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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Year in Review: Protecting and Promoting the Health of All Floridians

December 23, 2019

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, the Florida Department of Health (Department) is highlighting the public health efforts in 2019 that are resulting in successful health outcomes for Floridians across the Sunshine State. The Department extends their appreciation to state and local partners who have contributed to these efforts. These successes would not be possible without the hard work and cooperation of the individuals that make up Florida’s public health system.

"Florida is the third largest state in the third largest nation, so ensuring quality health services for our residents and visitors is a monumental duty," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "I am proud to recognize the public health accomplishments being made on a daily basis and I applaud the passionate men and women who serve to provide their communities with the essential health services that make Florida the healthiest state to live, work and play."

"The work being done throughout Florida in the area of public health is having a real impact on communities throughout our state— both now, and for generations to come," said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. "It is crucial that we remain vigilant in these efforts towards improving public health so that all Floridians can lead their healthiest lives."

"The value and care we have for the wellbeing of our citizens is what drives the Department to generate positive health outcomes for all men, women and children across this great state," said Florida Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees. "The successes we have accomplished this year are a reflection of the importance with which we take our mission to protect and promote the health of all Floridians."

Accomplishments and successful outcomes that advanced public health in Florida for 2019 includes the following:

  • Coordinated the statewide investigation and response to more than 3,000 cases of hepatitis A to date in 2019 with more than 130,000 doses of vaccines provided by local Department offices and public health partners.
  • Received a three-year $58.8 million grant to address the all-drug overdose and opioid crisis in Florida. The Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) grant will further public health prevention initiatives in partnership with the Department of Children and Families and other local stakeholders.
  • Established the Department's first Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Statewide Prevention Administrator with funding from Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and CDC as part of the Opioid Use Disorder, Maternal Outcome, NAS Initiative multi-state Learning Collaborative.
  • Awarded almost $500,000 in planning grants for the seven counties with the highest HIV incidence rates: Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Orange.
  • Awarded $650,000 in legislatively appropriated funds to four Florida universities to support these researchers in their efforts to improve the understanding of the potential long-term human-health impacts of harmful algal blooms like blue-green algae and red tide.
  • Awarded 25 grants at $2.6 million to community and faith based organizations through-out Florida through the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. Priority areas include: Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, HIV, Infant Mortality, Lupus, Oral Health, Sickle Cell and Social Determinants of Health.
  • Awarded 15 Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program grants and 10 Live Like Bella Pediatric Cancer Research Program grants for work in the areas of cancer and pediatric cancer.
  • Distributed a total of $75,649 to five Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) and three rural hospitals for investments in quality improvement efforts and shared savings investment activities.
  • Promoted the national public health anti-human trafficking Look Beneath the Surface awareness campaign in 67 counties with more than 750 partners.
  • Established a Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Department's first-ever Suicide Prevention Coordinator position will reside in the Division of Community Health Promotion.
    • The Coordinator will lead the implementation the Zero Suicide (ZS) framework, a system wide organizational commitment to safer suicide care in health care, using evidenced-based tools & coordination with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
  • Won the World Health Organization (WHO) - No Tobacco Day 2019 Award for the "Not A Lab Rat" campaign.
  • Launched a comprehensive statewide campaign against youth vaping in April 2019.
  • Launched an updated website for physicians to access newborn screening results.
  • Trained local Department personnel to provide technical support that will help ensure that the 2019 Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA) is enforced.
  • Distributed Farmer's Market Nutrition Program coupons to 141,599 Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants in 12 local WIC agencies across Florida between April 2019 and August 2019.
  • Provided 160,675,882 meals to approximately 317,000 Florida children each day through the Childcare Food Program.
  • Partnered with mammogram services throughout Florida to screen more than 1,200 women ages 50-64 through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
  • Served family health services to 107,695 clients at local Department offices.
  • Provided 22,780,566 school health services in Florida's public K-12 schools.
  • Provided dental sealants to more than 146,000 children.
  • Received approximately 275,000 specimens annually from babies born in Florida to test for genetic disorders. To date, all abnormal and normal test results have been reported by the Bureau of Public Health Laboratories within 5 days at a 99.98% rate, exceeding the target goal of 99%.
  • Increased the number of infants and toddlers served in the Early Steps Program by 6% over the previous year.
  • Distributed 2,365 Stop the Bleed kits to partners including the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Law Enforcement officers, local police and sheriff departments, local school boards, emergency medical services (EMS) programs, the Division of Emergency Management and school health nurses.
  • Resources provided that allowed for the performance of 1,935 instances of community education and outreach throughout Florida regarding the youth e-cigarette issue.
  • Established a partnership with the Florida Perinatal Quality collaborative, Florida State University, College of Medicine, and the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions to developing screening and treatment models to improve mental health outcomes.
  • Coordinated the state's health and medical response to Hurricane Dorian in September of 2019, which included the following activities:
    • Supported 21 counties who opened a total of 49 special needs shelters (SpNS), who at peak census sheltered a total of 2,230 clients and 618 caregivers.
    • Mobilized 440 ambulances, 80 paratransit vehicles and 10 air ambulances with approximately 1,012 EMS responders to support health care facility evacuations. During the incident they conducted 165 patient transports.
    • Monitored and supported 9 hospitals, 17 nursing homes and 72 assisted living facilities who evacuated during the incident.
    • Staged 3 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and 4 Health and Medical Taskforces in coordination with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    • Deployed 260 doses of narcan to local shelters to ensure availability statewide.
    • Administered 200 hepatitis A vaccines in special needs and general population shelters in five high-risk counties.
    • Activated 1,264 personnel for health and medical missions to include 32 CHD staff, 133 contracted nurses and 22 International Medical Corps volunteers.

About the Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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