Tell us a little bit about AdventHealth.
AdventHealth is a Seventh Day Adventist-affiliated health system. Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ is our mission. We have more than 83,000 skilled and compassionate caregivers in physician practices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and hospice centers providing individualized, wholistic care. Our Christian mission, shared vision, common values, and focus on whole-person health are our commitment to making communities healthier with a unified system. Headquartered in Central Florida, AdventHealth has more than 50 hospital campuses and hundreds of care sites in various markets throughout nine states. The communities we serve are diverse, ranging from rural Appalachia to major metropolitan cities.
What made AdventHealth join the Florida Prosperity Project Advisory Board?
AdventHealth has been a sponsor of the Project since its inception. We believe the key to a healthy community is a strong, vibrant economy that creates the opportunity for prosperity for everyone. That means supporting workforce training, housing, access to healthy foods and education to create a workforce that will meet the needs of our industry, provide good paying jobs with the opportunity of advancement, and raise the prosperity of communities in the process.
What root cause(s) of poverty is AdventHealth focused on?
AdventHealth is committed to addressing the needs of the communities we serve with a focus on the health and wellbeing of the entire person – body, mind and spirit. Every three years, our hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment to identify the most pressing issues and address, not only traditional health conditions, but the social and economic drivers that cause poverty.
Across our system, our hospitals work in collaboration with community partners to develop Community Health Plans to address health priorities including housing stability, food security, behavioral health, drug and substance use, early childhood education, and barriers to health care access and quality. We focus on community engagement by offering available resources and services as well as supporting workforce development. The Community Health Plans define measurable and meaningful strategies to address the issues. Our strategies align with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives while leveraging community data to identify communities of focus and partner with businesses, faith organizations and other community partners to have the greatest impact improving the health of our communities.
Tell us about some of the great work AdventHealth for Children’s West Lakes Early Learning Center is doing to help improve child and family care, and other root cause-related outcomes in 32805.
AdventHealth for Children’s West Lakes Early Learning Center (WLELC) is a commitment to health equity and educational equity. It’s our goal to empower children to thrive physically, mentally and spiritually. The WLELC provides high-quality early learning, comprehensive health, wellness and social services for children six weeks to 5 years of age and their families as well as an onsite pediatric clinic for children newborn to age 17 years.
Our transformational education program leverages Primrose Schools’ Balanced Learning® approach and AdventHealth’s CREATION Kids principles so that all children can learn and grow in body, mind and spirit. Comprehensive services coordination allows for all enrolled children to be screened to support developmental needs in vision, hearing, dental, speech and language, occupational, physical and behavioral needs. Children who require further assessment and/or therapy are provided with early intervention services onsite. Currently, 177 therapies take place weekly. Goal setting occurs with each family to further support varying family needs including: underemployment, housing, food insecurity and the social/emotional health of the family. Health education, prevention, assessment, referral and care navigation services are provided to families as needed.
The onsite pediatric clinic staffed by partners Community Health Centers, provides an additional medical access point for the greater community which includes wellness checks, proper nutrition, immunizations and preventive guidance. In 2022, the clinic completed over 680 pediatric patient visits.
The West Lakes Early Learning Center also provides daily meal service to children’s classrooms and supplies diapers, wipes, specialty milk and some formulas. Enrichment activities such as: yoga, tennis, soccer, creative movement and STEM classes are a part of the Grow Up Great grant donated by PNC bank and gardening classes and instructions are provided by the Arnold and Winne Palmer Foundation. The WLELC celebrated its third birthday on April 20, 2023 and to date has graduated 65 children who were kindergarten ready!
AdventHealth for Children’s WLELC is part of a multipronged effort supported by the nonprofit Lift Orlando – bringing together government, the private sector, residents and nonprofits – to drive investments that strengthen the historic West Lakes community near Camping World stadium. Our community partners the West Lakes Partnership, the communities of West Lakes and the Polis Institute have been integral in our efforts to work alongside the community.
Through a partnership with the AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida, the Bainum Family Foundation invested seed funding toward the construction and operation of the school.
Any other projects you’d like to tell us about that AdventHealth has in the works at the zip code level or statewide?
We are partnering with the Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties on initiatives to increase the proportion of children who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs. This includes hosting educational events with experts to discuss the importance of early learning. Families in attendance can enroll their children in services offered by Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties, including Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK). We will provide 3,600 summer take home bags for VPK students to prevent summer reading loss in preparation for kindergarten.
We are partnering with the Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties to increase the proportion of children who are developmentally on track and ready for school. Together we are offing parent and clinical information sessions dedicated to the importance of developmental screenings through School Readiness and Help Me Grow which provide tools to move children forward in their skills outside of the classroom.
We are partnering with Easterseals Northeast Central Florida to increase the proportion of children with a developmental delay who receive special services to meet their developmental needs by age four. Together we are offering behavioral intervention services by providing information sessions on the P.L.A.Y. Project, an autism training and early intervention program. Easterseals offers P.L.A.Y. therapy at their Autism Center of Excellence.
We are partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia and Flagler Counties as well as Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake County to increase social and community support to improve health and social outcomes for underserved populations. We will provide mentorship and education to support improved health to 75% of members at ten area clubs four times annually. We will provide funding ($4,000) to each of the ten clubs as part of a regional strategic partnership to provide daily fresh fruit and whole grain snacks to club members.
What would you say is the business case for Florida businesses/institutions to get involved with tackling generational poverty in their neighborhoods across Florida?
Poverty has an adverse impact on the operation of a business. It can impact the safety of the business and exacerbate staffing shortages. For example, poverty can make it difficult for individuals to seek advanced education or have the skills needed to succeed at a job, narrowing the workforce. Poverty can also make it more difficult for individuals to afford childcare, ultimately limiting their ability to seek employment. Poverty can also make it harder to recruit new talent as individuals seek to live in communities with good living conditions. Additionally, many surveys have found that consumers are increasingly paying closer attention to a company’s investments in their community or environment. About 71% percent of U.S. consumers say corporations have a responsibility to prioritize their employees, the environment, and their community as much as shareholder returns.
Is there anything else you would like to add in regard to the importance of joining the fight against childhood poverty and securing the path to prosperity for our youngest Floridians?
Securing families’ pathways to prosperity is particularly emergent in Florida, where more than half of our children live in households that are experiencing financial hardship. According to the United Way’s latest data, about 2.4 million children come from constrained-income families, often with two parents, making them vulnerable to adverse impacts on their education, nutrition and overall wellness.
Click here to learn about the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Prosperity Project that is uniting Florida businesses for good around the Florida 2030 Blueprint goal of cutting Florida childhood poverty in half by 2030 and ensuring 100% have a pathway out.