 students and staff were vaccinated and protected against the flu this season. On October 18, Healthy Schools LLC Nurses provided this service at Canterbury, Fort Myers Christian and Acceleration Charter Schools.

Using Data to Inform Community Health Improvement Plans

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Recently, county health department staff and partners gathered to learn about using data to prioritize community health issues. Staff in the Tallahassee and Ft. Lauderdale trainings also learned about health equity and PACE-EH. The National Association for County and City Health Officials together with the Florida Department of Health collaborated to provide the instruction to 122 participants.

Volusia Supports Tobacco-Free Moms and Babies

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DOH-Volusia’s first Baby & Me-Tobacco Free mom has completed the program. Since the May 2016 launch, 35 moms have enrolled and 10 babies have been born tobacco free. Eighteen moms are actively participating in the program.

Providing Quality Mammography Services

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DOH-Hillsborough’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) partnered with community stakeholders, Suncoast Community Health Inc. and Tampa Family Health Centers Inc. (both FQHC’s), Direct Medical Imaging and Tampa Bay Mobile Mammography to provide those services in the community. The collaboration resulted in creating a virtual “One Stop” shop for mammography services. Overall, 412 women received mammography services.

DOH-Franklin Educates at Back-to-School Bash

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DOH-Franklin educated 35 youth at a local Back-to-School Bash in Apalachicola. Youth-focused topics included nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices, which align with ongoing projects that are held in the schools all year long. Students also had the opportunity to test their nutritional knowledge by spinning the health wheel.

Providing Parenting Classes in Polk County

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Polk County Healthy Start recently began offering parenting classes to clients. The program identified a need to offer classes covering a variety of parenting topics and then launched “Educational Nuggets for Parents,” an educational series of monthly group parenting classes. Classes are offered in both English and Spanish.

Coming Together for Water Safety Awareness

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DOH-Collier joined the Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition, Dunkin’ Donuts, Stewie the Duck and numerous community partners to raise awareness of water safety and drowning prevention with WINK News. May is National Water Safety Month, and Dunkin’ Donuts stores throughout Collier County will be selling “LifeSaver Donuts” during this month to help spread the message.

HIV Prevention Program Launches New Minority Media Campaign

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The HIV Prevention Program launched its new statewide minority media campaign May 1. The campaign theme is “Protect Yourself”. Components of the campaign include broadcast radio, digital/mobile advertising, out-of-home advertising (billboards, for example), a new website, social media and public outreach events. Check it out at www.KnowYourHIVStatus.com

Collaborating to Decrease Alcohol and Tobacco Use

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Hamilton County nursing staff collaborated with the Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition to present strategies and resources to decrease alcohol and tobacco use among youth and adults. The presentations took place during the Jennings Town Hall Meeting held at the Jennings Library. Sr. RN’s Shankeyda Jones-Simmons, Amy Crider, Marjorie Rigdon, DON, and Nina Concepcion, HST, gave presentations on available resources.

Increasing Childhood Vaccination Rates

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National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), April 22-29, 2017, highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrates achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities. Vaccinations play a critical role in protecting children, communities, and public health. Unvaccinated children can—and do—get vaccine-preventable diseases. See how the Department is working with partners to increase immunization rates among children (Video). The Shots Book, written by a 14 year old to educate children about the importance of vaccinations, explains the importance of vaccines and herd immunity.
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Florida Department of Health Recognizes 2017 Healthy Weight Community Champions

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Recently, the Florida Department of Health recognized 98 communities as the 2017 Healthy Weight Community Champions. Florida’s county and municipal governments play an important role in decreasing the prevalence of unhealthy weight in their jurisdictions. Local governments can implement a variety of policies that have been shown to increase physical activity and improve nutrition. These best practice policies are reflected in the Healthy Weight Community Champion submission criteria. Between August and December 2016, local governments were invited to submit best practices they have implemented in their jurisdictions.

“I am pleased that the department is able to recognize the tremendous work these local governments have done to improve the health of their residents” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. “Their efforts to implement policies that empower residents and visitors to improve their health are an important part of creating healthy environments throughout Florida.”

The Community Champions program is part of the department’s Healthiest Weight Florida initiative. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations and entire communities to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living.

The 2017 Healthy Weight Community Champions are listed below by region. Click on the corresponding region to read that region’s press release: Panhandle Capital NorthEast North Central Central West Central SouthWest South SouthEast
Learn More

Heart Health+ Launches in 17 Counties

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Heart Health+ aims to prevent heart disease in the communities that need it the most. Launched November 2016, this pilot program implements evidence-based strategies to affect faith based organizations, health systems and local communities. Participating counties were selected by analyzing heart disease, smoking, cholesterol, high blood pressure and other risk factors in each of Florida’s 67 counties to identify where there were greatest needs for heart disease prevention programs. Calhoun, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gadsden, Gulf, Hendry, Holmes, Jefferson, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Putnam, Taylor, Union and Washington Counties are now implementing either “Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring & Tobacco Cessation”, “Hypertension Control Champions” or “100 Congregations for Million Hearts”. All strategies incorporate referring participants to Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way Programs, Diabetes Prevention Programs and Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs, as needed. For more information, contact cdprevention@flhealth.gov.

Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring & Tobacco Cessation This strategy involves implementing a Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program in partnership with the local Tobacco Free Florida Quit Counselor and incorporating tobacco cessation messages. Blood Pressure self-monitoring is the regular measurement of blood pressure by the patient outside of the clinical setting, either at home or elsewhere. It requires the use of a home blood pressure measurement device by the patient to measure blood pressure at different points in time. This, along with clinical support, has been proven to improve access to care while making blood pressure control more convenient and accessible across the population.

Hypertension Control Champions .Hypertension Control Challenge is a competition to identify practices, clinicians and health systems that have worked with their patients to achieve hypertension control rates at or above 70% through innovations in health information technology and electronic health records, patient communication, and health care team approaches. Counties selecting this strategy are working towards being recognized as Hypertension Control Champions by implementing standardized protocols for controlling high blood pressure in adults and for tobacco cessation to serve as clinical decision support at the point of care so no opportunities are missed to achieve control. They also assist with either reporting on the Million Hearts® clinical quality measures or implementing the Diagnosing the Undiagnosed toolkit.

100 Congregations for Million Hearts Million Hearts® is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The goal of 100 Congregations is to enlist the support of faith based organizations to help raise awareness about risks for heart disease and stroke and educate individuals about prevention, including a focus on high blood pressure control. Counties selecting this strategy are partnering with at least two local faith-based organizations and assisting them with joining 100 congregations for Million Hearts. They assist with developing pulpit and other leadership messages about heart health and diabetes awareness. They also work with the organizations to host two community events per organization which focus on heart disease prevention.

We have a new name: FLHealthCHARTS.gov

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Update your bookmark to our new URL: http://www.FLHealthCHARTS.gov. We celebrate 2017 and the launch of our updated website with a new look that embraces Florida Department of Health branding. Twelve years ago, we founded this site, and we continue our commitment to providing the most up-to-date health statistics you’ll find in Florida. Each month, over 24,000 visitors generate over 1 million hits to the 3,500 health indicators, 19 health profile reports and 10 query systems in FLHealthCHARTS.


Dixie Residents "Take to the trail" for Good Health

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On Saturday October 15, 2016, Dixie County residents participated in the second annual "Fall Into Fitness" 5K walk and run event. There were over 30 participants who participated in the walk/run/bike event, including Dixie, Gilchrist, and Levy's health officer, Barbara Locke. After finishing the 5k, participants and staff joined other community partners at the 4th annual Fire Expo being held across the street at the Dixie County EOC. FDOH-Dixie had a booth set up at the Fire Expo, where over 400 participants had the opportunity to learn about Hands-ONLY CPR and the importance of car seat safety. Dixie County third grade student participated in a poster contest describing "What does health mean to me?"

DOH-Miami-Dade joined Miami-Dade College in celebrating World Heart Day

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DOH-Miami-Dade joined Miami-Dade College during a Heart Fair in celebration of World Heart Day. The event was a great success as over 300 members of the community were screened and numerous workshops were hosted registering nearly 900 participants. This event provided an excellent opportunity to share the abundance of local and statewide resources available to the community.

'Safety Heather' Brings Education and Resources to Charlotte County Caregivers

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DOH-Charlotte's Injury Prevention Coordinator, Heather Boyd, recently established a local Safe Kids chapter in Charlotte County, and has utilized this new partnership to reach over 1,000 caregivers in the area with safety information. Boyd obtained a Safe Kids Worldwide Medication Safety Grant that provided pill pods (medication lock boxes), cabinet locks and educational information for distribution to those living with young children. DOH-Charlotte and Safe Kids have been partnering with the local drug free community coalitions and the Poison Center of Tampa to reach an even larger audience with safety messaging.

DOH-Monroe Goes Door-to-Door for Zika Virus Outreach and Education

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​Community partners of the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County engaged in a door-to-door Zika Community Outreach and Education event on Wednesday, August 10. Thirty five volunteers showed up at the Gato Building in Key West for the event from the following agencies: the Department of Health, Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, the US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Naval Branch Health Clinic, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the Medical Reserve Corp, Monroe County Extension Service, and Florida Keys Community College. Volunteers hung information in the form of door hangers and spoke to residents and visitors about mosquito bite prevention and the importance of draining standing water. Volunteers were split up into teams and assigned sections of Key West to provide education on this important public health issue. The department has also launched a Joint Information Center regarding Zika with the aforementioned community partners. Monroe County Board of County Commissioners have secured a community partners resource page: Zapzika.net, which will launch on Friday.

Sarasota County first in Florida to Receive the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Age-Friendly Community Designation

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The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) continually uses data to assess the health status of the community. One-third of Sarasota County’s population is over 65 years of age with a projected influx of aging baby boomers who will make Sarasota County their home over the next several years. This presents some unique challenges and opportunities for a community committed to helping ensure that everyone across the lifespan has the same chance to be healthy and enjoy optimum quality of life.

