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Florida Blue Foundation Announces Sapphire Award Winners
$365,000 awarded to honorees
(April 20, 2017)

KISSIMMEE, Fla., April 20, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Florida Blue Foundation concluded its two-day Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards today, awarding $365,000 to 15 Florida finalists in recognition of excellence and innovation in community health. Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty presented winners with the event's signature sapphire blue trophies.

The Foundation awarded $50,000 to the winner in each of the three categories:

  • Individual winner Dr. Edward Shahady of Duval County developed an innovative diabetes prevention program that uses an internet-based registry to measure quality of care, resulting in better care for diabetes patients and a reduction in heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, amputations, suffering and cost of care. The Diabetes Master Clinician Program has assisted more than 15,000 patients, 100 practices, 400 clinicians, and 1,000 nurses and medical assistants in Florida to improve the quality of care for diabetes patients.
  • Fit2Play, a childhood obesity prevention program of the Miami-Dade Parks Foundation, won the program category. It is the gold standard park-based afterschool program model of the National Parks and Recreation Association. The daily program includes Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) and EmpowerMe4Life, a nutrition education curriculum grounded in the American Heart Association's recommendations.
  • FoundCare of Palm Beach County won the organization category for the operation of a Health Center and Comprehensive AIDS Program (CAP) that fulfills unmet health care and social service needs. The Health Center provides access to high-quality primary health care services without regard to patients' ability to pay. CAP provides and promotes education, advocacy and compassionate services for individuals and families affected by HIV.

"The state of Florida is fortunate to have so many outstanding individuals, programs and organizations focusing on community health," said Florida Blue Foundation Vice President Susan Towler. "They all care deeply about the people they serve, and they are a major force in helping Florida Blue in its mission to help people and communities achieve better health."

The Sapphire Awards presented in each category were:

Individual category
Winner - Edward J. Shahady, MD (Duval), $50,000
Runner-up - Michael L. Cunningham (Monroe), $20,000
Runner-up - Colleen Gonzalez (Orange), $20,000
Honorable mention - Teddy Floyd (Indian River), $10,000
Honorable mention - Butch McKay (Okaloosa), $10,000

Program category

Winner - Fit2Play- Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade (Miami-Dade), $50,000
Runner-up - Direct On Scene Education - Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (Broward), $25,000
Runner-up - Girl Matters - Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Inc. (Duval), $25,000
Honorable mention - Fresh Stop Bus - Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc. (Orange), $10,000
Honorable mention - Healthy Lifestyle Initiative - Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County (Broward), $10,000

Organization category
Winner - FoundCare, Inc. (Palm Beach), $50,000
Runner-up - DLC Nurse and Learn, Inc. (Duval), $25,000
Runner-up - Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Inc. (Palm Beach), 25,000
Runner-up - Jewish Family and Community Services (Duval), $25,000
Honorable mention - BASIC NWFL, Inc. (Bay), $10,000

Videos available on Florida Blue's YouTube page.

About Florida Blue Foundation
Founded in 2001, the Foundation's mission is to help people and communities achieve better health. The Foundation strategically allocates grants toward philanthropic, community-based solutions through its focus areas and programs that focus on health solutions. 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

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida

Copyright 2014 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved

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