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(20) Healthy Eatonville


Veronica L. Smith, Bachelor of Arts – Executive Assistant, Town of Eadtonville

Audrey D. Alexander, BS – Senior Health Educator, Florida Department of Health in Orange County


The Historic Town of Eatonville, known as the Town that Freedom Built, celebrated its 130 years’ anniversary in 2017 and is recognized as the oldest black incorporated municipality in America. The Town of Eatonville is a small municipality with a geographic area of 0.99 square miles made of 665.8 acres. It has a population of 2,243 with 91.9% of its residents representing Black and Hispanic people (2013 Census data). Eatonville has a rich heritage and has played a big role in literary history with noted author, Zora Neal Hurston, as a former resident. The Town of Eatonville’s health improvement journey began after a baseline study was conducted in 2011 to ascertain the health of the community by the University of Central Florida (UCF) using the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey tool. Survey results revealed an alarming diabetes rate of 24.2% which was nearly triple the national average and nearly double that of African Americans. Results also showed residents had high rates of hypertension, (49.8%), high cholesterol and smoking. This presentation will highlight how the Town of Eatonville was able to mobilize from the inside out to address its health crisis and the steps they took to make changes in its policies, infrastructure, activities and behavior.

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