Miami Community’s Limited Healthcare Access

Table of Contents


Miami is a city with a great history located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Founded around a century ago – in 1896, – it expanded to become the 44th most populated city in the United States. Still, long before it sprung up on the banks of Miami River, early indigenous people, as well as European immigrants, settled this territory because of sufficient food supply and comfortable climate. Nevertheless, it became uninhabited soon after the explosion of numerous wars in the US. However, at the end of the nineteenth century, the decision to incorporate a city was made because of an advantageous geographical location and vast opportunities for developing infrastructure (railroad system). Since then, a promotional campaign aimed at increasing the population of the city was launched. Therefore, over a century, Miami known as the “Magic City” has turned into a developed urban territory with the area of 35.87 square miles (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015). It is attractive for visitors and comfortable for residents (“City of Miami History,” 2015).

Physical Environmental Considerations: Community as a Place

Miami city is located at Miami River mouth. Its coordinates are 25°46′31″N (latitude) 80°12′32″W (longitude). Being located at a lower east coast of Florida, it is boarded on the Atlantic Ocean and borders with Florida Everglades (“City of Miami,” 2015). Due to Miami’s topographic specificities, the climate is semi-tropical with warm summers and dry winters. At the same time, humidity levels are constantly high. It leads to the increased risks of hurricanes (“Miami: Geography and climate,” 2017). As for flora and fauna, it is similar to that of Florida. There is a great variety of tree species (oaks, pines, and cypresses are the most common ones) and abundance of flowers. Speaking of fauna, there are more than 60 species of reptiles, almost 240 species of birds, around 50 species of mammals, and more than 35 species of fish (Time out Miami, 2013).

Due to Miami’s geographic location, food and water supply are uninterrupted. There are special procedures for garbage collection (it is completely automated) and solid sanitation (“Garbage collection,” 2016). Still, being an urban territory, the problem of air pollution is significant due to gas emissions and industrial exhaustions. Nevertheless, the overall condition of air is estimated as good with no risks of critical health messages connected to toxic substances or pollutants (“Miami,” 2017). On the other hand, the risks of water pollution with industrial chemicals and pesticides are high. Finally, due to the commonality of hurricanes, the level of preparation for natural disasters is adequate.

Speaking of housing, there were 183,994 housing units in 2010. They are both public and private, rented (69%) and owned (31%) (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015). The issues of housing are governed by the Housing Division of the Department of Community development. Numerous initiatives aimed at increasing access to housing facilities for low- and middle-income residents imply offering loans and grants to potential homebuyers (“Housing Division,” n.d.). There are special programs for assisting special populations: City of Miami Homeless Assistance Program (shelter and housing) and community support for frail elderly (“City of Miami Homeless Assistance Program,” n.d.; “Services to city residents,” n.d.).

In Miami, tourism, trade, international banking, agriculture, and manufacturing (laboratory testing and transport equipment, aluminum, plastics, electronic components, etc.) are the major industries. Therefore, hospitality and entertainment facilities, banks, and trading centers are the primary employers (“Miami: Economy,” 2017).

People of the Community

As of 2015, the total population of Miami is 441,003 people, and it is constantly growing. Most people move to Miami due to attractive employment and social protection perspectives. Therefore, mobility trends are positive. Population density is 11,135 people per square mile (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015). There are different types of families – single-parent, nuclear, extended, childless, same-sex, and interracial. As for age distribution, figures are as follows: 6% of kids under 5 years, 18.4% of persons under 18, and 16% of adults over 65 years. Speaking of gender distribution, there are 50.2% of female residents and 49.8% of males. White people make up the majority of the population (72.6%) followed by African Americans (19.2%), and Hispanic or Latino (7%). Asians (1%) American Indians (0.3%) are the minorities (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015).

The mortality rate is constantly decreasing due to significant improvements in the healthcare sector. The death rate is slightly higher than 25%, while the birth rate is around 13%. The infant mortality rate is 4.8%, while the maternal death rate is 20.2%. Cancer (17.5%), heart (13.3%) and lung diseases (7.8%), and diabetes (21.6%) are the major death causes (“Miami-Dade County community,” 2017).

