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The Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County, the Health Council of South Florida and West

South Florida health leaders united last week on Monday, April 4, 2016, to officially launch the Florida chapter of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), a coalition of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, working to raise awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.

In an interactive panel discussion hosted at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, PFCD Policy Chief Candace DeMatteis joined leaders from the hospital itself, the Health Council of South Florida, and the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. Participants addressed local health care issues and the solutions in place to tackle chronic diseases across the region.

“We are excited to be joined today by incredible panelists who each bring unique perspectives and solutions to addressing chronic disease disparities across South Florida’s diverse populations,” said DeMatteis. “Having these conversations and sharing best practices is our best defense in raising awareness among individuals and in finding ways to improve the health of people across the region, the state, and the nation.” Panelist included:

Candace S. DeMatteis, Policy Director for the Partnership to Prevent Chronic Disease

Marisel Losa, President & CEO at the Health Council of South Florida

Karen Weller, Director of the Office of Community Health and Planning at the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dace County

Dr. Theodore Feldman, Cardiologist and the Medical Director of Wellness and Prevention at Baptist Health South Florida

Affecting nearly every single American in some way, the adverse effects of chronic disease ripple throughout families and workplaces across the U.S. Sixty-two percent of people in Florida have at least one chronic condition, and 12 percent have three or more.Diabetes and arthritis are estimated to cost American families more than $116 billion per year in lost wages and other economic losses in addition to the medical costs associated with those diseases.

Opportunities to change the course of chronic disease abound, are attainable and are more than worthwhile. The World Health Organization estimates that as much as 80 percent of premature heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and 40 percent of cancers could be avoided entirely if Americans avoided tobacco, developed healthier eating habits, and were more physically active. In terms of improved treatment, a medical breakthrough that delayed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by just five years could prevent 5.7 million Americans from developing Alzheimer’s and would save $367 billion a year within 25 years of its introduction. Further, 11,940 Floridians could be saved annually through prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

The Baptist Health South Florida News Team was there to hear the call to action from the panelists. Watch it now.


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