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Next mayor must invest more resources in health of Jacksonville

Drs. Rogers Cain, Jeffrey Goldhagen and Sumil Joshi

Democratic Jacksonville mayoral candidate Donna Deegan stands beside her podium after she addressed the audience as election results showed her with a significant lead over Republican Daniel Davis during Deegan's election night party on March 21.

While parts of our city flourish economically, we still do poorly on nearly every meaningful metric of health. Addiction, child mortality, obesity and more — all of these are serious issues plaguing our city.

The statistics are grim. Compared to other major metropolitan areas in Florida, Duval County currently has 40% higher teen birth rates, 80% higher child mortality rates and 66% higher drug overdose rates. These numbers are concerning and an indication that something must change.

The issue is not a lack of commitment and effort; there is a wide array of highly skilled and committed organizations and individuals working in Jacksonville on health issues. The problem stems from lack of funding, coordination and leadership, as well as ineffective communication and prioritization. With leadership from local government, in collaboration with communities and stakeholder organizations and advocates, we can advance the health of our city, decrease disparities and eliminate health inequities.

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