General News
Posted November 22, 2013
Community Health Conversation: A First Step in Community-Driven Change

Community Conversation Event
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Community advocates filled the ACH Education and Conference Center on November 20 for "A Conversation Focusing on Community Health." In attendance were representatives from a variety of organizations, including the Pinellas County Commission, Pinellas County Schools, the YMCA, the Pinellas County Urban League, USFSP, St. Petersburg College, Florida Blue, the Pinellas Department of Health and others.

Dr. Jonathan Ellen, All Children's President and Physician-in-Chief, addressed how All Children's shared the same vision and passion with those in attendance-creating a healthier community. He described the Connect to Protect® (C2P) program he helped to develop earlier in his career and its focus on improving the health of teens through structural change. He discussed the process of community mobilization, how it has been successful in implementing structural change in other communities, and what can be done here in Pinellas County to improve the health of infants, children and teens.

Dr. Ellen emphasized, "The role of All Children's is to facilitate the mobilization, respect the autonomy of the community, and work collectively to meet shared goals."

Earlier in the year key community members came together to participate in All Children's first Community Health Needs Assessment. The All Children's Community Benefits Plan was developed based on those conversations. With a focus on birth outcomes, chronic disease with an emphasis on childhood obesity, and substance abuse and mental health, the mission of the plan--to educate, advocate, and collaborate with the community to ensure all children grow up to be healthy--will be carried out by a coalition that is community-owned and community-driven.  All Children's role will be to act as the facilitator.

The meeting was the first step in putting the Community Benefits Plan into action and addressing the next steps for the Healthy Start Federal grant application. The grant will focus on addressing Infant and Maternal Health using a community-driven, patient-centered approach. In addition, these steps will involve working together to develop structural change objectives and developing and implementing an action plan to create those changes. The next coalition meeting is scheduled for January 2014.

Other speakers included Mary Mahoney, Director of Community Relations & Strategic Engagement, Cindy Rose, VP of Marketing, Branding & Community Relations, and Alizza Punzalan-Randle, Community Engagement Manager.

For more information please contact Alizza Punzalan-Randle at 727-767-6413 or