Study identifies access, poverty and obesity as significant health needs in Northeast Florida

Local nonprofit health care organizations join forces to improve care


Access to care, poverty, obesity and lack of physical activity are among the most significant local health needs, according to the latest Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by nonprofit health care organizations in Northeast Florida. These issues disproportionally impact certain demographic groups including children, seniors, veterans and the LGBTQ community.

The study collected data from focus groups, interviews with key stakeholders, and surveys in five Northeast Florida counties and provided insight from more than 1,300 individuals who represent the broad interests of the community.

Other top community health concerns based on the report include:

■ Behavioral health

■ Cancer

■ Maternal, fetal and infant health

Researchers analyzed regional health care statistics and compared them with other areas and benchmarks, where possible. Additionally, facilitators reviewed findings from recent assessments of the community’s health needs conducted by other organizations.

The Community Health Needs Assessment is conducted every three years to provide local health care organizations and health departments with an accurate understanding of evolving local health needs. The Jacksonville Nonprofit Hospital Partnership commissioned the report. The group’s vision is to improve health in the region by addressing gaps that prevent access to high-quality, integrated health care and by improving access to resources that support a healthy lifestyle.

“As not-for-profit organizations, we all share a common commitment to improving health beyond our own walls,” said A. Hugh Greene, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “By coming together to identify gaps and prioritizing areas of greatest need, we will make a real difference in improving the health of our community’s most vulnerable citizens.”

This was the third CHNA study conducted since the formation of the partnership in July 2011 by leaders from Ascension St. Vincent’s, Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation, the Clay County Health Department, the Duval County Health Department, Mayo Clinic, the Nassau County Health Department, the Putnam County Health Department, and UF Health Jacksonville.

“Health needs assessments continue to play a vital role in finding the best solutions for the residents of our community, and we are proud to be a part of this project,” said Dr. Leon Haley, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville.  “Since we all share a common commitment to providing access to high-quality health care, we are pleased to now have this information that can be used as we move forward to develop solutions to improve the lives of the citizens of Northeast Florida.”

“Our Mission calls us to serve all people in our community, with special attention to those most in need, and the results of this assessment help us identify the most important health issues facing the region,” said Tom VanOsdol, president and CEO of Ascension Florida. “Now, we must take action together to even more effectively care for and serve those who are struggling the most.”  

CHNAs seek to identify significant health needs for particular geographic areas and populations by focusing on these questions:


■ Who in the community is most vulnerable in terms of health status or access to care?

■ What are the unique health status and/or access needs for these populations?

■ Where do these people live in the community?

■ Why are these problems present?

“Guided by the spirit of teamwork, one of Mayo Clinic’s founding core values, this partnership and study provide us a valuable opportunity to improve the quality of life of our most vulnerable citizens in the communities we serve,” said Kent Thielen, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Each hospital in the partnership plans to address significant needs with strategies that have been adopted by their respective boards, with the goal of improving health care outcomes for all Northeast Florida residents.

“This comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment has been an extremely worthwhile endeavor in helping us identify specific gaps in health care that currently exist in our community,” said Doug Baer, president and CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation. “We are pleased to now have this information that can be used as we move forward to develop solutions to improve the lives of northeast Florida residents.”

To read the full report, visit 


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