JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Florida Blue Foundation has chosen 13 finalists from around the state for its 2016 Sapphire Awards and $350,000 in grants. The awards honor outstanding individuals, programs and nonprofit organizations in community health care, or health care-related fields, whose work is distinguished by leadership, innovation and achievements in community health. The winners will be announced at the conclusion of the two-day Sapphire Symposium, titled "Health Transformation: The Power of Engagement," that takes place April 20-21 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando and features several community health experts from around the state and country.
The finalists in each of the three categories are:
- Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Tampa
- Osceola County Council on Aging, Kissimmee
- HANDS of St. Lucie County, Fort Pierce
- MBF Child Safety Matters - Monique Burr Foundation, Jacksonville
- Smiles Across Miami - Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale
- Bithlo Transformation Effort: Dental Care Access Program – Florida Hospital, Orlando
- Pediatric Mobile Clinic - University of Miami, Miami
- Bakari Burns, Orlando
- Richard Christensen, Jacksonville
- Doug Kent, Bay and Gulf counties
- Aggie Pappas, Fort Lauderdale
- Jasmin Denise Shirley, Fort Lauderdale
- Bret Smith, Kissimmee
Finalists were selected from among 112 nominees. An independent panel of experts with state and national expertise in community health best practices will select the winner in each category.
Since 2005, Florida Blue Foundation has presented 60 Sapphire Awards, totaling more than $3.4 million in grants, to nine individuals and 51 programs and organizations from across Florida.
"This group of finalists truly represents the outstanding individuals, programs and nonprofit organizations that stood out as the best in their categories," said Susan Towler, Florida Blue Foundation vice president. "The Foundation is proud to recognize them as finalists for the excellent work they are doing to make Florida a healthier state."
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.
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SOURCE Florida Blue Foundation