Center Vision

To eliminate disparities in health outcomes due to race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography, and socioeconomic status.

Center Mission

The mission of the Center for Health Equity is to facilitate improvements in health care delivery and health outcomes in order to eliminate health disparities due to race, ethnicity, age, gender, geography, or socioeconomic status, using tools that empower indigenous leaders and communities to develop, implement and evaluate health programs through research, education, training, advocacy and the practical application of evaluation principles and methods.

What is Health Disparity?

Health Disparity is the presence of population specific differences in disease, health/mental health outcomes or access to health care.

Throughout Florida, racial and ethnic differences in health translate to changed lives and impoverished futures for Florida’s families. Here is just a small part of the story:

  • African American babies in Gadsden County die at four times the rate of white babies—and African American babies continue to die at a higher rate than white babies throughout Florida and the nation.

  • Although white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a higher rate, African American and Hispanic women are twice as likely to die from breast cancer. And the death rate from cancer for non-white men is 36% higher than that for whites.

  • The rate of AIDS cases among Florida’s adults is three times greater among African American males than Hispanics, and seven times greater than white males.

  • African Americans in Florida are twice as likely to die from strokes compared to whites.

  • And although asthma affects Floridians of all ages, races, and ethnic groups, low-income and minority populations experience substantially higher rates of fatalities, hospital admissions and emergency room visits due to asthma.

  • According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 10% more likely to experience serious psychological distress.

  • African Americans, like many minority communities, are also more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities such as exclusion from health, educational, social and economic resources. These disparities may contribute to worse mental health outcomes.

  • Historically, African Americans have been and continue to be negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system. Misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment and lack of cultural competence by health professionals cause distrust and prevent many African Americans from seeking or staying in treatment.

What Can We Do?

Health disparity, whether due to race/ethnicity, income/economic status, health insurance issues, education, gender, age or geographical factors, is essentially a social problem with medical and/or mental health implications. The problem of health disparity requires something new — a robust, dynamic, comprehensive, and flexible approach that is community-driven — if the problem is to be eliminated.

The work of The Center for Health Equity focuses attention on generating new ideas and partnerships with communities, and on community development and community empowerment.

Working with local community leaders, we work to build local capacity. The Center maintains a spotlight on community development and capacity-building in order to enable communities, especially minority communities, to come together to develop, implement and evaluate creative and community-driven health programs. The Center emphasizes collaboration with communities to identify, understand and raise awareness about disparities in health/mental health, putting programs in place and conducting research to identify, prevent and eliminate the root causes of disparities in health/mental health.