“These are big issues that have far-reaching implications in terms of creating a supportive environment and policy initiatives to enhance livability for aging residents. One of Sarasota County’s strengths is the community collaborations that are in place to address an array of issues including aging,” says DOH-Sarasota Health Officer Chuck Henry.

To address the needs of the county’s aging population, DOH-Sarasota has teamed up with AARP Florida, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging at the University of South Florida, Sarasota County Government, and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Age-friendly Community designation. Age-Friendly Sarasota is supported by The Patterson Foundation, a fully endowed charitable foundation in Sarasota.

The initial phase of Age-Friendly Sarasota included the assessment of the community’s age-friendly assets and aspirations of residents 50 years of age and older. Nearly 1,200 residents participated in surveys and focus groups that were conducted throughout the county, representing every geographic area by zip code. Initial findings revealed the collective importance of many age-friendly features of community life as well as distinct differences by age groups. Subsequent steps will include the development of a 3-year county-wide plan of action based on assessment findings, monitoring progress of the plan, and reporting to the WHO.

Seminole County Men Take the Challenge!

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On June 4, DOH-Seminole hosted the 2nd Annual William J. Jett Men's Health Challenge at the Sanford Health Office in recognition of Men's Health Month. More than 30 vendors were present to educate attendees about a variety of health topics. Several attendees won giveaways such as a signed Orlando Magic Jersey and a 40-inch television! DOH-Seminole established the Office of Men's Health in 2014 to improve and inspire change in Seminole County men's health outcomes.

DOH-Citrus Encourages Good Health Habits

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The DOH-Citrus County Healthiest Weight Team recognized KoalaTee Academy, after receiving the Let's Move! Recognition. The Let's Move! Initiative help kids build good habits by ensuring the program is a healthy environment for children to learn. Citrus County now has three recognized childcares on the map. The academy received a Fit Kids Kit that included footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, jump ropes and chalk with hopscotch diagram and instructions. Visit DOH Citrus County http://citrus.floridahealth.gov/index.html

Leon County Partners Conduct Community Health Assessment

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DOH-Leon is conducting their 2016 Community Health Assessment with lead partners Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare and The United Way of the Big Bend. The purpose of the assessment is to mobilize residents in setting health priorities and improvement strategies to address them. From start to finish, DOH-Leon is ensuring that the needs of the community are identified.

DOH-Leon, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and 25 community partners initially came together to discuss what this process should look like. Because understanding the community is at the heart of improving public health, all perspectives were important. With this aim, disadvantaged residents were included in a health assessment process that involved them in every step: planning, data collection, evaluation, identification of health issues and community strengths.

Households from specific census blocks then were sampled to complete a survey addressing various health topics, including personal and family health, children’s concerns, mental health, access to care and environmental health. “This is what public health is all about. I’m glad I volunteered to conduct the surveys,” said Krystal Williams, FAMU-IPH Student Intern/Volunteer. The health surveys were recently completed. The next step is to evaluate the results with the community. Five open-community forums will be held in the surveyed neighborhoods to share survey results and discuss health priorities for focused improvement efforts.

If you wish to follow the results, please contact Brandi Knight, Community Health Assessment Coordinator at 850-606-8169 or Brandi.Knight@flhealth.gov

DOH-Marion Launches Community Garden with Local Partners

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When staff from the Florida Department of Health in Marion County (DOH-Marion) were looking at options for increasing the percentage of adults at a healthy weight (a focus of their community health improvement plan), they were struck by the correlation between the lack of access to healthy food and high burdens of chronic disease, unhealthy weight and poverty. They went door-to-door in one such area – West Ocala – to better understand why people could not access healthy food. They discovered that the only sources of food for many were fast food and corner stores. Residents said that they did not have transportation to grocery stores. DOH-Marion staff marshaled their community partners to envision and implement a creative strategy.

“Proposing a community garden in a food desert just made sense,” said Meaghan Crowley, Health Education Program Manager at DOH-Marion. “Particularly when there is strong community interest in creating access to healthy, affordable food. We believed in our idea, but the outpouring of support from community members and partners was overwhelming.”

In the West Ocala neighborhood – the Marion County community with the highest poverty and chronic disease burden – a partner donated land next to a highly visible area near a church and the largest housing project in a tight-knit community. The church and the housing project agreed to promote the community garden to parishioners and residents. As a result of their planning and promotion, over 150 volunteers came the first day. In the first hour, all the beds were taken and by the end of the first day, 14 people were on the waiting list. DOH-Marion staff rethought their three-year plan to build 25 beds per year and instead decided to build 50 beds the first year.

Community partners donated seeds and starter plants, tools, lumber and volunteer hours. Partners include the neighborhood revitalization council, faith-based organizations, police, housing units, the City of Ocala, Ocala Recreation and Parks Department, Marion County Extension Service, Florida Master Gardeners, Marion County Children’s Alliance, Heart of Florida Health Centers and Feed the Need Garden. Organizations donating materials and volunteer hours included Home Depot, Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, Sparr Building and Farm Supply and Belleview Contracting Corp.

DOH-Marion staff realized that to fully leverage the benefit of the community gardens they and their partners needed to plan for sustainability and provide workshops about gardening and composting, cooking healthy meals, and general health and wellness. They are currently exploring options to expand community gardens to other parts of the county.

Community gardens are an evidence-based strategy to provide healthy food to residents and much more: they promote physical activity, engage the community, and educate residents about benefits of increasing fruits and vegetables in their diets and about healthy cooking, all of which ultimately promotes healthy weight.

For more information on the project, contact Meaghan Crowley at Meaghan.Crowley@flhealth.gov or the West Ocala Wellness Community Garden Facebook page.

Gulf and Franklin Counties Tackling Childhood Obesity

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (267)

In the past thirty years, the number of children at an unhealthy weight has doubled in the US while the prevalence among adolescents has quadrupled. Unhealthy weight in children increases the likelihood of unhealthy weight in adulthood. This can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.

The Department of Health in Gulf and Franklin Counties (DOH-Gulf/Franklin) is tackling this challenge through the Early Childcare Education project. Community health improvement partners proposed this directive and it is part of the DOH-Gulf/Franklin Healthiest Weight Florida work plan. Partners include local Head Start programs, Healthy Families, Healthy Start, Closing the Gap, and school representatives.

"When we started, we didn’t know how much was already being done by our licensed childcare facilities in response to unhealthy weight in children," says Sarah Hinds, DOH- Gulf/Franklin Operations Manager and Management Consultant. "The Early Childcare Education subcommittee members are committed to helping these providers receive recognition for their great work."

Let’s Move! Child Care (LMCC) encourages and supports child care and early education providers to make positive changes in their programs in order to work toward a healthier future for children. LMCC offers resources and tools to assist child care and preschool providers help children make healthy choices. Best practices are outlined in five healthy goal areas: nurturing healthy eaters, providing healthy beverages, increasing physical activity, limiting screen time and supporting breastfeeding.

Collaborating with community partners and residents, DOH-Gulf/Franklin holds monthly community health improvement partner meetings. Addressing overweight and obesity statistics among youth is a priority for both counties. A special subcommittee is tracking progress and during the month of February they met with each licensed organization to complete the registration process.

DOH-Gulf/Franklin is listening to their community and taking action on this important community health issue. By engaging with community partners and residents, DOH-Gulf/Franklin is building the capacity for long-term prevention.

September is Take a Loved One to the Doctor Month

September is Take a Loved One to the Doctor Month

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (268) The Office of Minority Health is urging all Floridians to take charge of their health and encourage their loved ones to seek healthcare in honor of Take a Loved One to the Doctor. Initially launched by Tom Joyner and the US Department of Health & Human Services, this campaign specifically aims to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations as well as the elderly, underserved and underrepresented communities. The Department urges all Floridians to focus on prevention and early detection.

Take a Loved One to the Doctor Month stresses the importance of getting regular checkups from healthcare professional to aid in the elimination of healthcare disparities. Minorities suffer disproportionately from cancer, stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and infant mortality.

During the month of September we want to highlight the importance of working together to protect our loved ones from these and other disparities in healthcare. This campaign is an annual initiative to remind all Floridians to take charge of their health by visiting a health professional (a doctor, a nurse, a dentist, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant or another health provider). The focus of the campaign is to encourage individuals to make an appointment to see a physician, attend a health event in the community, or help a friend, neighbor or family member do the same in the month of September or the months ahead.

Healthiest Weight Initiative Launches in Florida

Healthiest Weight Initiative Launches in Florida

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (269) Why is healthy weight a priority for the Department of Health?

As we survey the health landscape, we see the #1 public health threat that challenges the bright future of Florida: weight. Currently, only 35% of Floridians are at healthy weight. One quarter are obese, and the rest are overweight. On our current trend, by 2030, almost 60% will be obese.

The costs of care for chronic diseases from obesity alone—diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and arthritis—are unsustainable, estimated to be $34B over the next 17 years.

Over the next 20 years in Florida, obesity could contribute to: 2,442,415 new cases of type 2 diabetes, 6,188,174 new cases of heart disease and stroke, 5,261,978 new cases of hypertension, 3,266,082 new cases of arthritis, and 869,214 new cases of obesity-related cancer.

What is involved with Healthiest Weight Florida ?

Healthiest Weight Florida was launched in Orlando at the State Surgeon General's Symposium on Healthiest Weight in January 2013. A summary video of the event is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA5EaGCHTzI . Through the initiative, the Department of Health is building collaborations and providing assistance to counties, community groups and other partners to implement programs that focus on:

  • Increasing the initiation, duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding.
  • Promoting improved nutrition and physical activity in early care and education.
  • Ensuring that all foods and beverages served and sold in schools meet or exceed the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Increasing the physical activity for students during the school day and after school programs.
  • Increasing access to high-quality, affordable foods in communities.
  • Increasing physical activity by improving the built environment in communities.
  • Promoting health professional awareness and counseling of patient body mass index (BMI).

By bending the projected BMI (Body Mass Index) curve by just 5% from the current trajectory, hundreds of thousands of new cases of chronic disease can be prevented while saving millions in healthcare costs.