Psychological and Socioeconomic Considerations

Primary psychological considerations are related to common sources of stress. As for now, the unemployment rate is 5.2%. In this way, it is one of stress sources. Even though future economic and health-related prospects are positive and social protection programs are adequate, the risks of increased unemployment rate are significant due to positive trends in mobility. At the same time, homicide and suicide rates are high. It points to the existence of another psychological issue in the community.

As for socioeconomic considerations, they are as well connected to undesirable changes in the unemployment rate. More than that, average hourly wages in Miami are lower compared to the rest of the states. Average family income is $31,051 and 28.3% of residents live in poverty (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015). Speaking of the community’s educational level, the majority of the population has access to school education (73.2%), while only 24.4% of residents have a bachelor or higher degree. Religious distribution of residents is the following: 40.59% of people are religious. Among them, 22.45% are Catholic, 5.95% affiliate to other Christian faiths, 1.15% are Jewish, and 0.94% are Muslim. Finally, although English is the main language for work-related communication, 76.9% of people speak language other than English at home (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015).

Government and Education

Miami’s governmental system is well-organized. Mayor and Board of Commissioners govern all primary issues. At the same time, city offices are located close to transport junctions and open during working hours. As for education facilities, there are both public (392) and private (around 20) schools and centers, 14 colleges and universities, and libraries. Transportation system is well-developed, as the average time of travel from home to work is less than 30 minutes (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015). More than that, there are services for special populations (pregnant teens and people with disabilities), such as community support initiatives.

Behavioral and Health System Considerations

Food expenditures make up around 13% of annual household expenditures. Bakery products, nonalcoholic beverages, poultry, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, and rice are in a higher spending category. Sugar and sweets, processed vegetables, and dairy products are in a lower spending category. Still, the consumption of sugar and fats is high compared to other states (Dotson, 2015). In addition, there are other troubling health-related behaviors, such as substance abuse that lead to both impaired health and deaths, and this trend is increasing (Hall, 2014). As for leisure pursuit, the most loved activities are snorkeling, attending cinemas, opera, symphony, and museums as well as visiting Miami Zoo, Little Havana, and Jungle Island (“Leisure activities in Miami,” n.d.). At the same time, Miami is known for festivals, carnivals, and fashion weeks.

Speaking of the operation of health care system, the level of performance is satisfactory. Most health-related needs are addressed properly. Still, there are some significant challenges, as 35% of people are not insured (“Quick facts: Miami, Florida,” 2015). It means that the access to professional care is limited, especially keeping in mind that private facilities are predominant. Moreover, ethnic minorities do not have adequate access to care (Purnell, 2013). State budget and private donations are the main sources of financing health care.

Problem Statement and Plan of Action

Based on the community assessment, it is evident that the limited access to health care services is the major problem in Miami. In order to cope with the challenge, it is essential to develop a comprehensive plan of action. It should focus on the needs of minorities. The idea is to promote a culturally competent approach to treating patients. It should involve not only appropriate non-verbal communication skills but also steps for overcoming the language barrier. This objective can be achieved by introducing educational programs on cultural competency and hiring bilingual staff or interpreters. Another way to address language-related issues is to implement the newest technologies, such as Web-based multilingual translation tools to enhance communication between staff and patients.


City of Miami History. (2015). Web.

City of Miami Homeless Assistance Program. (n.d.). Web.

City of Miami. (2015). Web.

Dotson, M. (2015). Eating and drinking in Miami: Consumer expenditures, 2010-14. Web.

Garbage collection. (2016). Web.

Hall, J. N. (2014). Drug abuse trends in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, South Florida. Web.

Housing Division. (n.d.). Web.

Leisure activities in Miami. (n.d.). Web.

Miami-Dade County community health report card. (2017). Web.

Miami: Economy. (2017). Web.

Miami: Geography and climate. (2017). Web.

Miami. (2017). Web.

Purnell, L. D. (2013). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

Quick facts: Miami, Florida. (2015). Web.

Services to city residents. (n.d.). Web.

Time out Miami and the Florida keys (6th ed.). (2013). London, England: TimeOut.

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