TBHC is a model of and vehicle for collaboration, bringing together a wide spectrum of healthcare stakeholders. No other entity in Tampa Bay has such a unique combination of members and partners.
TBHC began during the summer of 2001 stemming from a series of discussions with organizations that had or were being funded by Allegany Franciscan Ministries, Tampa Bay, Inc. Initial conversations centered on the need for a comprehensive, coordinated delivery process for community based organizations serving the uninsured and under-insured populations in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Approximately 50 representatives from around Tampa Bay joined together at this inaugural event to discuss goals and objectives. A planning group was formed to develop recommendations toward working together around common issues. A facilitator was engaged to assist the group in organizational development including establishing priorities forming operational guidelines, and creating a workplan.
A Program Coordinator was hired in October 2002 to provide staff support and help create the infrastructure necessary to enable collaborative learning and activities.
Articles of Incorporation were filed January 2003 with a stated purpose of ‘coordinating resources, information, and efforts of our member nonprofit agencies to improve the health, well-being, and safety of people in need throughout the Tampa Bay region’; they were later refined to promote health, wellness & safety of individuals through coordination of existing resources and removing barriers to healthcare access.
In May 2003, TBHC hosted ‘Building a Bridge for Healthier Communities across Tampa Bay Region – a full-day community forum featuring local experts speaking about emerging issues faced by the uninsured and underinsured. The group obtained consensus in August 2003 to seek 501c3 status and began developing its foundation as a member organization by securing membership applications and letters of agreement from participating organizations and agencies.
During subsequent years, the Collaborative established itself as an advocate for the uninsured, began forming committees to meet member identified needs and initiated programming to address emerging needs (i.e. advocacy workshops, emergency/disaster preparedness technical assistance and capacity building training). Currently TBHC maintains three committees (Advocacy, Health Equity and Wellness), coordinates three key initiatives (Achieving Oral Health Equity in Tampa Bay, Cultural and Linguistic Competency Cohort and JUMP Capacity Building Initiative) and serves as the fiscal agent for a group of employee wellness professionals, the Wellness Council of Tampa Bay.
Periodically, the Collaborative assists with collaborative projects, facilitates and participates in community assessment activities to help identify and ensure current community needs are being addressed, and convenes community forums to explore trending issues. TBHC is staffed by a full-time Executive Director, Program Manager and Program Coordinator. Support for special projects and additional activities are augmented by a cadre of consultants specializing in areas such as program evaluation and marketing and branding.