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A Day Concentrated on Healing Our Community

The theme of the day was “Healing Our Community” and it’s clear that the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce’s Healthcare Committee met its mission.

Sunshine Health’s Perspectives on Florida’s Healthcare presented by Broward Health was held on November 8th at the Signature Grand in Davie, beginning with the Excellence in Healthcare Awards. Following this year’s tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; concentration was put on those going above and beyond to help heal emotional and physical wounds.

This year, the Chamber’s Healthcare Committee, led by Chair Ashley Boxer and Co-Chairs Suzanne Higgins and Cynthia Peterson, put the focus on honoring a first responder, an individual healthcare professional, a nurse, a volunteer and a healthcare program. The honorees in the respective categories were Hollywood EMS Chief Chris Del Campo, Maria Albury from Wilton Manors Health & Rehabilitation Center, Colleen Brennan-Doran from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Art Schmall who volunteers at VITAS, and the Florida Firefighter Safety & Health Collaborative.


With more than 150 healthcare professionals from an array of organizations in attendance, the Excellence in Healthcare Awards came to a touching end, when the GFLCC paid tribute to the courageous survivors and the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A Life Changing Award was presented to MSD’s student body in recognition of the school’s resilience and the powerful message of hope for change that resonated across the country and around the world, following the tragic event in Parkland. On hand to receive the award were students Max Wolfman, Jordyn Hersch, Ethan Rocha, Sam Resnick and Noah Kaufman along with student advisor Danielle Driscoll. Along with the Life Changing Award, Entercom Communications presented an incredible piece of artwork created by artist Michael Israel. The painting symbolizing the student body’s strength was unveiled during the ceremony and donated to the school.



Following breakfast, the theme of the day continued to take center stage. An insurance panel moderated by Florida Blue’s Doug Bartel put a heavy emphasis on what employers are doing to help workers with matters of mental health. The panel formed by Cigna’s Gail Smith, March & McLennan’s Becky Luttbeg and Sunshine Health’s Kimberly Purinton spoke for about an hour on what improvements are being made and what still needs to be addressed.


The conversation flowed well, when it came to the Behaviorial Health Panel’s discussion, during lunch at the conference. The United Way of Broward County’s Kathleen Cannon moderated a panel consisiting of Juder Giner Lerner-Wren, Florida State Senator Lauren Book and Dr. Steve Ronik who serves as CEO at Henderson Behavioral Health. The panel spoke about battling the stigma of mental health and the obstacles that remain, when trying to provide help for patients diagnosed with mental health problems.


In between the panel discussions, attendees also had a chance to sit down for a speed dating session with a who’s who of leadership at South Florida hospitals. The panel included: Dr. Edward Abraham, CEO of UHealth and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Miami, Nancy Batista-Rodriguez, CEO at Baptist Outpatient Services at Baptist Health South Florida, Ozzie Delgado, COO of Cleveland Clinic Florid, Aurelio M. Fernandez, President  & CEO of Memorial Healthcare System, Michael Harrington, President & COO of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Dr. Patrick Taylor, President & CEO of Holy Cross Hospital and Jon Turton, CEO of Broward Health Medical Center.

Guest were also afforded the opportunity to take attend an ENCORE presentation presented by Cigna, which shared the results of its Loneliness Study. Gail Smith led the session at the close of the day and you can watch the presentation at

Posted by: Mike Cobelo @ 10:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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