(1) The Legislature finds that despite state investments in health care programs, certain racial and ethnic populations in Florida continue to have significantly poorer health outcomes when compared to non-Hispanic whites. The Legislature finds that local solutions to health care problems can have a dramatic and positive effect on the health status of these populations. Local governments and communities are best equipped to identify the health education, health promotion, and disease prevention needs of the racial and ethnic populations in their communities, mobilize the community to address health outcome disparities, enlist and organize local public and private resources, and faith-based organizations to address these disparities, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.
(2) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to provide funds within Florida counties and Front Porch Florida Communities, in the form of Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities: Closing the Gap grants, to stimulate the development of community-based and neighborhood-based projects which will improve the health outcomes of racial and ethnic populations. Further, it is the intent of the Legislature that these programs foster the development of coordinated, collaborative, and broad-based participation by public and private entities, and faith-based organizations. Finally, it is the intent of the Legislature that the grant program function as a partnership between state and local governments, faith-based organizations, and private sector health care providers, including managed care, voluntary health care resources, social service providers, and nontraditional partners.