The United Way of Central Florida believes that good health is one of the building blocks to a better life. In order to achieve that goal, United Way created the Community Health Impact Team in 2010. The Team consists of fourteen community volunteers and two United Way staff. The community volunteers primarily represent organizations involved in not-for-profit community health activities.
The Team has considerable health experience and includes the Director of the Polk County Health Department, Dr. Daniel Haight, among others. The Team is chaired by Bruce Abels, President of Fairfield Logistics Advisors and the retired President of Saddle Creek Corporation, a large, locally-based employer. We asked Bruce to explain the health initiative in detail for our readers.
Describe the purpose of the Health Impact Team.
“The purpose of the team is two-fold:
a. To establish broad-based desired “Health Outcomes” for the general community and specifically for the United Way partner agencies. These outcomes are intended to be those that will have the broadest possible benefit to the general health of the community.
b. To provide related “Strategic Guidance” to the United Way partner agencies so that they can better prioritize and focus their efforts to attain the Health Outcomes AND to provide the same guidance to the United Way Community Investment Teams as those teams evaluate the outcomes and performance of the agencies in the consideration of funding requests.”
What recommendations has the team made?
"The team has made a series of recommendations, all of which have been approved by the UW Community Impact Cabinet and been distributed to the partner agencies. These recommendations can be summarized by “The Three A’s” – ACCESS, ACCOUNTABILITY, and ACTION. These three words have been translated into three high-level outcomes:
a. To increase access and utilization: that is, to help people get ACCESS to health care and to use it.
b. To increase knowledge and personal responsibility: that is, to ensure that people are ACCOUNTABLE for their own health – and ACT accordingly.
c. That the entire health systems reduces avoidable “medical interventions”: that is that people stay out of emergency rooms, jails, mental health intervention centers, and similar locations.
In support of these desired outcomes, the Team has provided the partner agencies and the Community Investment Teams with key “strategic guidance.” Think of these as being health-related areas needing special, community-wide focus in order to improve overall health. These key focus areas include the following:
a. Increasing healthy life behaviors
b. Eliminating risky health behaviors
c. Managing basic health problems
The Team believes that focusing on these key strategic areas will
provide the greatest impact in health improvement as they underlie so
many other health conditions and diseases."
How will these changes impact the United Way health agency partners?
"Our proposals will produce some change at the partner agencies, mostly in the measurement and reporting of outcomes. We do not intend, nor was it ever our goal, to influence basic agency missions, but rather to encourage the agencies to focus more attention and resources on those strategic items that the Team believes will make a meaningful difference in our community’s health.
Virtually all of the 25 health agency partners are “generally” aligned with the Team’s desired outcomes but the agencies vary widely in the specificity and value of their measurements and in their attention to strategic items. In the future, for example, it will no longer be enough for an agency to report “counts” of people assisted: it will be necessary for the agency to demonstrate that it is improving access, action and accountability and doing so in a way that focuses on one or more of our key strategic guidance factors.
In the long run, we strongly believe that changes at the agencies will be positive, for the agencies and for the health of our community."
What drives your particular interest in community health issues?
"Since coming to Lakeland 19 years ago, I’ve been very, very active in not-for-profit agencies, all of them affiliated with United Way. My very first involvement in the community was with Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center and I began to see how much basic human need there was in our community, particularly in the health area. That first involvement has led to leadership, both as Board chair and other roles, at other agencies involved in health.
I’ve been blessed to chair Central Florida Speech & Hearing, Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE), Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine (LVIM) and to participate on the Salvation Army Board. At LVIM particularly, I’ve had a chance to see a highly successful medically-based not-for-profit in successful operation.
So, while health is not all that I do, it has (somewhat by chance) become my primary focus area for volunteer work and leadership. I’m grateful to the community for the chance to help out."
Mar 12/18 - Mar 29/18 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Build United- Register a Team Today!
Apr 03/18 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Tocqueville Tuesdays - Bonnet Springs Park
Apr 05/18 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM Story Book Adventures Pajama Party with Elephant and Piggie
Apr 19/18 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM Infant Massage at Family Fundamentals
Apr 19/18 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM Board of Directors Meetings