Contact: Walter Niles
For Immediate Release
Program Manager Department of Health Equity
813-307-8015 Ext. 6601
The Hillsborough County Health Department has expanded and now has a new office. The new addition is the Hillsborough County Health Department’s Office of Health Equity and it will operate within the Community Health Division. The Office of Health Equity will work alongside a community based coalition comprised of advocates of increased standards of health throughout Hillsborough County. The coalition will include members whom have interest in working with other groups and individuals within Hillsborough County.
The Office of Health Equity has two main issues that it will address: health disparities and the social determinants of health. Specific areas of focus include but are not limited to: advocating and educating the community about breast feeding, decreasing obesity in Hillsborough County residents and reducing the presence of tobacco products in Hillsborough County.
The Office of Health Equity will form a coalition of community members that will assist the department in its duties. The coalition will use a standard evaluation method provided by the Center for Disease Control to uniformly evaluate public policy as well as the physical environment of Hillsborough County as they pertain to general health, health disparities and the social determinants of health. Evaluations will be performed by both employees of the Hillsborough County Office of Health Equity and coalition members. The overall goal is to evaluate Hillsborough County so as to make collective suggestions and implement changes.
The changes include: altering the physical environment of Hillsborough County to accommodate healthy lifestyles, putting education programs in place to inform the community and impacting new legislation so that health focuses are considered when laws are created. The end goal of these changes will have several affects on the community. The primary affect will be to increase the overall health of Hillsborough County residents. This will be achieved by reducing the incongruence in health standards and the availability of health care between different social, cultural and economic groups. We intend to foster a community based approach to improving health in Hillsborough County through cooperation, open dialogue and a dedication to the highest standards of both community and individual health.
The mission of the Office of Health Equity in the Community Health Division is to assure that the burden and impact of diseases on vulnerable populations are acknowledged and addressed through research, advocacy, surveillance, education, training, and program development. The Office of Health equity will work to promote, protect and improve the health and well-being of minority and under-served populations through wide-ranging programs and policy initiatives.