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The Jacksonville Health Disparities Oversight Committee was formed in September 2006.

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Mayo Clinic launches new initiatives to improve health in Jacksonville

Mayo Clinic launches new initiatives to improve health in Jacksonville

Feb. 10, 2017 • FLA 

A new collaborative effort kicked off in January between Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus and New Town Success Zone, a community organization focused on education, social well-being and community sustainability.

Together, Mayo Clinic and New Town Success Zone launched an 18-month, community-led wellness effort called Wellness Rx that will focus on health disparities identified in the New Town community. 

The effort addresses a major community need Mayo Clinic and other hospitals and health care providers identified in the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment. The assessment is used to identify health needs in the community and provides valuable information for hospitals and other agencies to focus their community outreach efforts.

The 2015 assessment identified health disparities, mental health and obesity as major concerns for the Jacksonville, Florida, community. To address these health issues, Mayo Clinic has initiated multiple projects to contribute to the needs of the community.


“Wellness Rx provides education on health issues, empowers the community to take action, and encourages residents to develop healthier habits,” says Ann-Marie Knight, Public Affairs, who is the administrator of Community Engagement in Florida.

More than 25 nonprofit agencies, including the American Heart Association and Feeding Northeast Florida, support Wellness Rx, which was launched on Jan. 28 at the Center for the Prevention of Health Disparities on the Edwards Waters College campus in Jacksonville.

Mayo Clinic, in collaboration with nonprofit hospitals in the region, also is supporting Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour CPR-like education training program open to all Mayo Clinic staff and the community. The training introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia. Courses are held monthly on the Florida campus and elsewhere in the community.


Giving back to the community always has been, and will continue to be, a part of the Mayo Clinic culture. Mayo's founders saw it as a responsibility to give back, sharing their knowledge, resources and time to benefit the community. “All who are benefited by community life, especially the physician, owe something to the community," said Charles H. Mayo, M.D.

“Our three-shield expertise is a unique health resource advantage for the Jacksonville community,” says Amy Pollak, M.D., Cardiovascular Diseases, who chairs the Community Giving Committee. “We will focus on demonstrating that we are an effective healing force for our community as well as for our patients.”

Following in the footsteps of the Mayo brothers, staff at the Mayo Clinic Florida campus participate in community events, including the Heart WalkKatie Ride and the Donna Marathon, to name a few, to help create awareness on a wide range of health issues.


The new Community Engagement and Giving intranet site for the Florida campus has details on these community giving projects. Email Florida Community Relations for more information.


Lena Kassab, M.D., left, a Family Medicine resident, and other Mayo Clinic staff guided residents in completing surveys to help them understand their health status and willingness to make changes.

In the photo at left, Floyd Willis, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Family Medicine physician, helped kick off Wellness Rx on the Edward Waters College campus in Jacksonville. In the photo above, Mayo Clinic Pharmacy residents Stephanie Doleman, Pharm. D., and David Veasey, Pharm. D., were on hand to answer questions about medications.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Currie and his daughter chat with Ann-Marie Knight, Public Affairs, and Darnell Smith, chair, 2017 Board of Directors, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Community Research Advisory Board

EWCAn advisory board of community leaders, citizens, faculty from local institutions and Mayo Clinic staff meets regularly to:

  • Ensure Mayo Clinic's community-based research projects are culturally competent
  • Identify methods for recruiting minorities into research studies
  • Improve communication between researchers and the community

Monica Albertie, M.H.A
OHDR Project Manager

Promoting Minority Health Through CBPR

Sept. 22-23: FLORIDA—Promoting Minority Health Through CBPR

The Florida Community Health Worker Coalition, in partnership with the University of Florida’s Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program, announces the People’s Scientific Conference to Promote Minority Health Through Community-Based Participatory Research: Community Health Workers Lead the Way and the 7th Annual Florida Community Health Worker Coalition Summit on September 22-23, 2017 in Gainesville, FL. MORE INFORMATION

Projects in Florida


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