Lee County Health Department, FL
Description of Sites / Initial Thoughts about the Use of MAPP
Lee County is located along Florida's west coast and encompasses 804 square miles. The Department of Health has more than 220 employees working to ensure the health and safety of the more than 400,000 residents and 1.7 million annual visitors (the county population triples in the winter). Health Department staff members are employed by the state of Florida, so they are actually state, not county, employees. Five county commissioners, who hire the county manager, and the City Council, govern the county, but not the health department. However, the commissioners and the council are involved in the hiring process of the county health director. It also is worth mentioning that the members of the hospital board are elected officials.
The Lee County Health Department and its partners have completed numerous assessments, including "A Needs Assessment of Lee County Residents, Comprehensive Assessment for Tracking Community Health (CATCH)" in 1997 with an update in 2000, "2000–2001 District 8 Health Plan," and the "Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey—Lee County Report." Dr. Judith Hartner, the health official in Lee County, expects MAPP to provide a framework for melding the information from the surveys and producing some common themes. What Lee County now needs is a comprehensive survey of its numerous assets, which can be mobilized to address prioritized needs.
At the time of the visit, the Health Department's internal management team was not aware of the MAPP process and had some concerns about implementation. There was concern with the time commitment related to MAPP and the work that may be neglected while the process is being implemented. Dr. Hartner has recognized this challenge and plans to spend time orienting staff to the process and reassuring them that work will still be accomplished. It should be noted that all 67 counties in Florida participated in the October 1999 field test of the local version of the National Public Health Performance Standards Program and that the state agency completed the state version of the instrument.
Lee County Contact Information:
Judith Hartner, MD, MPH, Health Director
Pat Waddington, RN
Lee County Health Department
3920 Michigan Ave.
Fort Myers, FL 33916