An Overview of Our Area

The conditions of daily life influence health outcomes and they can be categorized into areas of assessment referred to as the Social Determinants of Health. The Foundation has financially supported Research Reports conducted by expert nonprofit and government partners, and published Pinellas Highlights to help contextualize how health outcomes vary by race in Pinellas County.

Research Reports

Gypsy Gallardo presents Foundation research at our Economic Equity and Justice Data Walk in August.


Black residents of Pinellas County have made record-setting progress in recent years, pacing ahead of their peers across Florida and the nation in education and employment gains. Black college enrollment is up, and 2023 brought us the smallest White-Black unemployment gap of the 21st century Yet, during the past decade, the most material gaps widened. The earnings gap between Black and White residents grew, as did the homeownership gap. Based on the limited data available, it appears the White-Black wealth gap grew, as well.

This report examines the gains, roadblocks, and gaps for Black Pinellas County residents, featuring 75 measures of economic well-being and capacity to analyze the economic landscape before us and offer ideas for what comes next. Click here to watch a video recording of the Foundation’s data walk and presentation of this report, which was drafted by Urban Market Analytics.

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Community members discussing BIPOC Mental Health and Wellness

Community members discussing BIPOC Mental Health and Wellness at the Foundation in January.


Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities suffer the greatest disparities in all areas of health, including mental health, and its social determinants. Given the complexity of mental health, the barriers to receiving culturally competent care, and the growing demand for mental health services, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg funded this research scan to inform our grantmaking strategy in this area.

This scan examines national, state, and local mental health and wellness data to understand trends in care, treatment-seeking behaviors, and outcomes; cultural practices within BIPOC populations relating to mental health; and the lived experiences of local BIPOC community members. Click here to watch a video recording of the Foundation’s presentation of the scan.


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This Data Explorer is designed to help the user understand that historic and current policies and practices have reduced opportunity for people who are not white with the hope that this data can contribute to lasting changes. Changes that would increase racial equity – so that fairness and justice will be the norm in Pinellas County.

Data tends to highlight the ways that communities are compromised, showing despair rather than the assets, both human and physical. Seldom do data show all the capability and potency that exists but is not yet visible to everyone and is not yet connected.

The Data Explorer aspires to connect more fully with residents who best know their neighborhoods so that a more complete and accurate picture is made visible – a picture that includes data that also highlight assets rather than just the challenges. The Data Explorer will evolve with the guidance and insight of the residents who are most significantly impacted by racial equity.

The overriding assumptions are that IF the wisdom, power, and talents of those who have been pushed to the margins of the economy by historic and current policies and practices were included and connected, the local economy and overall wellbeing would be greater, there would be better health and greater civic engagement and greater trust within the community as a whole.

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In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and UNITE Pinellas launched a “COVID Tracker.” The dashboard helps visualize county data using a racial equity lens. By focusing on disaggregated data by race, and then calculating rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, UNITE was able to get a better understanding of the effects of COVID on racial/ethnic groups. In turn, this helped equity professionals to advocate for additional resources, support, and campaign strategies to reach communities of color in a meaningful way.

View the Tracker


The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and Pinellas Education Foundation have formed a strategic partnership to advance equitable educational outcomes and boost education quality for all students in Pinellas County. The partnership launched with a series of research reports on key education topics, entitled Focus on Education. This is the first report, which explores the community indicators related to college and career readiness, access and affordability, college performance, workforce and economic outcomes, and degree attainment.


Community indicators are tools to build strategic learning when tackling the complex challenge of helping more students access and succeed in college and in their careers. They help us identify trends, uncover disparities, and understand and improve our communities.

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The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and Pinellas Education Foundation have formed a strategic partnership to advance equitable educational outcomes and boost education quality for all students in Pinellas County. The partnership launched with a series of research reports on key education topics, entitled Focus on Education. This is the third report, which focuses on college and career readiness.

Why do students need more than a diploma? By 2020, nearly two-thirds of jobs will require postsecondary education or training and nearly 60% of employers nationally report that high school is not preparing students for college or careers.

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The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and Pinellas Education Foundation have formed a strategic partnership to advance equitable educational outcomes and boost education quality for all students in Pinellas County. The partnership launched with a series of research reports on key education topics, entitled Focus on Education. This is the second report, which focuses on the growth and importance of Career Technical Education.

The right Career and Technical Education program can prepare a student for a career. Research demonstrates that career academies can increase wages and that pathways of connected courses leading to an industry credential are the most valuable.

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To explore the assets, challenges and opportunities faced by the nonprofit sector, the workgroup pursued a mixed- methods approach, including a high-level scan of the current state of knowledge on nonprofits in Pinellas County, an administration of a survey to all nonprofits in Pinellas County reporting revenue in 2013-2017, and a deeper exploration using a targeted, semi-structured interview with leadership of organizations focused on social determinants of health.

This report offers our community the current status of the nonprofit sector so we can understand, learn, and support our nonprofit organizations. It is a first step in capturing important information and elevating this work among community leaders.

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The Pinellas County Community Health Assessment is a compilation of community input and survey data designed to measure the health of Pinellas County. This was done by identifying key needs and issues through systematic, comprehensive data collection and analysis. Collaboration between the health department and the community was necessary for developing this shared vision.

