Recognizing, understanding, and effectively responding to the intersections between a community’s health status and the social determinants of health (those conditions in which people are born, live, work, and age) is critical to addressing health inequities found across varying populations within the region. Chronic disease and preventive health indicators (e.g., asthma incidence, childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and low birth weight) illustrate the complexities associated with ethnically diverse, medically underserved populations. Significant health status disparities exist across all categories in the Southeast Florida region and are often locally driven. Factors such as an inability to access primary care, lack of insurance, poverty, employment status, level of cultural assimilation in areas of high immigration, affordable housing in safe neighborhoods, and transportation all play a role in the incidence of preventable disease and affect the overall health and wellness of communities.
The Partnership will build the region’s capacity to generate information about living and social conditions through participatory research initiatives and enhanced community empowerment utilizing a neighborhood-based service learning and education model. The Partnership will establish systems whereby acquired data are accessed and readily available to inform investment policies across myriad regional issues and support programmatic activities that will create and maintain healthier communities. Through these efforts, the Partnership will have a clearer understanding of the costs to the economy that arise from suboptimal health and should be better able to more fully estimate the impact that health costs have on local, regional, state, and national finances as well as the benefits arising from healthy communities.