ORLANDO, Fla., April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Florida Blue Foundation announced the honorees of the Sapphire Awards today from among 13 finalists and 112 nominees from around the state. The awards, totaling $350,000, 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 awards ceremony concluded the two-day Sapphire Symposium that featured several community health experts from around the state and country.
Winners include an Orlando-area program that increases access to dental care, a pediatric mobile clinic in Miami, a Tampa group that focuses on quality perinatal care and a psychiatrist from Jacksonville who worked with the homeless population.
"We are honored today to recognize these community health leaders and nonprofits who embody our foundation's mission to provide effective solutions for their clients," said Susan Towler, Florida Blue Foundation vice president. "The Foundation is proud to recognize them for the excellent work they are doing to make Florida a healthier state."
The winners, runners-up and honorable mentions in each of the three categories are:
- Winner - Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Tampa, $50,000
- Runner-up - HANDS of St. Lucie County, Fort Pierce, $20,000
- Runner-up - Osceola County Council on Aging, Kissimmee, $20,000
- Winner - Bithlo Transformation Effort: Dental Care Access Program – Florida Hospital, Orlando, $50,000
- Winner - Pediatric Mobile Clinic - University of Miami, Miami, $50,000
- Runner-up - MBF Child Safety Matters - Monique Burr Foundation, Jacksonville, $20,000
- Runner-up - Smiles Across Miami - Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, $20,000
- Winner - Richard Christensen, Jacksonville $50,000
- Runner-up - Doug Kent, Bay and Gulf counties, $20,000
- Runner-up - Jasmin Denise Shirley, Fort Lauderdale, $20,000
- Honorable mention - Bakari Burns, Orlando, $10,000
- Honorable mention - Aggie Pappas, Fort Lauderdale, $10,000
- Honorable mention - Bret Smith, Kissimmee, $10,000
An independent panel of experts with state and national expertise in community health best practices selected the honorees in each category.
Since 2005, Florida Blue Foundation has presented 73 Sapphire Awards, totaling more than $3.75 million, to 15 individuals and 58 programs and organizations from across Florida.
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.
SOURCE Florida Blue