Additional Resources

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Report: Bending the Obesity Cost Curve in Florida (PDF)

Institute of Medicine Report: Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention

National Men's Health Week

National Men's Health Week

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (270) National Men's Health Week is celebrated each year the week leading up to and including Father's Day, which is June 10-16, 2013. During this week, individuals, families, communities, and others work to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems, promote healthy living, and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Lead by example. Be smoke-free, prevent injuries, and eat healthy. Find more information at the following resources:

Men's Health at the Mayo Clinic

Men's health at CDC

Use the Change Groupings feature in FloridaCHARTS.com viewer windows to compare health statistics for men and women: All External Causes Deaths

May is Stroke Awareness Month

May is Stroke Awareness Month

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (271)A stroke occurs when either a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. Stroke is a leading causes of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death in Florida. According to the CDC, at least one in every eight stroke survivors will have another stroke within five years. In Florida, non-Hispanic blacks are 2 times more likely than Hispanics to die from a stroke. To learn more about strokes, check out our Stroke factsheet, our DOH Stroke Prevention Program http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/stroke/index.html or the CDC Stroke website http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/

April is Sexually Transmitted Infection Awareness Month

April is Sexually Transmitted Infection Awareness Month

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (272)Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), are infections that are passed from person to person through intimate sexual contact. These infections include Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and many others. In 2011 there were nearly 100,000 cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis were reported (99,868) in Florida. To find out more about STIs, visit the Florida Department of Health or the CDC.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (273)A Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Although the exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown, risk factors include age, personal history, family history, diet, exercise, and smoking. A healthy life style and regular screening are the keys to reducing this common cancer.

In Florida and the U.S., colorectal cancer incidence has been declining. In 2001, Florida incidence rates dipped below those of the U.S. Screening rates have been increasing but are still much lower than other cancers that are detected by screening, e.g., breast and cervical. Since 2002, Floridians have had a slightly higher rate of sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy screening in their lifetime than the U.S. average. In 2010, 60-70% of those aged 50 and older, regardless of race or ethnicity, have had a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in their lifetime.

Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions Data Now Available

Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions Data Now Available

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (274)Ambulatory Care Sensitive conditions such as asthma, diabetes or dehydration are hospitalization conditions where timely and effective ambulatory care can decrease hospitalizations by preventing the onset of an illness or condition, controlling an acute episode of an illness or managing a chronic disease or condition. High rates of Ambulatory Care Sensitive hospitalizations in a community may be an indicator of a lack of or failure of prevention efforts, a primary care resource shortage, poor performance of primary health care delivery systems, or other factors that create barriers to obtaining timely and effective care. Data for these conditions is now available on FLHealthCHARTS . More Information

How Healthy Is Your Heart?

How Healthy Is Your Heart?

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (275)Coronary heart disease (CHD) is caused by hardening of the arteries, the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CHD is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death in Florida (view our CHD Health Brief and CHD mortality data). Many risk factors are attributable to CHD. Preventable risk factors include diabetes, substance abuse, overweight and obesity, inactivity, and narrowed arteries in other parts of the body. Non-preventable risk factors include aging, genetics, race, and biological sex. While men are more likely to develop CHD, the risk among post-menopausal women is similar to that of men.

It's Flu Season!

It's Flu Season!

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (276) One of the best ways to keep from getting the flu is by getting a yearly influenza vaccination. Vaccination is especially important in adults age 65 and older because of their increased risk of severe illness. Overall, in 2010, only 65.5% of Floridians 65+ had received their flu shot in the past year. White Floridians and those who had a college degree were more likely than their counterparts to have received their flu shot.

For more information on Florida's flu vaccination trends and statistics, click here. The Florida Department of Health issued a press release earlier this month encouraging Floridians to get their flu vaccinations and offering preventative steps to take against the flu. For more information on how to protect yourself from influenza, please visit the CDC seasonal influenza webpage .

Palm Beach County Community Health Assessment

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (277)In 2012, the Palm Beach County Health Department engaged the Health Council of Southeast Florida to facilitate a comprehensive, county-wide health assessment. Participants included a cross section of health and human service organizations, community leaders and stakeholders who came together around the commitment to improve services. The assessment gave them the opportunity to assess the population's health status, highlight areas of unmet need, present the community's perspectives, provide suggestions for possible interventions, highlight recommendations that policymakers might consider when setting new policy goals and objectives for health improvement activities and fulfill a prerequisite towards public health accreditation. The assessment report is available online. http://www.pbchd.com/community-health-assessment/. The data and information in the CHA was used to develop a Community Health Improvement Plan (again facilitated by the Health Council), and the community team is moving forward by developing action plans and engaging with other groups in the community. A brief video is also available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3alvhCZH3PA&feature=youtu.be

Population Estimates on FLHealthCHARTS

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (278)The population data for 2001-2010, along with rates affected by the population data, has been updated on FLHealthCHARTS. Following a census, it is customary to revise population projections for the intercensal years based on information from the latest census. Revising the population data from what was predicted to actual estimates ensures accurate accounting of the racial, ethnic, and gender distribution of the population. These changes affect the population data and rates calculated for your community.


2012: State of Hispanic Health in Duval County

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (279) Members of the Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council for the Duval County Health Department came to realize that they needed more detailed information on a rapidly growing Hispanic population in order to understand and address their unique health needs. Duval County's Hispanic population more than doubled from 2000 to 2010, and is about 8% of the population of Duval County and the county's second largest minority group. The Advisory Council turned to FLHealthCHARTS and other data sources and their exploration ultimately led to the release of the inaugural report: 2012: State of Hispanic Health in Duval County.

The report has galvanized the community. After the well-attended release event in June, the Advisory Council members formed subcommittees based on the findings. Each subcommittee will create an action plan based on available community resources with an eye toward bringing more local groups and organizations to the table. Seeing the actual data was “eye-opening” for many, said Advisory Council Chair Annie Rodriquez, and allowed them to “begin the conversation” about how to meet the health needs of Hispanics in Duval. Rodriquez pointed out that addressing health disparities is cost effective and ultimately “benefits everyone's health.”

State Health Improvement Plan

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (280) Under the leadership of the state Surgeon General, a diverse group of partners in Florida who have an interest in and impact on improving the health of the state's residents and visitors were tasked to create a blueprint for action. Their work, culminating in this State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP), identifies high-impact strategic issues and desired health and public health system outcomes to be achieved by 2015. The SHIP reflects a commitment of partners and stakeholders to collaborate in addressing shared issues in a systematic and accountable way.

Florida's State Health Assessment


FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (281)Florida and its health partners have conducted a comprehensive health assessment. Culminating in the State Health Assessment, a comprehensive perspective of Florida's health status, resources, strengths and opportunities for improvement is presented. This document, the first of its kind in our state. Subject matter experts from across a diverse group of partners conducted the four types of assessments found in the report. Individually, each assessment yields an in-depth analysis of factors and forces that impact population health. The four assessments taken together contribute to a comprehensive view of health and quality of life in Florida and constitute Florida's State Health Assessment report. Because it provides essential information for discussion, prioritization and action, a state health assessment process is the foundation for improving and promoting the health of Florida's residents.

Indian River Community Health Assessment

Indian River Community Health Assessment

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (282)In May of 2012, the Indian River County Health Department released a community health assessment, a systematic way of collecting and analyzing data to understand the health of a community. The health department contracted with the Health Council of Southeast Florida to conduct the assessment. The assessment covers the demographic and socioeconomic profile of residents, a health status profile, health resource access and availability profile, a community perspective, and key issues and recommendations. After the release of the community health assessment, a Community Health Advisory Council, whose members represent 31 diverse groups, including health care, social services and other sectors of the community, reviewed the Community Health Assessment along with an Environmental Health Assessment, prioritized the issues raised, identified the root causes and created an improvement plan to address the priorities.

According to Miranda Hawker, administrator of Indian River Health Department, "We were fortunate to have a diverse group of community stakeholders that were dedicated throughout the entire process and provided excellent guidance and input. We are in the process of finalizing our plan at this time, and look forward to implementation."

The assessment report is available online at http://www.myirchd.com/IRCNeedsAssessment.pdf

Monroe County Health Status Assessment

Monroe County Health Status Assessment

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (283)In The Monroe County Health Department released its Health Status Assessment and Profile Report in 2012. The assessment indicates that the overall health of Monroe County's residents is good in spite of its rural isolation, low ratio of service providers, and high risk behavior patterns. According to Administrator Bob Eadie, the assessment has helped the community better understand its health issues. "We know that our county was an epicenter during the AIDS epidemic, but now see HIV infected people living with AIDS productively, rather than dying of AIDS regularly." Eadie added that the assessment has pointed county partners to looking more closely at the social determinants of health, such as social instability and high risk behaviors, and helped them focus on improving screening rates for the top four killers: lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.

According to Eadie, "Moving forward, we will use the findings of this assessment to highlight the relationship between health status and the determinants of health, unite communities around issues, and motivate leaders to address those issues."

The assessment covers population characteristics, quality of life, health care resources, socio-economics and socio-demographics, injuries, violence and community safety, mortality and morbidity (chronic diseases and reportable and infectious diseases), infants, children and youth, and senior health.

The report is available online at: Click Here

Marion County Partners with United Way to Implement Community Health Improvement Plan

Marion County Partners with United Way to Implement Community Health Improvement Plan

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (284) The Marion County Community Health Improvement Plan Steering Committee, representing a diverse team of stakeholders from 12 health and other community organizations, recently completed the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and presented it to a small audience of community leaders. The plan sets goals to improve the health of Marion County residents and identifies strategies and specific objectives to help reach those goals. The team discovered that social determinants of health appeared to be the root causes for most of Marion County's negative health outcomes.

Because the CHIP addresses the issues that the United Way of Marion County is also focusing on, the United Way leadership has adopted the CHIP and has committed to take the lead in implementing it. United Way leaders presented the plan to the Education, Health and Finance Councils of the United Way and the plan was the major focus of the United Way Annual Meeting in March.

