Florida Blue Foundation Honors Health Nonprofits Improving the Health Care System
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The winners of the 2014 Sapphire Awards were announced by the Florida Blue Foundation at an awards luncheon today in St. Augustine, Fla. The winning individuals, programs and organizations, selected from more than 100 nominees across the state, were recognized and awarded for excellence and innovation in nonprofit community health. The winners and honorees have made a significant, positive impact on health-related outcomes for Florida’s at-risk people and communities.
“The Sapphire Awards recognize the outstanding people, organizations and programs that have proven success helping the most underserved members of our communities,” said Susan Towler, vice president, Florida Blue Foundation. “We are proud to shine a spotlight on the winners and honorees. They are models for how to help people and communities achieve better health.”
The following organizations, categories and individuals were recognized:
Big Bend Cares, the only agency providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS services in the eight-county Big Bend region of Tallahassee was honored as a Winner in this category and awarded $100,000. Big Bend Cares reached more than 22,000 individuals for HIV/AIDS education and outreach last year, an increase from the previous year of 10 percent.
Chapman Partnership, operating two homeless assistance centers with 800 beds located in Miami and Homestead, offering health, dental and psychiatric care, was honored as a Winner in this category and awarded $100,000. The Chapman Partnership reports a 63 percent success rate of moving people from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELPTM (Health Education Learning Program) at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, has shown the program’s monitored households who used the emergency department on a regular basis for health care, decreased from 61 percent to 26 percent. The program was honored as Winner in this category and awarded $60,000.
Paul Ahr, Ph.D., M.P.A., president and CEO of Camillus House in Miami, was honored as Winner in this category and awarded $50,000. Camillus House is a nonprofit organization in the Miami area that provides humanitarian services to persons who are poor and/or homeless, providing housing to 1,000 persons per night.
Estrellita “Lo” Berry, M.A., president and CEO, REACHUP, Inc., in the Tampa area, was honored with Honorable Mention and awarded $25,000. REACHUP is a nationally recognized program that, according to a University of South Florida evaluation study, results in a significantly lower chance for low preterm birth, low birth weight and infant mortality for program participants. REACHUP, Inc. with Central Hillsborough Healthy Start (CHHS) serves more than 1,200 families a year and intensely case manages approximately 550 families annually.
Susan Widmayer, Ph.D., founder and former executive director, Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale, was honored with Honorable Mention and awarded $25,000. The CDTC serves annually more than 11,000 Broward County children with disabilities, developmental delays, and chronic and terminal illnesses and their families, many of whom live in impoverished conditions. Since its inception, more than 200,000 children have been served.
The Sapphire Awards is a highly competitive nomination program. Nominations were reviewed and finalists selected by a prestigious, external panel of experts in the field of health and health care related fields.
This year’s ceremony was held at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort Convention Center. The two-day event included an expanded program that featured national experts addressing rural health care in Florida, the Affordable Care Act, emerging trends and innovation in health care delivery systems and other timely topics.
* Images and video of the Sapphire Awards honorees are available by contacting Mark Wright.
About the Florida Blue Foundation
Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc. Florida Blue Foundation is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company. The Foundation and its parent are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.bluefoundationfl.com.