Community leaders will meet May 10 to discuss solutions to long-standing health problems plaguing Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

The summit meeting, organized by the Partnership for a Healthy Community, will be held at the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand Hotel. The event, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., will be streamed live to the public via

The summit follows a series of reports documenting serious health problems not only in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties but also in Florida – ranked in the bottom third of the United States in key indexes of health and well-being – and in the United States, which ranks at or near the bottom among 17 developed nations for health.

“We as a community simply cannot be satisfied with or ambivalent about these results,” said David Sjoberg, president of the Partnership for a Healthy Community.

Community health priorities include reducing the use of tobacco products, increasing physical activity and improving nutrition to reduce obesity, and improving the management of personal health and access to appropriate health services.

The speakers will include business leaders and top executives from Baptist and Sacred Heart hospitals, which formed the Partnership for a Healthy Community in 1994, and Dr. Roderick King, executive director of the Florida Public Health Institute. Economist Rick Harper will address the cost of health care problems.

The summit will focus on how health problems affect businesses and other organizations, the financial benefits of better health, and programs to improve health for residents of the two counties. 

In 2012, the partnership conducted its fourth study of local health and found little has changed since the first study in 1995. While Escambia and Santa Rosa counties scored well in some areas, they had higher rates of female breast cancer, overuse of emergency departments at hospitals, a high number of smokers, and a significant number of births to teens and births of babies with low weight.

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Baptist Health Care Corporation and Sacred Heart Health System founded the Partnership for a Healthy Community in 1994 to address key health problems in greater Pensacola. The Partnership has sponsored comprehensive health status assessments for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2012. It also has sponsored community forums on key health issues, provided seed money to establish programs targeting those problems, and helped establish a pilot program at Escambia Community Clinics for more than 350 uninsured people with chronic conditions. Through this program, participants significantly reduced the number of times they were hospitalized or they visited emergency departments.