Health Care Our Communities Public Health

AdventHealth, W.K. Kellogg Foundation partner to help improve health equity across Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla., AdventHealth will take another step toward improving health equity in Central Florida thanks to $2 million in support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program, “Building Health Equity across Health Care Systems and Communities,” is designed to address health inequities across racial and ethnic minority populations.

“COVID-19 has highlighted health disparities across different groups based on race, ethnicity and income. But the truth is the pandemic has only intensified pre-existing disparities,” said Dr. Alric Simmonds, chief health equity officer at AdventHealth. “This support will help us better serve our patients by gaining a deeper understanding of the communities we serve.”

This two-year funding will help AdventHealth work toward eliminating health inequities in Central Florida by utilizing local data analyzed by AdventHealth University’s Center for Population Health Research to understand racial disparities in patient populations, engaging community members in solutions that create a bridge to health equity and generating both policy and practice changes in the health care system. As part of the program, AdventHealth will implement implicit bias training for health care providers.

“Our partnership with AdventHealth is an opportunity to transform the capacity of the health care system,” said Monica Beltran, program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “By doing so, AdventHealth is building a system that is better equipped to address health disparities and racial inequities; improve the health and wellness of the population it serves; and support families and communities to ensure all children thrive.”

Health inequities are systematic differences in the health status of different groups like race, ethnicity and income, as defined by the World Health Organization. Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows those in the Black, Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities are dying at higher rates than white non-Hispanics and Asian non-Hispanics. This risk of COVID-19 transmission and death in these communities are heightened due to factors such as discrimination; health care access and use; housing and gaps in education, income and wealth.

The project will start at AdventHealth facilities in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, with a goal of expanding across Florida and the country, setting an example for other health care systems to emulate.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit