Press Release for Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Center for Global Health Hosts Caring Community Conference

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy at the University of North Florida will host a three-day Caring Community Conference, beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. A diverse group of more than 100 community, civic, government and health care leaders will gather to examine issues, analyze assets and formulate recommendations and actions to enhance our community’s health and health care/bioscience industry.

This conference was designed after a similar conference that was held on the First Coast in 1974, in which leaders came together shortly after the city of Jacksonville was consolidated in an effort to address pressing community and health care issues. To this day, that original conference is credited with several advancements, including the creation of a citizens group to provide a continuing forum on matters of public interest, a group now known as JCCI. Organizers hope this conference will help position the region to anticipate future challenges and opportunities in health care.

The conference kicks off with the unveiling of a new study by Dr. Paul Mason, chair of UNF’s Department of Economics and Geography. His economic impact study concludes, among other findings, that Northeast Florida’s health care and related industries have an economic impact of more than $21 billion and that one in six employees in Jacksonville now work in the health care industry. His complete findings will be presented at the conference.

Mason’s presentation will be followed by a discussion with leaders from communities across the country that have been models of optimizing this component of their economy and quality of life. Leading that panel discussion will be Dr. John Howe, president and CEO of Project HOPE, an international health foundation, and Dr. Charles Sanders, a former Harvard Medial School professor and former chairman and CEO of Glaxo Inc.

The Caring Community Conference will culminate at 10:20 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, with participants prioritizing a list of recommendations. Participants will also discuss the next steps.

Organizers of the Caring Community Conference also plan to follow the conference with a series of Health Care Town Hall meetings to get input from the public. The first Health Care Town Hall meeting will be held sometime this fall at WJCT-TV and will be televised. Other community forums in the region will follow.

UNF’s Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy was formed in February with Dr. Yank D. Coble, past president of the World Medical Association, American Medical Association and Florida Medical Association, serving as its director. The Center’s mission is to foster global understanding and collective action for improving health and medical care.