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By Daniel Casciato

Broward Health is celebrating its 85th year of providing quality healthcare to the people it serves while supporting the needs of all physicians and employees.

The healthcare system, founded in 1938, has grown from a small hospital in downtown Fort Lauderdale to four hospitals and more than 30 locations throughout South Florida. This milestone anniversary is a testament to the commitment and dedication of Broward Health’s staff and leadership, who strive to deliver high-quality patient care while advancing medical research and education.

“We’ve been essential to the community for 85 years,” says Shane Strum, Broward Health’s president and CEO. “Our first hospital opened about 20 years after Broward County was founded, and since then, we’ve grown alongside and evolved with the community to meet its health care needs.”

Providing world-class healthcare

Strum says the organization has remained committed to focusing on the needs of the people it serves.

“We’re committed to building a healthier region,” says Strum. “Our residents have built a bond with Broward Health over the years, whether they were born here, had a child who was born here, or received care with us. We have been with the community from the beginning and have built a remarkable relationship.”

Strum points out that the healthcare system has always been at the forefront regarding healthcare.

“For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were the first in the area to offer the vaccine to the public and set up monoclonal antibody sites,” he explains. “In fact, we partnered with Inter Miami CF and the city of Fort Lauderdale to hold the largest vaccination site in the area and helped deliver many vaccines to everyone in the community.”

In addition to being early adopters of technology, Broward Health has become known for its innovative treatments over the years. For example, the health system is at the forefront of Alzheimer’s disease research with its launch of a groundbreaking clinical trial, in partnership with the University of Florida and Insightec.

This innovative trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Exablate Model 4000 Type 2.0/2.1 System as a tool to disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease. The clinical trial uses a non-invasive MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) technology to target specific areas in the brain. Focused ultrasound can disrupt the blood-brain barrier through a non-invasive technique, allowing for a temporary opening where the amyloid plaque burden may be reduced.

Strum says Broward Health is proud to lead the charge in finding treatments for Alzheimer’s and remains committed to accelerating progress against this debilitating disease.

Broward Health is also investing more funds into its cardiovascular and graduate medical education programs to provide greater access to advanced cardiac care while training physicians of the future.

“We’re focused on growing our graduate medical education and nurse residency programs. Those are critical,” stresses Strum. “That’s a pipeline for tomorrow’s talent. These physicians and nurses are the ones who are going to be providing the care for years to come.”

There are also some key developments Strum is looking forward to in the short term.

Through a partnership, Broward Health and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital are coming together to provide emergency services to residents in Sunrise. To better serve the community, the two organizations are bringing an adult and pediatric freestanding emergency room to an area that is currently considered a medical desert.

“We’re really excited about this,” says Strum. “Both adults and children will soon have access to the highest level of emergency care in the city of Sunrise.”

Strum is also excited about Broward HealthPoint, a pioneering healthcare program committed to expanding access to high-quality and comprehensive care for individuals with limited financial means.

As an affiliate of Broward Health, Broward HealthPoint provides health services via multiple outpatient centers and a mobile health unit that operates throughout the county. The mobile unit eliminates transportation barriers for underserved populations who have difficulty accessing health care.

In addition, it offers wellness visits as well as maintenance and preventative care, such as blood pressure checks and diabetes screenings. This convenient and cost-effective program is evidence of Broward HealthPoint’s mission to greater access to quality health care for at-risk communities.

“This new mobile unit is an exciting development,” says Strum. “We’re proud of how we have integrated health care provision with advanced technology. It’s yet another example of how we are expanding our care delivery model to better meet the full spectrum of patient needs.”

Commemorating 85 years

Broward has several events planned to recognize its 85 years of serving our community.

“This is a time for us to reflect on where we’ve come from, where we currently stand as a health care system, and where we want to go in the future,” says Strum. “We have planned various celebrations to connect with the community and to thank our employees, physicians, and clinicians for their wonderful contributions.”

The kick-off event will occur on January 4, 2023, at Broward Health Medical Center. Broward Health will receive special proclamations from local officials announcing the day as Broward Health Day.

“The city of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County will present us with some proclamations,” says Strum. “We’ll also recognize some of our longtime employees and community partners.”

Residents of Broward County should also be on the lookout on January 4, as many buildings and landmarks will be lit blue that night in recognition of Broward Health Day.

On January 8, Broward Health will welcome the community to celebrate the system’s anniversary at Huizenga Park in Fort Lauderdale with a special Florida Panthers watch party, food trucks, free activities for families and much more.

Two weeks later on January 23, Broward Health will host its State of the System address at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

“This will be an event for our physicians, community leaders, and other VIPs,” Strum explains. “It’s going to be a phenomenal way to showcase our talented workforce and clinicians, recognize 85 amazing years here in Broward County, and chart the future for our health system.”

Throughout these and other 85th anniversary internal events, Broward Health will also recognize its dedicated team.

“It wouldn’t be a true celebration if we didn’t honor our doctors, staff, and other employees who have been instrumental in our success,” says Strum. “There will be a variety of ways in which we show our appreciation for them.”

Throughout its 85 years, Broward Health has been committed to providing access to comprehensive services in various specialties, such as cardiology, neurology, oncology, and women’s health. Additionally, the organization has expanded its capabilities with state-of-the-art technologies and treatments. Looking to the future, its list of accomplishments and achievements continues to grow.

In celebration of this momentous achievement, Broward Health looks forward to continuing its legacy of delivering high-quality patient care, medical innovations and clinical excellence.

“This is truly an exciting time for our healthcare system,” says Strum. “All signs point to a bright future for Broward Health, and we encourage everyone to celebrate this 85th anniversary milestone with us. Then, now, forever – Broward Health will always be here to serve our community.”

For more information, visit www.browardhealth.org/85.