Health is an issue that affects individuals, companies and the community. Researching the relative health of those categories and providing analysis and recommendations for improvement is the mission of the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida.
"We have four core services: healthy communities, happy and healthy places, smart people and vibrant partnerships," said Health Planning Council President and CEO Dawn Emerick.
Mandated by state statute, the organization provides health planning and assessment services in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia counties.
"We monitor the health status of the entire region," Emerick said.
"We are required by law to receive all of the hospital utilization data for our region. We take that data and vet it and send reports to policymakers, philanthropic organizations, academia and public health providers," she said.
Working with the private and public sectors, the data allow better community planning by projecting future health needs.
"We are able to help inform the decision makers. You have to have data – you can't just go on instinct – and we are the source of that data," Emerick said.
Primarily funded by state and federal funds, the Health Planning Council also performs fee-for-service work.
"We are a nonprofit, but we also have a very strong consulting arm," said Emerick.
The organization moved in September from office space in Arlington to the Jacksonville Bank Building at Laura and Forsyth streets.
Emerick said she began considering moving the council Downtown in 2008 when she joined the organization. It was part of assuming what she called a "small business mentality."
Operating the organization more like an entrepreneur than a government-funded agency also was part of the plan.
Emerick joined the JAX Chamber and was selected for its board of governors, which made her more aware of Downtown development potential.
"When it was time for us to renew our lease, we knew we had an opportunity to really be a model. We didn't move Downtown to get more business – we haven't gotten a stitch of new business because we moved – we did it because it was the right thing to do," she said.
To learn more about the council, visit HPCNEF.org.
To see local health data and health news, visit nefloridacounts.org.
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