2017 Community Health Symposium Honors Community Leaders

Posted on Apr 17th 2017 by Toni Woods

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The Florida Blue Foundation will present its 2017 Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards, Creating a Culture of Health, April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Fla. As the capstone of the event, the Foundation will award $365,000 in grants to 15 finalists from across Florida at the Sapphire Awards as a way to recognize excellence and innovation in community health. Winners will be announced by Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty.

The annual two-day event features sessions, roundtable discussions, professional development and networking for more than 400 executives from health care, government, higher education and nonprofit organizations. Presenters and speakers include national, regional and Florida-based experts on a variety of issues affecting communities as it relates to health and health care policy. 

“All of the Sapphire Awards finalists have made a measurable difference in the health of their communities,” said Susan Towler, vice president of the Florida Blue Foundation. “While the national health care policy discussion continues, these groups deliver the day-to-day help people need to improve their health.”

The community health work represented by the finalists includes school health clinics, food delivery services to the underserved, innovations in diabetes care, student wellness programs, mental health services, HIV/AIDS care and many other services.  

The 15 Sapphire Awards finalists and the counties they represent are:

Individual category         

Michael L. Cunningham (Monroe)                              

Teddy Floyd (Indian River)            

Colleen Gonzalez (Orange)

Butch McKay (Okaloosa)                                                       

Edward J. Shahady, MD (Duval)

Program category

Direct On Scene Education - Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (Broward)        

Fit2Play™- Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade (Miami-Dade)                          

Fresh Stop Bus - Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc. (Orange)                                            

Girl Matters®  - Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Inc. (Duval)                 

Healthy Lifestyle Initiative - Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County (Broward)                                                          

Organization category

BASIC NWFL, Inc. (Bay)

DLC Nurse and Learn, Inc. (Duval)

Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Inc. (Palm Beach)                  

FoundCare, Inc. (Palm Beach)   

Jewish Family and Community Services (Duval)


Individuals or organizations interested in attending the Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center may register at www.FloridaBlueFoundation.com.


About Florida Blue Foundation

Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of 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.floridabluefoundation.com.


Filed under: Community  

Toni Woods

Toni Woods is a Senior Media Relations Consultant for Florida Blue. She has worked in communications for more than 20 years in the health care, energy and sports industries, working with media around the world. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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