Advancing Health Equity: Collaborative Efforts in Florida

March 8, 2024 8:30 am | by

In the quest for equitable, inclusive and thriving communities, collaborative efforts are paramount. The Florida Center for Thriving Communities exemplifies this commitment, driving impactful initiatives to address health inequities across Florida. This new virtual center received investment from Florida Blue Foundation, and is co-led by 904WARD, Florida Health Justice Project, Hispanic Federation, and UF Health Jacksonville. The Center is surfacing key community needs from places across the state, and developing tools, action plans, and examples of health equity initiatives to address those key needs. Over 1200 people were reached in a series of listening sessions and community engagement efforts which identified mental well-being as a core priority issue for Floridians. Shift, in partnership with Build Healthy Places Network (BHPN) and the Center leadership, are strategy partners to ensure equity-driven, community-rooted place-based initiatives throughout the state.

At the core of the Center’s efforts are Equity Action Labs (EALs), a model developed through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and spearheaded by the We In the World national initiative. The EALs are dynamic hubs designed to catalyze community-led health equity initiatives. With strategic advisory support from Shift Health Accelerator, We In the World, and others, these labs are testing community-led change across the state. Three winning projects will focus on positively impacting the mental health and well-being of youth, youth & adults, and women.

All of the EALs are engaging resident leaders and multisector partners to collectively break down silos between healthcare, community organizations, and government agencies. By bridging these divides, the collaboration amplifies the impact of equity initiatives, ensuring a holistic approach to community well-being. Each EAL is developing plans to test an action agenda and measure change over a 6 month period. Participants will glean insights, track progress, and measure impact. 

Shift and BHPN will be delivering four upcoming webinar sessions for EAL sites and applicant organizations on the following topics: 

  • Session 1: Engaging Communities in Local Health Initiatives to foster collaboration and co-design between community residents and community-based institutions
  • Session 2: Crafting a Community Vision of Health to enable partnerships around a holistic vision of health
  • Session 3: Measuring Impact of Community-Driven Health through a community lens
  • Session 4: Resourcing Community-Led Health to sustain locally-led impacts

Ultimately, the Center efforts aim to elevate evidence-based approaches to inform future strategic planning and enhance accountability and sustainability for Center efforts as well as place-based initiatives across Florida. Further, investments, spanning funding, capacity-building, and technical assistance, will aim to support communities to enact sustainable change and foster equitable access to the conditions that create healthy, thriving places into the future.