The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce’s Healthcare Committee helped bring hundreds of healthcare professionals together for an important day of discussion, while honoring some of South Florida’s healthcare heroes, during Sunshine Health’s Perspectives on Florida’s Healthcare presented by Broward Health.
This year’s event started with the Excellence in Healthcare Awards Breakfast, which drew more than 200 professionals to the Signature Grand. The celebration began with 2019’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Cynthia Peterson, Chief Executive Officer of Broward County Medical Association. For decades, Cynthia has served in leadership roles for several organizations. As described in her introduction, “when Cynthia is on a Board [of Directors], she’s not just in it, she puts her all into it.” This Lifetime Achievement Award added to a career filled with incredible accolades and awards. Cynthia has previously been recognized by the American Lung Association of Florida, March of Dimes, Nova Southeastern University and Florida Healthcare Coalition to name a few.
The morning also belonged to several other healthcare professionals, who have made an indelible impact within our community. Within the First Responder category, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan and Kelly Keys of Broward Health were honored. Those in attendance also learned about the lifechanging efforts of Light of the World Clinic and Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward, which were recognized for excellence as healthcare programs.
As individual healthcare professionals, Dr. Michal A. Chizner and Thomas Dalton of VITAS Healthcare were honored for the contributions they make daily. Kristin Schroder-Brown of Holy Cross Hospital was honored for her incredible work as a nurse and Commissioner Andrew Klein’s volunteer work at Broward Health was highlighted, as he was awarded this year’s Excellence in Volunteerism.
Following the awards breakfast, attention shifted to this year’s theme – “Caring for Our Community.” Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Dan Lindblade explained how the Healthcare Committee reached this year’s focus, saying “we have the largest number of individuals retiring from work and going to age in place. How are we going to take care of all those people?” Lindblade added, “Some of you, like me, have been dealing with those questions. For me, my 92-year-old mother, I had to move her over from Naples and figure out ‘where am I going to have her stay and live the rest of her years?’”
Furthermore, Chris Coffey, Plan President & CEO for Sunshine Health – this year’s title sponsor- made remarks that correlated with the morning’s panel discussion “Aging in Place: Preparing for the Boomer Explosion.” Coffey said, “locally older adults make up nearly one-quarter of Broward County’s population—nearly 430,000 residents. We know our 80-84-year-old population will grow by more than 73 percent by 2030. In fact, Broward County has the fastest growing 85+ population in the state.”
HIGHLIGHTS OF AGING IN PLACE: PREPARING FOR THE BOOMER EXPLOSION PANEL
Moderator Sheri Brown, Community Foundation of Broward
“10,000 boomers are turning 65 every single day. This will continue well into the 2030s. This boomer explosion is turning into what we call the ‘silver tsunami.’”
Dr. Katherine Friedebach, Sunshine Health
“The vast majority of seniors prefer to live at home. How do we make sure that their home environment is safe for them. Look at our real estate investments. What are the small things that we can do that will really improve the safety of an aging individual living in that setting?”
Mercedes Kerr, Belmont Village Senior Living
“Try to create a wellness inspired aging process, where you may prevent or manage chronic instances more adequately and access the medical system in a more purposeful way, so that you’re not always manning an emergency room for any and all things.”
Gerald “Jerry” Wilmink, CarePredict
“On the predictive side, we understand that seniors want to age in place and we need to give them the tools. Not just for them, but also for the peace of mind of caregivers. That is the heart of the challenge. We are at a shortage of caregivers, whether its personal or professional, and we need more eyeballs. That’s what machines and technology can provide.”
Presenting partner, Broward Health, was on hand to acknowledge the growing need for care in our state. Netonua Reyes, who serves as Broward Health Imperial Points CEO and CNO, state that “with a team of more than 1,800 affiliated positions and 8,000 employees, Broward Health is committed to providing the highest quality care for you and your family….We hope our culture of kindness and compassion extends to you and your family when you need it the most.”
Netonua Reyes also took part in a session that has become increasingly popular with each passing year, the “CEO Speed Dating Panel. Reyes was joined by c-level executives: Nancy Batista-Rodriguez of Baptist Health, Stephen L. Dembers of UHealth, Alexis Espinosa of Cleveland Clinic Weston, Aurelio M. Hernandez of Memorial Healthcare System, Matthew A. Love of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Jeffrey Welch of Florida Medical Center.
The CEO Speed Dating Panel was moderated by Kathryn Salerno of Broward Health, who co-chaired the Perspectives on Florida’s Healthcare committee alongside Valerie Vitale of Trustbridge Hospice Foundation. The Chamber would like to thank the tireless efforts of the entire Healthcare Committee led by Chair Suzanne Higgins of Henderson Behavioral Health.