The UF Health Urban Health Alliance is a comprehensive resource and community health innovation hub that brings together organizations and individuals to help improve the health of Jacksonville residents using community-initiated, self-sustainable strategies and solutions. Its mission is to improve the health of residents through a multifaceted, evidence-based approach to the health and well-being of people, particularly the most vulnerable.
The alliance has several upcoming projects aimed at targeting the unmet needs of patients. Based on results of health screenings, the social services hub will provide UF Health patients with referrals to organizations and agencies in related sectors, such as housing. The hub serves as a connection point for patients, partner agencies and the health system.
Community health workers will strengthen this connection by acting as ambassadors to help patients navigate the often-complex application processes for partner agencies. Additionally, the community health workers will inform clinicians on the status of these referrals and can provide a wider view of a patient’s health outside the exam room.
Unfortunately, many patients identify as food insecure. In fact, Duval County has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state, with 20.1% of adults reporting food insecurity.
To address the need, the alliance is launching a Food Pharmacy. It will use a therapeutic prescriptive model to ensure patients without access to affordable, nutritious food who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, such as diabetes or hypertension, receive education and foods tailored to their needs. The service will be open to select UF Health Total Care Clinic patients.
Patients will also receive nutritional education and access to other nutritional assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.