The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County (DOH-Okaloosa) has several remaining town hall meetings to present its findings in the Community Health Assessment (CHA). The information presented impacts personal citizens, families, local government and the community, while giving opportunities and assistance on how to get involved and make a difference in your community. 

Sample findings being addressed or considered in 2017 include: (Stats)

The Florida Healthy Babies initiative continues. The leading cause of infant injury death is suffocation, due to unsafe sleep practices.

Tobacco is still a huge issue and 13 percent of pregnant women in Okaloosa smoke, almost double the state percentage!

Motor vehicle accidents are deadlier and more likely to involve alcohol in Okaloosa.

The Sheriff’s Office reported a 386 percent increase in heroin and Fentanyl related arrests from 2014-2016.

Girls ages 13-18 are 16 percent more likely to give birth as a teen than other girls in Florida.

Pedestrian residents in Okaloosa are 3.4 times more likely to die walking across the street than Floridians.

Infectious diseases, diabetes, injury and death are all part of the study … 

We invite everyone to come out to a town hall meeting. You will learn some interesting facts, learn more about your specific area and how you can make a difference. 

The first draft of the CHA seeks to get feedback from the community residents, prior to its final publication in September. “We want to hear what residents have to say about the data we have gathered over the last year, and I think they will find the information interesting and even surprising,” stated Dr. Karen Chapman, Director of DOH-Okaloosa. “The overall goal of the assessment is to identify and address health needs in our community.” 

The CHA makes health comparisons of Okaloosa residents to residents throughout the state and even the nation, in some instances. Leading causes of death, infectious diseases, teen pregnancy, tobacco, physical health, food access, infant and child health, as well as the environment in which we live, are just part of the study. These factors provide valuable information about the overall health of Okaloosa County and the impact on all residents. Remaining Town Hall Meetings are listed below:


Fort Walton Beach Town Hall

August 14th, 2017, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center

233 NE Racetrack Rd., Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547


Holt Town Hall

August 17th, 2017, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

First Baptist Church of Holt

532 US-90, Holt, FL 32564


Destin Town Hall

August 22nd, 2017, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Destin Community Center

101 Stahlman Ave., Destin, FL 32541


Baker Town Hall

August 29th, 2017, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church

5595 Highway 4, Baker, FL 32531


Laurel Hill Town Hall

September 5th, 2017, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

The Barn at Water Oaks Farm

4080 2nd Ave., Laurel Hill, FL 32567


The CHA is already showing signs of success, since its start in 2011. The 5210 Healthy Okaloosa Initiative began with the CHA and today has made an enormous impact on healthier meals in schools and childcare centers, as well as improved health in the workplace. The tobacco programs in school, such as the SWAT clubs (Students Working Against Tobacco), have had a positive impact on so many of our students and no doubt, kept our youth from ever trying nicotine! 

The purpose of the CHA study every five years gives us an opportunity to select unhealthy factors in our County and improve on them for an overall healthier County. It is our hope that residents will take the time to attend a town hall meeting near you. To view the CHA, visit