EWC Forges a Partnership with UF for HealthStreet Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Center for the Prevention of Health Disparities is the new home of "HealthStreet Jacksonville." HealthStreet is a community based effort that gauges the medical and social needs of Jacksonville residents and encourages them to participate in research studies.

Dr. Linda Cottler is the associate dean for research and planning at the University of Florida's College of Public Health and Health Professions. Dr. Cottler founded the program more than 20 years ago in St. Louis, Missouri to help reduce disparities in health care and research.

"It's a big problem. Every year there are 80,000 clinical trials being conducted, but only about two-percent of the people who are eligible participate," said Assistant Professor of Community Health & Family Medicine, Fern Webb, Ph.D.

Dr. Webb is over HealthStreet Jacksonville. She and her team of community health workers comb the streets of Jacksonville approaching residents and conduct health assessments to see what they need.

"The information we collect is protected by HIPAA laws. So we keep that information private," said Dr. Webb.

The community health workers will also refer them to where they can get those needs met. "In our case, a lot of those resources are already provided at the Schell-Sweet Resource Center. It's just one of the many benefits of being located on the Edward Waters College campus," said Dr. Webb.

Dr. Irvin PeDro Cohen is the Executive Director of the New Town Success Zone, and played a major part in bringing HealthStreet Jacksonville to Edward Waters College. "I felt that it was very important that they come here because it could close the gap in terms of access to care especially in challenged communities," said Dr. Cohen.

Community health workers started their health assessments in the New Town Success Zone, but they hope to make it through every part of Duval County. "You may find us in supermarkets, bus stops, parks and shopping center parking lots. We go where the people are."

One of the biggest goals of HealthStreet Jacksonville is to help diversify health research studies with more African-Americans, women, younger demographics and drug users. "Minorities are extremely underrepresented in clinical trials. Of the 80,000 conducted every year, one-percent of the participants are African American," said Dr. Webb.

You can learn more about HealthStreet Jacksonville here.