The Health Equity Coalition Hillsborough County held its first meeting Thursday, September 2, 2010 with over 65 attendees. The meeting, held at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, was meant to discuss the issue of health inequity and form a group of informed and active citizens and policy makers to address the problem and solutions for the community.
Speakers included Dr. Doug Holt, Director of the Hillsborough County Health Department, who discussed their support of this effort. Water Niles, the manager of the Office of Health Equity, provided background and mission of this newly formed office within the community health division. The keynote was given by Deanna Wathington, MD, MPH Interim Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, College of Public Health at the University of South Florida, who led the discussion on understanding Health Disparities and the importance of addressing these issues in our community.
She explained that health disparities are the differences in health, wellness, life expectancy, etc. that exist among different social, cultural and racial groups. These disparities exist right here in Hillsborough County and we can work together to level the playing field.
The social determinants of health are the individual lifestyle factors that affect one’s health and include:
- Social class
- The neighborhood one lives in
- A person’s occupation and what they are physically exposed to while they work
- A person’s culture and customs
After the presentation, attendees were invited to make a commitment to join the coalition and part in evaluating Hillsborough County and finding ways to make it healthier for every person in our community. The attendees discussed that community coalition will seek to make health based changes pertinent to:
- Public policy
- The physical environment of our community
We have some highlights from the meeting in the video below. The next meeting was set for Mid-October.