West Orange Healthcare District: Cultivating a Healthy Community

With a mission of making West Orange County the ‘healthiest community in the nation,’ the board of trustees of the West Orange Healthcare District have a lofty goal ahead of them, but they are fully committed to reaching it.

Board members are regularly appointed by the Governor of Florida and are guided by the community. They serve West Orange County with key goals in mind: providing access to quality healthcare close to home, insuring access to healthy food, nutritional education and heathy lifestyle options, and filling the gaps in the community for all residents – including those who are underserved or underinsured.

In 2011, the District board underwent a rigorous search process to choose a strategic community partner best positioned to help them achieve their mission of meeting the growing healthcare needs of West Orange residents. The board determined that Orlando Health, being committed to quality and well-established in the community, was ideally positioned to help them increase access to – and quality of – healthcare for local residents.

A Powerful Partnership
Over the past five years, the District has generously invested more than $135,000,000 in funding for important capital projects on Orlando Health - Health Central Hospital’s campus and in high-growth and underserved regions of West Orange County.

Most recently, the District and Orlando Health have jointly invested in several major capital projects including the Orlando Health Center for Rehabilitation, a 100-bed facility that will provide care for patients in rehabilitation as well as those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition, joint investment is making possible the expansion of cancer services at Health Central Hospital to better accommodate care closer to home for patients.

Residents of the growing Horizon West community will also soon witness the opening of the Orlando Health Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion – Horizon West. This facility, another example of the strategic partnership, will include a freestanding Emergency Department, outpatient diagnostics, laboratory services, physician space, and a wellness center.

These projects, as well as the earlier expansion of Health Central Hospital’s Emergency Department and addition of patient rooms supported by the West Orange Healthcare District, are clear testimony to the success the District is achieving in dramatically expanding access to quality healthcare for West Orange residents.

Join the Movement
One of the most exciting parts of Orlando Health’s partnership with the District is the development and recent activation of a community-wide healthcare ‘movement’ called Healthy West Orange. The idea is to provide important tools and social connections to help local residents eat well, stay active and enjoy life. 

The Healthy West Orange team, which includes several members of Orlando Health’s Community Engagement Team, focuses on:  

  • Inspiring healthy behaviors at local events, farmer’s markets and festivals
  • Championing healthy programs through free health screenings, educational classes and group activities
  • Uniting health-minded organizations with local business and organizations for whom a healthy community provides meaningful benefits
  • Advocating for healthy community decisions that support access to quality healthcare, strong education and employment opportunities, adequate housing and transportation, safety and support services, and good air and water quality

If you live in West Orange County, we encourage you to get involved! You can follow Healthy West Orange and their mascot Westly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, visit healthywestorange.org and look for their booth at Spring Fever in the Garden April 7 & 8 in downtown Winter Garden.

A Healthy Future
Creating the healthiest community in the nation is a goal that requires a long-term vision, strategic planning and more than a little determination to make it happen, but residents in West Orange County have a great team behind them, guiding every step of the way.

“We are passionate and committed,” said Norma Sutton, chair of the West Orange Healthcare District board of trustees. “Every project we fund, and every milestone we hit creates a stronger and healthier community.” 

March 21, 2018