Such community collaboration is the cornerstone of effective health improvement planning. According to Dr. Nathan Grossman, Marion County Health Department director, “This isn't just a Health Department project. No single organization owns this — the entire community owns this. Transforming the health of the residents of Marion County will happen as the entire community realizes that health is more than just health care.”

The Florida Department of Health in Marion County is working with the United Way's councils to develop specific activities for the coming year.

The Marion County CHIP is available online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/chdMarion/adobe_files/chip.pdf.

Big Bend Better Living Collaborates to Improve Health in the Florida Panhandle

Big Bend Better Living Collaborates to Improve Health in the Florida Panhandle

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (285) Big Bend Better Living is a regional healthy eating, active living campaign formed out of a collaboration between eight North Florida County Health Departments: Gulf, Franklin, Wakulla, Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson, Madison, and Taylor. As staff from each county health department developed their community health assessments, they discovered similarities regarding obesity-related illness and lack of exercise and healthy eating. They realized that if they collaborated to educate the populations they serve about these health issues they would be more efficient and effective. This led to the development of the website bigbendbetterliving.org, public service announcements, and educational brochures and posters for community outreach.

One particularly innovative way the collaborative chose to educate their residents about the most important health issues and trends was to develop a short and accessible brochure for each county to be passed out to residents (go to http://www.bigbendbetterliving.org/_pdfs/profiles/Madison%20County.pdf for an example of the Madison CHD brochure).

In Madison and Jefferson counties, CHD staff and their partners realized that using Big Bend Better Living resources to educate people about preventing chronic disease raised the health department's visibility and strengthened their position as catalysts for change. While they distributed the materials at youth lock-ins, faith-based health events, farmers markets and music festivals, they established connections and built partnerships with people and organizations working towards similar goals.

According to Kimberly Allbritton, Interim Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Jefferson and Madison counties, "It just made financial sense to pool our resources because all the CHDs in the big bend area serve populations with similar health problems and we were all interested in education and establishing relationships that could sustain our work. The next step for Madison and Jefferson CHDs will be focusing on encouraging healthy behaviors in our youth population."

Community Group Focuses on Obesity

Community Group Focuses on Obesity

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (286)
Photo from a free monthly fitness event in a local park in Polk County

When members of Polk Vision—a broad, community-led partnership of organizations, businesses, government and individuals—reviewed the Florida Department of Health Polk County's report of findings on their community health assessment (much of it based on FLHealthCHARTS data), they realized that obesity contributes to the chronic diseases that are the major causes of death and preventable hospital stays for residents in their county.

As a result, Building a Healthier Polk—a diverse group of community partners brought together by Polk Vision—was created with the goal of reducing obesity to improve health in their community. The effort began with a community forum with over 70 community stakeholders where they set the goal of reducing the obesity rate in Polk County to less than the state average (from 37.6% to 27.2%). They formed workgroups around each of six strategic areas: school based, neighborhood/community based, primary care physicians, worksite based, higher education, and communication.

Since then, workgroup members have been busy gaining more community enthusiasm and support, gathering more data, partnering with new agencies, and implementing the strategies in their health improvement plan. They had a quick victory in gaining resolutions or proclamations from the Board of County Commissioners, the Polk County School Board and the two largest cities in Polk in support of the Initiative. They are currently surveying primary care providers, employers and institutions of higher education to gather more baseline data. Each group meets monthly to work on action plans and discuss progress.

"There are already a lot of great things happening in Polk County to address obesity. We are working to highlight what is already happening, and to create and promote new opportunities in the community" says Sara Roberts, Executive Director of Polk Vision, Inc.

The Building a Healthier Polk plan is available online at http://www.mypolkhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/PolkCHIP2012.pdf

Osceola County Community Health Assessment

Osceola County Community Health Assessment

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (287)

From 2010 through 2012, the Osceola Health Leadership Council led the development of a comprehensive, county-wide community health assessment. Over 75 health care professionals, government leaders, non-profit leaders, service providers, business owners, faith-based organizations, grass-roots leaders, and citizens of Osceola County came together at the Osceola Summit on Health in 2010 and 2011 to contribute to the community health assessment process, a process designed to systematically collect, analyze and use data to identify priority areas for health improvement efforts. They looked at health data from a variety of sources, including Florida CHARTS and the results of opinion surveys conducted door-to-door and at various health fairs and community events.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Osceola County Administrator Belinda Johnson-Cornett, the community health assessment is the foundation for improving community health. “We needed to understand what the health problems were in the community, why they existed, the social, economic and cultural contexts that produced them, and what resources we had before we could move on to addressing them.” Staff at the Florida Department of Health, Osceola County have participated in three iterations of a community-led health assessment and planning process. As the health conditions in the community change, the health system partners need to be able to revise their strategies to address them. Based on this community health assessment process, the Osceola Health Leadership Council identified four overarching priorities for health improvement: maximize resources and engage community partners in developing solutions; improve the delivery and quality of healthcare using evidence-based best practices; increase access to a primary care medical home; and reduce diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses.

The Council is currently in the process of finalizing their community health improvement plan, a companion document that identifies the specific measures and performance targets for these four strategic objectives which will be addressed over the next three years.

The 2012 Community Health Assessment can be found here: http://www.osceolahealth.org/Osceola_CHA%20_2012.pdf

Bay County Releases Community Health Improvement Plan

Bay County Releases Community Health Improvement Plan

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (288)
From left to right, seated - Julia Ruschmann, Carmen Bailey, RN, standing, Douglas Kent, Administrator FDOH in Bay Co., Bill Dozier, Bay County Commissioner, and Pam Dorwarth, Board of Director member with the Community Health Task Force at "Know Your Numbers," a community-wide diabetes risk screening event held on April 5, 2013.

The Bay County Community Health Task Force (CHTF), a group of 40 community partners, recently released the Bay County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The 2012 CHIP serves to guide Bay County health partners as they work together to address local health priorities.

According to Lisa Rahn, Healthy Bay Coordinator, "We are very proud of the progress we've made since our CHIP was established a year ago, and the momentum is growing!"

The CHTF first collected data on residents' health issues by looking at health outcome data and surveying residents about the health issues that are of most concern to them. They established three health priorities: obesity and diabetes (aka Diabesity), access to healthcare, and healthy lifestyles education. For each priority issue, CHTF members established an action plan that includes a goal, objectives, strategies, key activities, lead roles, target dates, and evaluation measures.

CHTF members established a CHIP action team for each of the three priority areas. Diabesity Action Team members have conducted 9 community diabetes risk screening events. A total of 1,493 Bay County residents have been screened with 168 (11.25%) found at risk for prediabetes or diabetes. Sixty-seven community members have participated in the first four National Diabetes Prevention Program classes, and 195 people have attended free diabetes self-management education classes.

The Bay County Health Education Action Team (BayHEAT) has partnered with several non-profit organizations on community events. To date, they have provided information on healthy food choices, handed out dental kits and activity trackers, and planted organic pumpkins in recycled newspaper flowerpots with over 1,400 community members.

Members of the Access to Health Care Action Team (A2HC) have been researching single point of entry systems to enable easier access to community resources. In addition, they are spearheading an effort to bring 2-1-1 service (a toll-free, 24/7, health and human service resource line) to Bay and surrounding counties for the first time.

Next steps include reporting on the first year progress towards meeting the goals laid out in the CHIP to the community. This will start with a four-page newspaper insert in September 2013.

To view Bay county's CHIP, visit http://www.baycountyhealth.org/Documents/CHIPFullwithalignment.pdf

Hillsborough County Residents Tackle Obesity Problem

Hillsborough County Residents Tackle Obesity Problem

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (289)
From left: Leslene Gordon, Ken Hagen (Chair County Commission), Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Armando Sanchez, Douglas Holt, Cindy Hardy, Walter Niles at the obesity summit.

Obesity rates have skyrocketed in the last 10 years, with obesity being a major factor in the diseases that affect many of our residents. The rate at which it is affecting children is also creating chronic disease conditions which previously were rarely seen in children.

The residents of Hillsborough decided to do something about it. In February of this year, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County hosted a one-day event to examine how, working together, our community could accelerate progress in reducing the weight of residents of Hillsborough County using the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report on accelerating progress in obesity prevention as a guiding standard. Partners, community organizations and business representatives, local governments and schools worked together to propose specific actions that can be taken to accelerate progress in reducing overweight and obesity rates in Hillsborough County. As noted by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn who spoke at the event, "we need to make the case that this community needs to be healthier." Kenneth Hagan chair of the Hillsborough County Commission also highlighted that obesity was, the "most significant healthcare challenge we face at this time."

The challenges were organized into five areas. The guiding questions for the five areas were: How can we transform messages about physical activity and nutrition?; What can we do to make schools a focal point for obesity prevention?; How can we make physical activity an integral and routine part of life?; How do we create environments that ensure that healthy food and beverage options are the routine, easy choice?; and, Where can we expand the role of healthcare providers, insurers, and employers in obesity prevention?.

Following the summit, Hillsborough County's Partners in Obesity Prevention (POP), was tasked with creating interventions related to the broad actions proposed by summit participants. POP is a coalition of individuals from a wide variety of disciplines and organizations. The coalition was formed a as a result of a community health assessment that identified obesity as a priority in Hillsborough county.

POP will continue to focus their attention in the five areas or environments identified by the IOM report. These include physical activity, food and beverage, healthcare and work, school and message environments.

To see Hillsborough's Community Health Assessment, visit here: http://www.hillscountyhealth.org/pdf/HCHD_2010-2011_Community_Health_Profile_Report.pdf

Community Led Health Improvement Plan in Lafayette

Community Led Health Improvement Plan in Lafayette

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (290)

In August of this year, Pam Blackmon, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Lafayette County, presented an overview of the county's health improvement plan to the county commissioners and also outlined a vision of community involvement and buy-in.

The county's health improvement plan was the result of an evidence-based and community-led process. "We have a mighty group of community partners that are working on improving the health of Lafayette County," Blackmon said. "I think what's important to remember about the improvement plan is that it's not the health department's plan, it's the community's plan."

