Baptist Health of Northeast Florida Joins Forces with Blue Zones to Begin Building a Plan for Well-Being Transformation in Jacksonville

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Blue Zones to assess Jacksonville’s well-being and create plan to help residents live longer and better

Blue Zones
“Baptist Health’s vision is A Lifetime of Health, Together. That vision extends beyond the walls of our hospitals and calls us to help all people in the community live longer and healthier lives.” -- Brett McClung, President and CEO of Baptist Health

Baptist Health has invited Blue Zones to bring its expertise in well-being innovation to Jacksonville. The first phase is a Blue Zones Activate assessment and feasibility study that will help determine how to make Jacksonville a healthier and happier place to live, work, and grow old.

Research shows that where people live has a significant influence on their health – even more than their genetics. Blue Zones tackles this "zip code effect" by using scientifically proven lessons of longevity, health, and happiness gleaned from their 20 years of international research to boost the well-being of entire communities.

By focusing on making permanent and semi-permanent changes to the Life Radius--the area close to home where people spend 90% of their lives--Blue Zones has helped hundreds of communities achieve measurable improvements in its residents’ health.

“Baptist Health’s vision is A Lifetime of Health, Together,“ said Brett McClung, President and CEO of Baptist Health. “That vision extends beyond the walls of our hospitals and calls us to help all people in the community live longer and healthier lives. We are excited to build on a long legacy of community partnership by inviting Blue Zones, a proven leader in community-led health improvement, to help Jacksonville learn some new and innovative ways to achieve transformational results.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this work begins at a time when public focus is now, more than ever, on the interconnectedness of our health to that of our friends and neighbors. As a proven and comprehensive solution influencing social determinants of health and improving health equity, the Blue Zones approach for strengthening community well-being will be critical as we navigate recovery.

In the assessment phase, which begins in January and concludes with recommendations in May, Blue Zones collaborates with local leaders to assess readiness and build a plan for change. The Blue Zones team, made up of global experts in food systems, the built environment, tobacco and alcohol use, health equity, and happiness, will work with local experts and leaders to assess the highest priority needs and opportunities, as well as strengths and challenges.

Ben Leedle, CEO of Blue Zones said, “We are excited to learn from and share our knowledge with Jacksonville leaders, and we applaud Baptist Health for spearheading this movement. Improved well-being leads to healthier and happier residents, a better and more productive workforce, and a more vibrant economy. We are excited to create a transformation plan for Jacksonville that will improve the lives of current and future generations.”

For more information on Blue Zones Activate or to learn how to get involved, visit

About Blue Zones®
Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The company’s work is rooted in explorations and research done by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner in Blue Zones regions around the world, where people live extraordinarily long and/or happy lives. The original research and findings were released in Buettner's bestselling books The Blue Zones Solution, The Blue Zones of Happiness, The Blue Zones, Thrive, and Blue Zones Kitchen—all published by National Geographic books. Using original Blue Zones research, Blue Zones works with cities and counties to make healthy choices easier through permanent and semi-permanent changes to our human-made surroundings. Participating communities have experienced double-digit drops in obesity and tobacco use and have saved millions of dollars in healthcare costs. For more information, visit

About Baptist Health
Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system in Northeast Florida comprised of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; Baptist Clay Medical Campus and Wolfson Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. All Baptist Health hospitals, along with Baptist Home Health Care, have achieved Magnet™ status for excellence in patient care. Baptist Health is part of Coastal Community Health, a highly integrated regional hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. Baptist Health has the area’s only dedicated heart hospital; orthopedic institute; women’s services; neurological institute, including comprehensive neurosurgical services, a comprehensive stroke center and two primary stroke centers; a Bariatric Center of Excellence; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; urgent care services; and primary and specialty care physicians’ offices throughout Northeast Florida. The Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center is a regional destination for multidisciplinary cancer care, which is clinically integrated with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the internationally renowned cancer treatment and research institution in Houston. For more details, visit

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