Dear Fellow DCMS Members,
Awesome weather, gorgeous beaches, numerous nature trails and a mighty river whose wide track flows right through the middle of a rapidly growing urban core all contribute to the wonderful quality of life in Northeast Florida. We also have a strong economy and workforce with large corporations moving headquarters to Jacksonville while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Yes, we have a lot to be proud of.
However, there remain troubling concerns that our community must improve on so that every citizen in Northeast Florida can benefit from living here. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual county health rankings were just released and Duval has fallen even further than in past years. Our county is now ranked as 55thout of 67 Florida counties in overall health. This is down from a ranking of 48thjust last year. There are indeed many factors that have contributed to this low ranking including infant mortality, obesity, physical inactivity, food deserts and gun violence just to name a few. Of course, these are not unique or new issues to Northeast Florida. How can a city with so many good things happening continue to suffer with poor overall health outcomes year after year? There really is no good answer to this rhetorical question, but we must stop complaining about our health outcomes and start making a positive impact. There is no better group to lead these efforts than the physicians of the Duval County Medical Society!
Over the last year, Mayor Lenny Curry’s office has developed an all-encompassing, holistic approach to improving the region’s health with the Journey To One plan. In order to shed light on this initiative and on the many issues that must be addressed to improve our community’s well-being, the Duval County Medical Society Foundation (DCMSF) will be hosting the inauguralFuture of Healthcare Conference(FOHC) on May 22ndand 23rdat the University of North Florida. This conference will focus on some of the region’s biggest areas of concern including health care disparities, food deserts, infant mortality, obesity, physical inactivity, poor mental wellness and how each of these affect our region’s health.
We will hear from many knowledgeable and well-respected speakers on these topics including Dr. Celeste Philip (Florida Surgeon General), Dr. David Barbe (President-elect, American Medical Association), Dr. David Becker (President, Florida Medical Association), Aaron Bean (Florida Senator), Lori Boyer (City Council President) and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry just to name a few. The goal of the discussion is not to simply identify areas of need but to actually develop action items in order to formulate public policy. We will enlist the assistance of Richard Mullaney of the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute and expect to make a long-term impact in at least one of the issues that adversely affect our community’s health.
This conference is open to all interested parties and in particular those who care about the health of Northeast Florida. Continuing education credit is available for all physicians and other health care professionals as well.
Our corner of Florida is a wonderful place to live, work and play. The Future of Healthcare Conference is a way for us to begin the process of making Jacksonville a healthy city for all of its citizens. If you love this town and its people, please attend the Future of Healthcare Conference and help Duval County succeed on its Journey To One.
Sunil Joshi, MD FACAAI
President, Duval County Medical Society Foundation