Many factors influence the health and wellbeing of a community. To improve community health outcomes, it’s important to identify and measure all the factors and understand the inequities that prevent some people from living long and happy lives.

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County Health Rankings rank Pinellas County 26th out of 67 Florida counties for health outcomes—behind Hillsborough, Orange and Sarasota counties. A closer look at Pinellas County reveals important differences in social determinants across socioeconomic factors, physical environment, clinical care, and health behaviors, in addition to clear differences in health outcomes. These differences can tell us where to target our efforts to create a healthier Pinellas.

Differences in the conditions of daily life across the lifespan can lead to health disparities. When people have a disadvantage in attaining their full health potential due to social, economic, demographic or other differences, this is a lack of health equity.

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Housing inequities are a major driver of disparate health outcomes in our community. This report explores the social and structural inequities of housing while exploring system and sector opportunities to forge a countywide effort to create safe, decent, and affordable housing for everyone.

There is a wide array of research that highlights the correlated relationship between housing and health and illustrates that access to safe and stable housing contributes to ensuring positive well-being and health, regardless of income, identity, or illness.

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Pinellas Highlights

An Equity Profile of Pinellas County

Reducing inequity correlates with more stable economies, more capacity to rebound from economic downturns, growth in overall academic performance, increased life expectancy, reduced infant mortality, and increased civic participation. This report defines and launches an agenda for Pinellas County focused on an inclusive economy and justice that materially impacts the measures of equity.

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Social Determinants of Health & Population Health

Not everyone in Pinellas County is able to attain their highest level of health and well-being. Too often, the place where a person is born, grows, lives, works, learns, or ages contains impediments stemming from entrenched social or demographic factors such as race, gender, personal attribute, income, or geography. By paying attention to the root causes of inequality in our community, we are able to target investments, convening, policy and communications work where they can have the greatest impact.

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Access to and Utilization of Care

Access to health care refers to an individual’s or population’s ability to receive needed health services. Access to affordable, quality health education, preventative care, and treatment is important to physical, social, and mental health, and to overall population health. Health insurance coverage helps individuals and families access needed care but does not ensure access on its own. Other social determinants which impact access are: transportation, provider proximity and availability, education, employment, income, and social support.

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Air & Water Quality

The existence of environmental toxins directly impacts population health. Clean air and water support healthy brain and body function, growth, and development. Air pollutants such as fine particulate matter, ground-level ozone, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and greenhouse gases can harm our health and the environment. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus run-off, medicines, chemicals, lead, and pesticides in water also pose threats to well-being and quality of life.

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Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including illicit drugs and alcohol. Excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States and costs $249 billion in lost productivity, health care, and criminal justice expenses each year.

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Community Safety

Crime and safety may pose barriers to community residents who would like to use the local, physical environment to have a healthy lifestyle. Community safety includes issues like the perceived safety of a neighborhood, violent and nonviolent crimes, domestic abuse and accidental death such as drowning or motor vehicle accidents.

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Diet & Exercise

A sustainable exercise regimen and a diet full of fresh healthy foods is not simply a matter of choice or discipline. The ability to access and afford healthy options is not equally available to all, and those with restricted access are at a higher risk for poor health outcomes.

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Education has a long and complex impact on population health. A quality education, whether academic or vocational, determines a number of other outcomes that impact health. Lack of education limits prospects for quality employment which in turn limits housing, transportation, nutrition, and healthcare options.

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Under or unemployment can result in poor access to healthcare, limited financial resources that restrict nutrition and transportation options, and an increase in mental health challenges due to low self-esteem and stress, which further contribute to poorer health outcomes.

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Family & Social Support

Social support stems from relationships with family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Strong family and social support systems improve population health because these resources help reduce stress and bolster mental and physical well-being. Individuals who lack adequate social support have an increased risk for poor health outcomes and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of stress, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease and unhealthy behaviors.

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Housing & Transit

Inadequate or absent housing has serious negative implications on population health and can lead to both poor physical and mental health outcomes. Without a place to gain safe rest, it is difficult to access all of the elements needed to be healthy. Similarly, lack of transportation creates barriers to accessing healthcare, fresh and nutritious food, education, employment, and other resources.

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Individuals with low income cannot afford healthcare, necessary medical procedures, or healthy food. They are more likely to smoke and have increased stress. Individuals experiencing poverty are more likely to engage in risky health behaviors such as drinking, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and being inactive.

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Quality of Care

Quality of care is the evaluation of the performance of health plans and health care providers against quality standards. It is important because it tells us how the healthcare system is performing and leads to improved care, which leads to better health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

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Sexual Activity

STIs and unplanned pregnancies can affect immediate and long-term health as well as the economic and social well-being of individuals, families, and communities. STIs can have severe reproductive health complications, particularly for young women and are decreased with safe sex practices.

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Tobacco use has a direct impact on population health. Smoking costs the United States billions of dollars each year, including direct medical care and lost productivity costs. Its health consequences include cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and lung diseases and on average, smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers.

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Join our Community of Changemakers

It is through our collective actions and ideas that we will achieve racial and health equity in Pinellas County. Keep pushing the movement forward. Connect with the Foundation and subscribe to our emails to stay updated on opportunities, developments, and events around equity.

Thank you for your interest!