It started with the formation of the Lafayette Health Improvement Partnership (LHIP), comprising more than 30 community partners, which wanted to carefully look at health statistics and gather community input before deciding what issues to prioritize. The health assessment they conducted takes into account health indicators as well as health behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use and sexual activity, as well as educational and income levels. Once the assessment was completed, the group began work on an improvement plan.

The LHIP members used the data in the assessment to identify three health priorities for the next three to four years: maintaining the community health improvement partnership; improving health care access for underserved populations, through increasing transportation options and decreasing culture and language barriers; and decreasing chronic disease morbidity and mortality, through increasing physical activities and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Health improvement in Lafayette does not stop with the plan. In order to keep the momentum going, LHIP members meet quarterly to assess the status of the activities and strategies to ensure the partnership stays on target. According to Blackmon, "Community Health Partnerships, now more than ever, are necessary in order to meet the health needs of the community and ensure the best health outcomes. We are blessed in Lafayette County to have a caring and committed partnership."

To view Lafayette’s community health assessment and improvement plan, go to: http://doh.state.fl.us/chdlafayette/community.html

Lee County Uses Residents' Concerns to Tackle Environmental Health Issues

Lee County Uses Residents' Concerns to Tackle Environmental Health Issues

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Staff from the Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH- Lee) wanted to use the momentum they established working with community partners on a Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) process to address the environmental health issues faced by some of the most disadvantaged in their county. They turned to the methodology called Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH), which allowed them to collaborate with residents, local government, and other stakeholders to improve the environment in health enhancing ways. According to Geordie Smith, Environmental Manager at DOH-Lee, "environmental health is protected and improved most effectively when it is defined, understood, and acted upon locally."

Members of the DOH-Lee Community Environmental Health Assessment team (the team) chose the Pine Manor community—one of five designated "blighted" communities by the Lee County Board of County Commissioners—for their first PACE EH project because it had the greatest need. Because the team wanted to engage residents in identifying and addressing environmental health priorities, they used a community survey to find out residents’ issues. The top ten issues identified from that survey were: drug trafficking (59%); lack of jobs (41%); violent crime (41%); abandoned houses (36%); speeding (34%); sexual predators (32%); trash/littering (31%); prostitution (29%); poor street lighting at night (28%); and domestic violence (25%). The team is now developing action plans to address these issues.

Already, this community-led effort has made a difference to Pine Manor residents. Some of the impressive accomplishments to date are improvements to neighborhood street lighting; increased resident participation in community activities; revitalization of the Neighborhood Watch program; completion of a culinary arts Teaching Kitchen; beginning construction of a Community Garden; conducting the first two Teaching Kitchen Classes/Programs; and grants of $6,200 and $41,258 for the Teaching Kitchen and Community Garden. According to Geordie, the most important accomplishment is "residents' increasing pride about their community and engagement with each other in improving it."

For more information, please contact the FDOH-Lee PACE EH Coordinator, Geordie Smith at: Geordie.Smith@flhealth.gov.

Webinar about the project

PowerPoint slides

Final Report

Capital Coalition for Health: Forging Strong Partnerships to Promote Healthy Living

Capital Coalition for Health: Forging Strong Partnerships to Promote Healthy Living

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Partnership leaders announce the dental sealant program for 2nd graders at an October news conference

In the spring of 2011, The Florida Department of Health in Leon County initiated a county‐wide, community health assessment involving over 30 community partners. The group of partners, called The Capital Coalition for Health (the Coalition), identified three strategic health issues: obesity and chronic disease, health disparities, and access to health. Partners envisioned Leon County communities as ones in which the healthy choice is the easy choice; residents can live, work, and play in a safe and healthy environment; and every resident has access to affordable and equitable health care. Since then, The Coalition’s vision is coming to life through a blend of shared resources, regular communication and unwavering commitment to the shared goals outlined in their community health improvement plan.

Recognizing low-income residents’ dire need for access to dental health care, Coalition partners focused on children in lower-income schools. The Tallahassee Democrat recently highlighted the partnership and plans by Leon County Schools, Whole Child Leon and the Florida Department of Health in Leon County (pictured) to serve the entire Leon County second-grade population with sealants.

“The sealant program is an excellent example of how our community partners came together to look at the issues we feel are important to our community’s overall health, and then to take action toward addressing those issues,” said Holly Kirsch, Administrator, Florida Department of Health in Leon County. Participants used the assessment to identify another important community health issue: low birth weight rate in Leon County is higher than the rate in Florida overall and the disparity by race is substantial, with more than twice as many Black infants born with low birth weight (14.1%) as White infants (6.0%). Leon County and Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition (CAHSC), through its Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) project, identified poor preconception health as a contributing factor to infant mortality and prematurity. The groups are working together to increase the awareness among healthcare professionals of the importance of talking to families about making healthy choices even before pregnancy.

Coalition partners have planned a Preconception Health Conference for Saturday January 25, at the FSU College of Medicine. Physicians and other medical experts will share their experiences and encourage healthcare providers to use primary care visits to educate women about how their health might impact future pregnancies. View the agenda here. For more information, or to register, please contact Brittany Myers at bymers@srahec.org , or 386-462-1551, x. 105.

Okaloosa County Implements 2-1-1 Service for Area Residents

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Beginning in 2011 the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County (DOH-Okaloosa) in partnership with over 40 community agencies began Mobilizing for a Healthier Okaloosa. Participants identified three priority areas for the Okaloosa County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP): Nutrition and Physical Activity (NAPA), Tobacco Cessation, and Access to Care.

Since their inception, the three CHIP work groups have been hard at work implementing action plans that reflect the needs of their community. Over the past year, the access to care work group identified a need for increased health and human services resource referrals. The group decided that working to fully implement 2-1-1 would offer Okaloosa County access to the information and referral services that it needs. By working with Northwest Florida 2-1-1 and the United Way of Okaloosa & Walton Counties, we are excited to say that Okaloosa County now has a fully functioning 2-1-1 service for our residents!

The CHIP tobacco work group identified a goal to reduce tobacco use in Okaloosa County youth. Work group members advocated for a policy change to the Okaloosa County School District’s Tobacco Discipline Policy. Previously, if students were caught using tobacco on school grounds they were suspended. This policy, while well intentioned, kept children out of school and did not help them quit smoking. Through partnerships with the Okaloosa County School District, a new policy was enacted for the 2013-2014 school year that gives students an in-school suspension where they are allowed to complete their school work and they are required to complete a tobacco cessation course before returning to class.

The nutrition and physical activity work group is working to “promote the quality of life of youth and adults through physical activity and nutrition.” With this goal in mind work group members set out to document all of the free and very low cost physical activity opportunities in Okaloosa County and have logged well over a hundred parks and recreation centers that are available to Okaloosa County families. Their ultimate goal is having the interactive data base linked to partners’ websites to provide families with easy access to affordable physical activity information.

In January 2014 all three work groups will reconvene to review any new available data associated with our priority areas and update action plans for the coming year. If you would like more information on Mobilizing for a Healthier Okaloosa and the Okaloosa County CHIP work groups please contact the DOH-Okaloosa Community Health Improvement Coordinator, Katie Cholcher at: Kathrine.Cholcher@flhealth.gov

Pasco Partners Work to Improve Use of Parks

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When partners in the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County’s health improvement coalition reviewed their Community Health Assessment data, they found that chronic disease and obesity rates were rising. Because they wanted to understand the environmental issues that contribute to these pernicious trends, they turned to the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE-EH), a methodology which guides communities in identifying and addressing environmental health priorities.

According to Mike Napier, administrator of the DOH in Pasco County, “We know that when residents use parks and recreational facilities, their physical and mental health improves while chronic diseases and obesity decline. We wanted to understand how residents perceived our parks so that we know how to encourage their use.”

Team members surveyed Pasco County residents on their use of recreational facilities, parks and trails in Pasco County. So far, three major themes have emerged from the survey as barriers to park use: the Florida heat (including concerns about finding water on the trails), the entrance and parking fees, and having limited access. One hundred and sixty residents indicated there were not enough parks and 127 indicated there were not enough trails. Additionally, 75 respondents said the parks, facilities and trails were too far from their homes. Greater than 17% of non-users (29) completing the survey indicated they did not know where the parks are located. When asked what would help increase their use of the parks, 154 respondents said they wanted more interesting activities, such as adult-focused events and sport leagues.

Pasco County hopes to use the results of the PACE-EH assessment, in conjunction with their other assessment findings, to further develop countywide improvement plans to address community health. Recently an intern from a local college took on the project to further analyze the results to help target actions to different geographical regions of the county. “Pasco County has beautiful county parks ideal for being physically active or to enjoy the natural scenery.” said Napier. “Using resident feedback to increase the use of these resources will improve the health of our county.”

Public Health and Non-Profit Hospitals: Collaborating for Improved Pinellas County Community Health

Public Health and Non-Profit Hospitals: Collaborating for Improved Pinellas County Community Health

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Through changes stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), nonprofit hospitals now have the opportunity to direct their community benefit efforts toward public health interventions and collaborate more effectively with county health departments. The ACA requires nonprofit hospitals to complete community-health needs assessments regularly and create a plan on how to meet community needs identified through the assessment. The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County is successfully demonstrating that collaboration with non-profit hospitals improves community health assessment efficiency by allowing both the health department and hospitals to do more with fewer resources.

All of the county’s non-profit hospitals, including BayCare Health System (with 5 hospitals in Pinellas), All Children’s Hospital, and Florida Hospital North Pinellas, and Moffitt Cancer Center in Hillsborough contacted the Health Department for input and public health expertise when conducting their assessments. Aware of the benefits of the hospitals’ new assessment requirements—such as shared ownership and investment for community health—Pinellas enthusiastically shared their assessment results with the hospitals. For example, data from a large survey of community residents completed by DOH-Pinellas were shared with the hospitals and consultants conducting their assessments. This allowed the hospitals to follow up with focus groups of residents and then share the results instead of duplicating efforts with additional surveys.

