Tampa’s Journey to Promote Health, Well-Being, and Equity
Five years into the Sentinel Communities Surveillance Project, Tampa’s capacity to advance health, well-being, and equity for community members is grounded in its many healthcare organizations and nonprofit organizations.
The breadth and depth of local nonprofits has evolved to address health needs through a more holistic lens. Tampa and Hillsborough County have a number of initiatives including a plan for building resilience at the individual, neighborhood, and city level, initiatives to tackle some of the city’s biggest transportation challenges, and major redevelopment efforts of the downtown and waterfront areas that have been designed to meet a wide range of wellness standards. Over the past five years, there has been a shift from more siloed and topic-specific efforts towards a greater appreciation of the value of partnerships, upstream drivers of health and well-being, and comprehensive services, which are becoming more prevalent in the health narrative. Health equity has also received heightened attention with shifts occurring in how health equity is conceptualized, discussed, and prioritized.
Health Priorities and Narrative
Influential anchor organizations outside of the healthcare sector contribute to the improvement of health and well-being through their unique resources, capabilities, and diverse partnerships.
Major initiatives have focused on addressing the city’s transportation challenges.
The City of Tampa is several years into a major redevelopment of its downtown and waterfront areas, providing a range of amenities to promote health and well-being.
Health Priorities and Narrative
Many stakeholders have broadened their understanding of health and its drivers, and COVID-19 has also pushed a deeper understanding among many that health should be viewed holistically.
Broad initiatives like Resilient Tampa have also helped shift the narrative towards a greater focus on upstream drivers of health and well-being, including equity.
As a result of the pandemic, health equity has been considered more broadly and a sense of urgency around addressing health inequity has increased.
June 2020's “Hillsborough County Health Equity Profile” calls out avoidable differences in health outcomes and health inequities among residents.
Lessons Learned: Where is Tampa Five Years Later?
Over the past five years, Tampa’s commitment to health, well-being, and equity has evolved. Despite progress, not all residents have been equally impacted and there remains concern that some neighborhoods, particularly those that are home to minority populations, are receiving far less investment. The state of Florida has not yet expanded Medicaid and strong accusations have been leveraged against the governor for inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations that prioritized wealthier residents. Fueled by these concerns, the city will undergo an independent racial-equity profile. These data to guide purposeful action, coupled with the major initiatives and investments ongoing in the city, hold promise for a continued trajectory towards greater health and well-being for all residents of Tampa in the coming years.
Tampa has made some progress in its journey to promote health, well-being, and equity over the past five years, leveraged by its revitalization efforts. However, a number of barriers—including a lack of transportation infrastructure are expected to persist.
Tampa received multiple grants, awards, and emergency assistance, and investments
Large institutions promote health and well-being service, education, and research
Large collection of health-related data
Cross-sector collaborations with non-traditional partners
Larger-scale, systemic issues initiatives
Gap between rich and poor communities
Lack of affordable housing and poor transportation infrastructure
Lack of coordination in accessing health and social services
Tensions between state and local government