SARASOTA — The Department of Health-Sarasota isn’t just an Age-Friendly Public Health System. It’s the first local health department to become one.

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) conferred the honor on Oct. 20.

The recognition program is designed to encourage and support state and local health departments to embrace their role in improving and supporting older adult health, according to a news release.

To earn recognition, the department had to take 10 action steps, including data collection, listening directly to older adults to learn what matters to them and collaboration across sectors.

“Recognition as an Age-Friendly Public Health System validates our efforts to be intentional in addressing the public health needs of older adults,” Sarasota County Health Officer Chuck Henry said in the release. “I am proud of our entire team and their work to earn this recognition.”

Among its efforts to achieve AFPHS recognition, DOH-Sarasota conducted several assessments, including a citizens’ opinion survey; developed a countywide, multi-agency program to provide food to residents during the pandemic; developed a multi-year Community Health Improvement Plan; and recently completed its fifth-year cycle as a member of AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, the release states.

“We are proud of the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County for taking the initiative to focus on older adult health and to see them receive this recognition from TFAH,” said Mark Lander, deputy secretary of County Health Systems.

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