The Pinellas Community Health Action Team (CHAT), a team of public health system partners led by DOH-Pinellas, includes non-profit hospital partners. CHAT oversees the development and implementation of Pinellas’ community health assessment and community health improvement plan. The most recent community health improvement planning cycle in Pinellas began in 2011, before most hospitals had delved very deeply into their own community needs assessment, resulting in separate assessments for the health department and hospitals. Going forward, DOH-Pinellas hopes to go beyond information sharing with the non-profit hospitals, to fully integrating assessment processes.

Melissa Van Bruggen, from the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, noted that “recent mini-grants from the Florida Department of Health have provided for reliability and sustainability in health department assessment and planning activities—building confidence among partners, including hospitals, for future community health assessment integration.”

In partnership, community non-profit hospitals can draw from public health professionals’ years of experience and expertise in community health assessment and health improvement planning, and public health can in turn draw on hospitals’ participation and resources to strengthen their community-based health improvement efforts. It’s a collaboration that will ultimately benefit the residents of Pinellas. To learn more about CHAT and Community Health Improvement Planning in Pinellas, see http://www.pinellaschat.com/.

Partners Challenge Hendry County Residents to Drop 2,014 in 2014

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As part of Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General’s Healthiest Weight Initiative, the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties came up with a creative idea: the “Healthier Me 2014 Initiative.” This initiative is a “challenge” to folks in the areas of East & West Hendry County and Glades County to lose 2,014 pounds in the year 2014. Team members start with the goal of losing just 7% of their body weight to help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The initiative is not only about losing weight, it will also help participants to:

• Improve health

• Increase physical activity

• Eat more fruits and veggies

• Manage stress

In Hendry County, 72.9% of residents are overweight or obese. Members of the Healthier Hendry-Glades Task Force (Task Force), made up of 36 public health partners and community members, and led by the Department of Health in Hendry County (DOH-Hendry), realized they needed to prioritize reducing the incidence of weight-related health issues in their community health improvement plan. For this priority, the Task Force created the Healthier Me Challenge.

The Task Force members recruited Healthier Me Champions who attend trainings, put up banners, hand out flyers and organize weekly weigh-ins for their teams. To date, there are eleven teams, including various workplaces, a women’s club and the United Way/Salvation Army. Working through the Champions, DOH-Hendry staff can educate teams and create challenges and recognitions that sustain participant motivation. Most impressive is that participants have collectively already lost 1,094 lbs., over half of their goal for the year.

According to Patricia Dobbins, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties, the Healthiest Weight Florida initiative Healthier Me has “energized residents to work toward reasonable goals that will have long term payoffs for their health.” Task Force members are pleased with the results so far, and will set more ambitious goals next year.

Orange County Creating Innovative Partnerships to Tackle High Infant Mortality

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Orange County is challenged with high infant mortality rates and the Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) is working with partners to change it. Though the county experienced a slight dip in the overall infant mortality rate last year, 2013 saw an increase in the rate from 6.9 deaths per 1,000 births to 7.5 deaths. At a stunning rate of 13.5 infant deaths per 1,000 births, Black babies in Orange County experienced nearly a 2 point increase in the rate. DOH-Orange Health Director, Kevin Sherin, MD, MPH, MBA, calls the rates “unacceptable” and is leading the effort to strengthen and create new community partnerships to aggressively lower the infant mortality rate.

Underscoring this effort is the DOH-Orange Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) in which reducing the rate of preterm birth is a primary goal. Preterm birth (delivery before 37 weeks gestation) leads to complications that can ultimately cause an infant’s death. One in five black babies is born preterm in Orange County. There are multiple reasons why a mother may deliver early, but increasing evidence connects social determinants of health to preterm births. As a result, DOH-Orange has created partnerships to explore the impact of poverty, domestic violence, racial injustice, and other social determinants on preterm births.

Last year, DOH-Orange and the Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County developed a multi-sector team that applied for acceptance into the prestigious CityMatCH Institute for Equity in Birth Outcomes (EI). Team Co-leaders, Ericka Burroughs-Girardi, the Health Equity Coordinator at DOH-Orange, and Linda Sutherland, the Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition, were grateful when the team’s application was accepted. The EI is providing technical assistance to help the team develop two interventions to address the root causes of infant mortality in Orange County. “Creating this team required us to reach out to nontraditional stakeholders and create innovative partnerships,” says Burroughs-Girardi.

One such partnership is with the University of Central Florida’s Marriage Research and Family Institute (MFRI). While the MFRI had never been involved in infant mortality prevention efforts in the past, their director, psychologist Andrew Daire, quickly saw the connection between the MFRI’s work, helping couples develop effective communication skills, manage stress, and avoid domestic violence, and preventing infant deaths. The MFRI is consulting the team in creating an intervention aimed at reducing maternal stress while increasing fatherly support. Another new partnership that has evolved is with Bithlo-based United Global Outreach, Inc. (UGO). This community-based organization is emerging as a leader in transforming impoverished neighborhoods into healthy, thriving neighborhoods. UGO is consulting the team in working effectively with disenfranchised populations. For more information about DOH-Orange’s infant mortality reduction efforts, contact Ericka Burroughs-Girardi at (407) 858-1400 x 1217.

Sarasota County Creating Community-Driven Workplace Wellness Program

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Small businesses typically do not qualify for wellness programs through their insurance carriers. Since small businesses represent the majority of business in Sarasota Country this equates to a large number of employees who would never witness a wellness program at their worksites. To address the need for worksite wellness programs at low or no-cost, Healthy Sarasota County (HSC), a partnership of public and private entities, worked for two years to craft HSC Workplaces. The partnership included the county’s largest public employers such as Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sarasota County Government, Sarasota County Schools, and Tidewell Hospice, all coming together to make a difference. HSC Workplaces is a free program that provides local businesses with assistance in launching a workplace wellness program and recognizes forward-thinking businesses already doing great things in addressing employee health and wellness.

“We are pleased to promote the Healthy Sarasota County Workplaces Initiative and to provide guidance and recognition to our business partners in the community. We are also enjoying the benefits we see in our own workplace as evidenced by strong staff engagement throughout our organization,” said DOH Sarasota County Director, Chuck Henry.

The goals of HSC Workplaces are to promote peer-to-peer business mentoring in Sarasota County; to provide free training to businesses on employee wellness; to provide cost-effective health and wellness education programs; to encourage sustained and replicable workplace health activities; and to lower costs and increase productivity by addressing chronic disease prevention. For the individual employees, the program will address key areas in chronic disease prevention, raise awareness of how to sustain good health, and encourage positive lifestyle changes to become healthier.

Ten businesses, representing approximately 1300 employees, completed HSC Workplaces 2015. The worksite wellness program assisted them creating policy and organizational change to encourage healthy lifestyles in their employees. All ten 2015 designees have reached targets in seven high impact areas, which include Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Stress Reduction, Tobacco Cessation, Illness Prevention, Support For Breastfeeding, and Drug Free Workplaces. The HSC Workplaces Summit 2014 recognized their successes and invited additional Sarasota County businesses to enroll for the 2016 program cycle. The goal is to have at least ten additional businesses enroll for 2016.

Duval County Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program

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Funded through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC), the Duval County Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program has been in operation for 24 years. According to DOH-Duval Director Dr. Kelli Wells, “Research has shown that breastfeeding enhances brain development and learning readiness and children who were breastfed are less likely to have diabetes, childhood cancers , and be overweight as adults. The Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program is an important initiative in our county to support mothers and babies during this key developmental period.” Thousands of women have worked with peer counselors over the years and as of May 2014, 4,780 pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and infants were receiving breastfeeding services from the Duval County program. Since 2009, the Peer Counselor program has increased the breastfeeding initiation rate by 12.3%. Currently, 79% of mothers enrolled in WIC are initiating breastfeeding.

One example of the amazing work of the Peer Counselors is the story of “Baby T”, who was born at only 28 weeks gestation and weighing just 2 lbs. 8 oz. While still in the NICU, Baby T developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening condition where the lining of the intestines becomes inflamed and can no longer function. Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of this disease and breastfeeding after the development of this serious condition is recommended because breast milk is easily digested, supports the growth of good bacteria in the gut, and boosts the baby’s immunity.

The mother of baby T. was referred to the Peer Counseling Program and through the assistance of a lactation consultant was able to express breast milk for her baby. The program provided an electric hospital grade breast pump for her to use at home. Baby T. had surgery to repair the intestine and, with the help of mother’s breastmilk, is doing well. The mother of baby T. attends the breastfeeding support groups held by the Peer Counselors and shares her story with other mothers. Baby T. is now 7 months of age and exclusively breastfed. This was a team effort of care coordination between the hospital NICU, mom and Baby T, Ms. Holder, peer counselors and the breastfeeding support group members.

The Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program supports these mothers and infants through a partnership with UF Health (formerly Shands Hospital), physicians and nurses. Involved staff use follow up calls, the breastfeeding “warmline,” the breastfeeding pump program, monthly breastfeeding support groups and one-to-one consults in person or by phone to help women initiate and sustain breastfeeding. DOH-Duval Director Dr. Wells says that the goals of the program are to continue to increase breastfeeding initiation rates and improve the capacity of the community to support breastfeeding mothers.

FDOH-Martin and Martin County Schools are Fighting Tooth Decay and Saving Smiles

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The Florida Department of Health in Martin County is working to increase preventive dental services through the 2014-2015 School Based Sealant Project. As part of this pilot program, hundreds of students in Martin County Title I schools are smiling brighter. The School Based Sealant Project was launched in October 2014 and has provided close to 500 students with dental sealants. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surface of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay.

"We are delighted to offer this program to Martin County school children," said Karlette Peck, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County. "This pilot program is providing dental sealants to second, third, and fifth grade students who otherwise may not receive them." With parental consent, a dental hygienist with the Florida Department of Health in Martin County works within the schools to provide oral exams and apply the sealants. The sealants are place on the chewing surfaces of the teeth and act as a barrier for cavities. The children are also provided with a take home kit with helpful tools for keeping their teeth healthy. These kits include a new tooth brush, dental floss, toothpaste, and a countdown timer for effective tooth-brushing.

