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Public Health Program Collaborates on Regional Conference

The Florida State University Master of Public Health (MPH) program is partnering with other university academic units, statewide agencies and nonprofits to present a regional health conference focused on primary care and stronger public health collaborations.

The Northwest Florida Public Health Conference, “Strengthening Primary Care and Public Health Collaboration for a Healthier Florida,” sponsored by the Florida Public Health Association (FPHA) in partnership with the MPH program, the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, the Florida Department of Health, and the FSU College of Nursing and College of Medicine.

The past few years have seen great changes in the provision of primary care throughout Florida. Local health departments have gotten out of the primary care business, focusing instead on core public health services. Federally qualified health centers have expanded to meet the healthcare needs of the low-income population. But clinical care is only a small piece in the overall health of a community.

Research continues to emphasize the importance of social and environmental determinants of health and the impact of primary prevention on individual as well as population health. Because a variety of public and private actors contribute to the health of a community, achieving lasting improvement can only be achieved through collaboration toward a common goal.

The university’s public health program within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy has increased its collaboration and outreach efforts with the hiring this year of Betsy Wood, who brings 30 years’ experience to her role as the Community Outreach and Workforce Development Coordinator for the program. In that capacity, she is identifying opportunities for faculty to lend expertise to organizations working to improve the health status of their communities. Wood also links MPH faculty with public health workforce training needs, which opens volunteer project and internship opportunities for public health students. Her efforts led to the coordination of the upcoming conference.

The conference will be held September 16, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Durell Peaden Auditorium of the FSU College of Medicine. University faculty and students, public health and primary care practitioners, state agencies and community partners are invited to attend the conference to discuss opportunities to change the way health is approached in Florida.

The cost for the conference is $30 for FPHA members, $50 for nonmembers, $20 for those presenting posters, and $15 for students. Participants are encouraged to register by September 2, 2016, at this link. On-site registration will also be available.