DOH-Sarasota Recognized as an Age-Friendly Public Health System

Government

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) has become the first local health department in the nation to receive recognition as an Age-Friendly Public Health System by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). DOH-Sarasota received this honor after completing ten significant action steps as part of TFAH’s Age-Friendly Public Health Systems (AFPHS) Recognition Program. The AFPHS Recognition Program is designed to encourage and support state and local health departments to embrace their role in improving and supporting older adult health. Action steps taken to achieve this goal include data collection, listening directly to older adults to learn what matters to them, and collaboration across sectors. According to TFAH’s President and CEO J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, DOH-Sarasota has been the pioneer county health department in these efforts. To achieve AFPHS recognition, DOH-Sarasota conducted several assessments including a citizens’ opinion survey, developed a county wide multi-agency program to provide food to residents during the pandemic, developed a multi-year Community Health Improvement Plan, and recently completed its fifth-year cycle as a member of AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The State of Florida has been deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of older Floridians. TFAH worked directly with two-thirds of Florida’s county health departments to pilot the framework for creating AFPHS, through which the Department staff explored and expanded their roles in healthy aging. This effort included creating and supporting collaborations between the public health and aging sectors, collecting data about the state’s older adult population, and ensuring planning and programming is done through the lens of aging members of the community.

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