Starting good oral health early is one key to a long healthy life. According to FLHealthCHARTS, as of 2010, 53.3% of adults in Martin County reported that they have had a permanent tooth removed because of tooth decay or gum disease. Regular dental check-ups are essential milestones for a lifetime of oral health. Other keys to good oral health include seeing a dentist regularly, limiting sugar and brushing and flossing teeth at least twice daily.

The pilot program, funded by a state grant, is expected to continue to provide services through May of 2015.

For more information about the Florida Department of Health in Martin County School Based Sealant Project, please contact Renay Rouse @ 772-631-6008 or at Renay.Rouse@flhealth.gov.

Polk Vision Launches 5-2-1-0

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Polk Vision, a group of community partners working towards the goal of reducing the obesity rate in Polk County, launched a Building a Healthier Polk initiative. Dr. Ulyee Choe, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County, led local pediatricians and physicians in a ceremony prescribing healthier, active living to Polk residents through the 5-2-1-0 Initiative. Physicians from Lakeland Regional Health, Lakeside Pediatrics and Watson Clinic joined Dr. Choe in signing sample prescriptions for the community.

"The 5-2-1-0 Initiative is an excellent way for Polk residents to create healthy habits that grow into healthy lifestyles. From the beginning, Building a Healthier Polk has sought to make the healthy choice the easy choice," said Dr. Ulyee Choe.

The 5-2-1-0 Initiative promotes healthy eating and active living to prevent and reduce obesity. This effort encourages a life style with simple and healthier options by choosing:

  • 5 – fruits and vegetables every day
  • 2 – hours or less of screen time per day
  • 1 – hour or more of physical activity every day
  • 0 – sugar-sweetened drinks

Obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, all major causes of death and preventable hospital stays. Polk County's obesity rate exceeds the state's average by more than 10%.

Building a Healthier Polk invited community members to join the 5-2-1-0 Initiative and encourage other residents to make a pledge to help promote 5-2-1-0 in 2015. The pledges were posted to social media profiles. This initiative encourages residents to challenge family, friends and colleagues to make their pledges, too.

The 5-2-1-0 Initiative is part of a three year plan to reduce obesity based on 6 key strategy areas: school age based, community based, physician based, worksite based, higher education, and communications.

For more information on the Building a Healthier Polk Initiative, visit www.polkvision.com/building-a-healthier-polk/. You can also find them on Twitter at @HealthierPolk and on Facebook.

DOH-Gulf Partnering to Increase Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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In 2013, staff from DOH-Gulf and their community partners looked at their comprehensive community health assessment and realized that residents of the county ranked in the fourth quartile of the state for adults who were overweight and for diabetes mortality. To combat these pernicious health outcomes, the Gulf County Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP Partners) chose chronic disease and obesity as two of their three priorities (along with Tobacco) and designed several evidenced-based strategies to improve both, including establishing healthy food choices in local food markets, worksite wellness programs, and a community walking program.

However, as they implemented these strategies and monitored the outcomes, CHIP Partners realized that a resource their residents already had—a farmer's market with fresh fruits and vegetables—was underutilized. Through discussions in monthly community health improvement planning meetings, the CHIP Partners became aware that transportation was a barrier for residents in low-income areas to access the Salt Air Famer’s Market and its fresh fruits and vegetables.

To overcome the transportation barrier, DOH-Gulf and CHIP partners—including City of Port St. Joe Government, Gulf County Government, Gulf County School District, Bay, Franklin, Gulf Healthy Start Coalition, Gulf Public Transportation, Salt Air Farmer's Market, DOH-Gulf and Franklin Health Education Programs and local media (newspaper, radio)—are sponsoring a novel project. Gulf Public Transportation will offer two free round trips to the farmer's market to increase accessibility. Anyone in the City of Port St. Joe can call Gulf Public Transportation to reserve a seat.

Sign-in sheets will record participation and the initial application to participate will establish the daily fruit and vegetable consumption of participants. The CHIP Partners would like to see an increase of fruit and vegetable consumption by 1-2 servings among farmer's market participants. According to DOH-Gulf administrator Marsha Player Lindeman, "Gulf County residents will now be able to access another resource to enable them to make healthier choices and ultimately to avoid obesity and diabetes." She added, "It is only through our strong community partnerships that we can create a community where healthy choices are easy choices."

Sarasota and Manatee Partnership Learning from Residents about Access to Healthy Food

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What if getting a healthy meal meant walking more than ten miles with an armful of groceries in Florida’s summer heat? Sarasota and Manatee county residents are helping their county health departments understand the difficulties they experience living in a food desert, or an area where people can’t afford healthy food or they do not have any nearby. Nineteen USDA-designated food deserts exist between these counties in an area where more than 78,000 people live.

Responding to a number of community leaders’ concerns about access to healthy food, DOH-Sarasota and DOH-Manatee staff are working with 16 diverse community partners, including universities, non-profit organizations, and City and County government, to try to understand and rectify the problems that residents face by initiating a cross-county food assessment. The partners are using community forums, key informant interviews, focus groups, photo-voice and personal narrative collection, and randomized door-to-door surveys. Using their technical capability in synthesizing this qualitative data with statistical data, the Sarasota-Manatee partnership is learning from hundreds of residents in seven food desert clusters.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. ”In Manatee County, we have large Hispanic populations, Haitian populations and African-American populations and we want to work with them to accommodate their preferences,” says Megan Jourdan, Manatee County Community Health Specialist. “The whole point of this project is to identify what interventions are most applicable to different neighborhoods. We don't want to choose where a community garden goes based on our limited understanding of contextual factors. We need residents to tell us about their barriers to healthy eating."

Because of innovative community engagement like in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the future holds promise. “We have learned valuable information directly from our residents,” says Pascale Edouard, Sarasota County Community Health Educator. “We will be able to target efforts to specific neighborhood needs while allowing residents to be involved in the health improvement of their community.” Focus groups revealed that residents want increased opportunities for education on topics like nutrition, cooking for kids, and cooking on a budget. Furthermore, many residents would like for their communities to have community gardens, farm stands that accept EBT, and generally more affordable options. The project will be ongoing, and a steering committee from local governments and nonprofits is set to make policy recommendations based on the data collected and analyzed from this project. Staff from DOH-Sarasota and Manatee counties are committed to improving their residents’ quality of life and health by learning from them how to make effective changes.

For more information on the project, contact Megan Jourdan at Megan.Jourdan@flhealth.gov (DOH-Manatee) or Pascale Edouard at Pascale.Edouard@flhealth.gov (DOH-Sarasota).

Broward County - Working to Improve Breastfeeding Rates

Breastfeeding may protect babies from a long list of illnesses, allergies, and reduce the risk of obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. For mothers, breastfeeding could reduce the risk of postpartum depression and certain types of cancer.

In Broward County breastfeeding rates are lowest among low-income households and mothers who are women of color, particularly those living in the Broward zip code 33311. DOH-Broward is working with community partners to improve breastfeeding rates for this population by launching the 33311 WIC Project. According to Ester March Singleton, DOH-Broward Breastfeeding Coordinator, “The 33311 WIC Project targets the residents who are most at risk for not breastfeeding.” She adds, “A small increase in breastfeeding rates for this population could translate to lifelong health benefits for their babies.”

The 33311 WIC Project includes working with community partner Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB), which holds a group called “Mocha Moms” in a local church within the targeted zip code by providing breastfeeding support and education. WIC also provides breastfeeding support and education at the Urban League, and partners with HMHB to provide peer counseling and breastfeeding support to “Mocha Milk,” a weekly group session conducted in the 33311 zip code area. Partners will hold focus groups in the 33311 area to identify needs and gaps, and to discuss barriers to breastfeeding. Early success shows that clients are bonding with their WIC breastfeeding peer counselor and requesting hospital and home visits.

According to Ms. Singleton, “Expansion plans include working with Broward Health, the local public health hospital system, targeted as a new WIC partner for hospital-based and clinical peer counseling services.”

For more information on the project, visit http://broward.floridahealth.gov or call (954) 467-4511

DOH-Lafayette Grows its Own Healthy Food Resource

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Partnering with the Lafayette County Extension Office UF/IFAS Family Nutrition Program, the Healthiest Weight Florida Initiative from the DOH-Lafayette created a community garden with a group of residents volunteering from the nearby Mayo community. The purpose of the community garden is to promote physical activity, engage the community in planting their own garden, and educate residents about the benefits of increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits in their diets.

Studies show that community garden participants maintain a healthier weight than neighboring non-participants, likely because gardening necessitates regular exercise for participants and allows access to healthy food. Maggie Evans, the Healthiest Weight Florida and Chronic Disease Prevention Coordinator for Suwannee and Lafayette Counties, sees the community garden as an opportunity. “A large part of eating nutritional food is being able to access it, which is a major problem for the community we serve,” Maggie Evans explains. “We have limited resources and only one grocery store in the immediate area, and the closest farmers market is only open two days a week almost thirty miles away in Live Oak.”

The community garden provides the opportunity for residents to access healthy food, addressing the health inequity that much of Lafayette County experiences. Evans expects to see Lafayette’s public health issues to be helped by the community garden, especially by the activities following the completion of the garden. “Our partner [UF/IFAS] helps us to maintain the garden, and UF/IFAS Family Nutrition Program will be providing on site classes about good nutrition for the volunteers that work in the garden.”

DOH-Lafayette will continue to have a working community garden year round to inspire residents to learn about gardening, grow their own produce, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

DOH-Miami-Dade Recognizing Crime as a Threat to Public Health

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Over 50% of children report not feeling safe at school. Children’s programs are one of the many strategies of “Building a Healthy and Resilient Liberty City” that aim to reduce crime and help trauma victims in their recovery.

As early as 1979, U.S. Surgeon Generals have reported that the consequences of violent behavior must be addressed as a matter of public health policy. The consequences of violent crime reach far beyond the victim and perpetrator; violence spreads over a population and causes symptoms of mental, emotional, and physical harm. Violent actions from one individual ripple through the community, quickly making a personal decision a widespread public health problem.

“We see a definite link between our community’s exposure to crime and their health outcomes, so we need to give people the resources they need to withstand and change the course of crime,” says Priscilla Pouchet at DOH-Miami-Dade. “Children are the most at risk. Over 50% report they don’t even feel safe on their way to school or within their school.”

DOH- Miami-Dade is partnering with five other neighborhood leader organizations to develop “Building a Healthy and Resilient Liberty City.” The partners include FIHI, the Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI), Catalyst Miami, Jesse Trice Community Health Center, and Jackson Health System. This project is building upon the success of the Miami Children’s Initiative’s place-based, resident-driven, cradle-to-college-to-career strategy. It aims to leverage and strengthen MCI’s “Collaborative Table,” a group of residents, youth and community leaders who have been meeting monthly since 2013.

The collaborative is one of 18 American neighborhood projects selected by the BUILD Health Challenge to develop innovative approaches to improve community health. Innovations include the leadership training available to Liberty City parents, which aims to build community capacity for resident-driven collective action. The collaborative uses the principles of collaborative leadership and a results-based, data-driven planning framework in order to connect Liberty City residents with health care, public health and community leaders. These connections help residents to identify and address root causes of crime-driven health outcomes; assess and leverage relationships and community and health resources; and strategically plan for improved public safety, using evidence-based and community-designed crime prevention and restorative justice interventions.

Like an infectious disease, violence acts as a contagion among those who come into contact with it. By going to the source of many public health problems, “Building a Healthy and Resilient Liberty City” is working on more than the symptoms of crime – it is finding a cure.

For more information on the project, visit FLHealthInnovation.org/build-health-challenge

An Environmental Health Project: DOH-Indian River Rehabilitates Housing with the Community

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (307)

According to WHO, environmental health encompasses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person. Using NACCHO’s Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH), DOH-Indian River engages with the community to prevent disease and create health-supportive environments by working with community partners, like Epic Missions.

Rehabilitating Indian River County’s substandard housing is an environmental issue that is a top community issue recognized by three disadvantaged communities. It was identified through a needs assessment survey, which is still being conducted with help from community partners. “Community partners were indispensable in helping us draft and finalize the needs assessment survey questions that really got at what we wanted to know,” Price says.

DOH-Indian River’s community partner Epic Missions is a Florida-based volunteer group coming to work in Fellsmere to rehabilitate housing. “I’ve worked with Epic Missions before and I was really impressed by their optimism, great work ethic, and genuine desire to help others,” says Julianne Price, Government Analyst at DOH-Indian River. “When we decided to implement PACE EH in Fellsmere, I knew they would be willing to help out again.” A number of community partners are on board with this initiative, such as Fellsmere Action Community Team (FACT), which is comprised of local nonprofits, government leaders, law enforcement, clergy, and other community stakeholders.

One of the most surprising obstacles that DOH-Indian River and its community partners are facing is a low level of trust among Fellsmere residents when it comes to law enforcement. The distrust is problematic since it influences residents’ feelings of safety and security within the community, which is itself a health concern. Looking towards the future, DOH-Indian River is setting the foundation for tackling the unique needs and goals of their community with meaningful engagement. DOH-Indian River depends on their community partners; their knowledge of Fellsmere and passion for helping their community are invaluable for addressing community needs.

Like an infectious disease, violence acts as a contagion among those who come into contact with it. By going to the source of many public health problems, “Building a Healthy and Resilient Liberty City” is working on more than the symptoms of crime – it is finding a cure.

Visit IndianRiver.FloridaHealth.gov to find out more about their PACEEH and community engagement. For more information on the project, visit contact Julianne.Price@flhealth.gov (Government Analyst II, DOH-Indian River).

DOH-Baker Empowering Community to Attain Healthier Weight

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (308)

DOH-Baker’s Healthiest Weight Initiative unites a diverse group of community members to work on interventions that prevent disease and promote health. Collectively known as the Baker County Healthiest Weight Quality Improvement Community Group, these DOH-Baker residents are passionate about improving the health of the county, particularly by helping everyone in Baker County maintain a healthy weight.

The Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings has recently indicated that Baker County is ranked 62 out of 67 counties in Florida in terms of positive health outcomes. A review of FLHealthCHARTS revealed that 69.4% of adults in Baker County are overweight or obese, indicating a lack of healthy lifestyle choices by adults in the county.

“We realized that there may not be many resources in our community,” says Terrenia Staier. “But there is a greater need to address community awareness and knowledge on how to live healthy lifestyles.”

DOH-Baker initiated the first meeting with an open discussion regarding different elements that would make up a healthy community and barriers that effect healthy weight in Baker County. Since then, the group has met each month to create strategies for reaching other Baker County residents and for increasing residents’ knowledge and awareness regarding health and wellness, including educating on proper nutrition and healthy eating, how to eat healthy on a budget, increasing physical activity, how to fit healthy lifestyle activities into daily routines, and information on resources available in the community. Group members have been working to develop a county resource guide compiled of educational and support materials as well as a community resource lists to provide as part of a Healthy Weight Educational Campaign. They will use these materials to promote healthy weight and physical activity by providing information directly to residents aimed at addressing their individual needs. The materials will be distributed at community events and health fairs and through various organizations within the county. In addition, informational materials will be provided to the local media to enhance opportunities to increase awareness.

The Baker County Healthiest Weight Quality Improvement Community Group is 18 members strong and growing, including representatives from the Baker Buying Club, Baker County Press, Baker County School District, Fit Girl Chronicles, River Region, Smart Market, a local insurance company, faith based organizations, a nutritionist, and community residents. In addition, representatives from School Health, Healthy Start, Tobacco Prevention, Health Education, and Administration from the Florida Department of Health in Baker County participate.

A healthy weight depends on a healthy, informed and motivated community. The Baker county Healthiest Weight Quality Improvement Community Group is giving Baker County a step in the right direction.

DOH-Flagler Transforms Blight into Beauty: Brownfield to Community Garden

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (309)
FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (310)

A public health trend continues to rise. Local governments are getting more involved in promoting community gardens because of their demonstrated health benefits for residents. DOH-Flagler is taking its community gardening project to the next level and incorporating the community’s vision into every step of the project.

When some people saw only a vacant brownfield (i.e., an urban area that is underused because of real or perceived environmental pollution), Sheena Fegumps and others at DOH-Flagler saw an opportunity. “Many communities close to brownfields are underprivileged,” Fegumps says. “And when there is a food desert, something needs to be done to enable the community to make healthy food choices.” After transforming a portion of the brownfield into a community garden, DOH-Flagler has more plans for improving health.

DOH-Flagler is initiating a health series in order to create a bond between itself, the community members, and the community garden. Starting with two classes a month, residents can learn about how to maintain their garden, cook with the garden’s produce, and develop other skills needed to sustain their garden. The classes respond to the community’s requests, which are gathered from both surveys and interpersonal interactions.

The project began with a survey to identify the barriers to accessing fruits and vegetables. Transportation and cost were the most cited barriers, respectively. The survey also inquired about which fruits and vegetables were most important to the community so residents would get exactly what they needed from their garden. One DOH-Flagler employee in particular aided in the survey, due in part because they live in the surrounding community. The local employee has been vital in getting input from residents.

The Baker County Healthiest Weight Quality Improvement Community Group is 18 members strong and growing, including representatives from the Baker Buying Club, Baker County Press, Baker County School District, Fit Girl Chronicles, River Region, Smart Market, a local insurance company, faith based organizations, a nutritionist, and community residents. In addition, representatives from School Health, Healthy Start, Tobacco Prevention, Health Education, and Administration from the Florida Department of Health in Baker County participate.

The current trend for government-supported public gardens is nothing new; it is merely resurfacing. It was about 100 years ago that the government encouraged citizens to take their food production into their own hands. Victory Gardens sprung out all over the world to support the overall World War I war effort by reducing the pressure on the public food supply. Now, local county health departments are helping alleviate healthy food shortages in the communities that need it most.

Lee - Healthiest Weight Initiative

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (311)
FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (312)

There is an African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The proverb points to the truth that new mothers need support, and DOH-Lee helps provide it through language-inclusive breastfeeding classes for prenatal care. DOH-Lee staff engage the community surrounding new mothers by encouraging them to invite friends, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, brothers, boyfriends, husbands, and anyone that wants to learn about how to properly care for the newborn.

“We dispel myths and misconceptions of pregnancy and breastfeeding so mothers can get the support they need,” says Giomar Veloz, DOH-Lee Public Health Nutritionist Supervisor. “Motherhood is a very confusing time; your grandma may insist on something her mother taught her, but in reality it may not be best for the baby or the mother. By getting to the people closest to the mother to understand, trust, and support her, mom can continue to breastfeed despite the challenges that may arise.”

Each mother in the class is assigned a peer counselor that they can call anytime, a crucial component of successfully breastfeeding. Veloz says, “If there is a problem, it needs to be fixed right away. We don’t want her to buy formula out of desperation.” After the baby is born, mothers can join a support group and keep coming to DOH-Lee for help. One month and six month certificates celebrate the hard work it takes for mothers to exclusively breastfeed, especially for working mothers. Veloz also coordinates an internship that trains WIC clinicians, dietetic technicians, and health support technicians to promote and provide resources and education for breastfeeding.

Classes are about breast-feeding support during prenatal care. Available in Spanish and English, both classes also include lessons on proper seatbelt positions, dental care, and physical activity and whatever other concerns mothers and their supporters bring. The participatory nature of the classes have led to successful word-of-mouth recruitment. DOH-Lee has been so far-reaching that Veloz’s recent appearance on the Spanish-speaking network Telemundo even led to requests from Colombia to conduct presentations for new mothers on breastfeeding.

New mothers and their communities are thankful. For some women, it is the only prenatal support available to them. Now many mothers are reaching out to others and developing a rich social network to raise a child; essentially, DOH-Lee is building a village to help every mother raise a child.

FLHealthCHARTS.gov: Data Spotlight (2024)


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