South Florida Hospital News
Saturday September 19, 2020

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March 2006 - Volume 2 - Issue 9

Dagen to Continue Mission of Health Foundation of South Florida

In January 2006, Sheldon D. Dagen, CPA, was named chairman of the board of directors of Health Foundation of South Florida (HFSF). In his new role, Dagen plans to continue the positive work that the Foundation has been doing since 1993, while expanding its reach into the South Florida community. "In 2006, our goal is to continue to fulfill the Health Foundationís vision, which is to provide the indigent and underserved population of Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties with access to affordable, quality health care," Dagen said.

The new chairman, who is president of the Hollywood-based certified public accounting firm Sheldon D. Dagen P.A., has been a member of the Health Foundationís board since 1996. "I was asked to join the board by a former client of mine who was also on the board," said Dagen of his introduction to the nonprofit public foundation. Dagen also serves as a consultant for Junior Achievement in Broward County and is a consultant trainer.

Since 1993, HFSF has awarded more than $58 million in grants and program support to health initiatives aimed at improving the health status of uninsured and underserved families and individuals. "Health Foundation of South Florida is not only a grantmaker, but a collaborator, convener and partner with other government and funding organizations in the community and with national funders as well," said President and CEO Steven Marcus, Ed.D. "We are looking to create enduring change to improve the health status of residents of this area."

The Health Foundation first got its start in 1960, when Cedars Medical Center of Miami was founded as a charitable hospital. It became a grantmaking foundation in 1993, when it received an endowment from the sale of the majority interest of the hospital to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation. In 2001, HFSF sold its minority ownership in the medical centerís facilities and services, resulting in a $130 million endowment. Today, this endowment is approximately $150 million.

Using these funds, HFSF helps to support hundreds of programs in the tri-county area. In the past 12 years, the foundation has reached out to more than 300 nonprofit health and health-related organizations as a way to promote healthy lifestyles of individuals, families and communities. The Foundation also works to integrate and coordinate efforts to improve health care by increasing the effectiveness of health-based organizations and the health care system, and to improve the availability and quality of preventive health measures and primary, oral, and behavioral health care.

Examples of the Foundationís contributions to the health care community can be seen throughout South Florida. In the last two years, for example, HFSF has coordinated and funded an initiative to provide 10,000 flu vaccines to underserved and at-risk seniors. And since its inception, the not-for-profit public charity has provided more than $140,000 annually for nursing scholarships. The Foundation is also known for its annual Concern Awards program, which awards a total of $100,000 in grants to six individuals and one organization who have been recognized for making a healthy difference in the lives of others.

In 2006, the Foundation is launching three new initiatives, which include increasing the number of nurses in South Florida, investing in the nutritional health of its youngsters, and supporting technological improvements by the areaís health care providers.

"The Health Foundation is dedicated to ending the nursing shortage in South Florida by helping to develop and retain faculty at some of the areaís academic institutions," said Marcus. "We will be providing 10 scholarships and living stipends to students who have been pre-selected to become faculty members at Broward Community College and Miami-Dade College after they receive their masterís degrees from Florida International University."

"We are also working with the YMCA and YWCA on an after-school program designed to help children make informed decisions about food choices and to increase their level of physical activity," he added. "And our technology initiative will allow us to build the capacity of health care organizations by assessing their status and needs, and providing grants specific to technology solutions."

With Dagen at the helm of the 13-member board, it is expected that the Foundation will successfully continue in its mission. "Internally, weíre hoping for a more efficient use of board membersí time and involvement," said Marcus. "Externally, weíre hoping to make systemic changes in specific health service delivery areas, such as promoting healthy lifestyles, physical activity, healthy food choices and helping residents to better manage chronic disease."

"Shelly has a high standard for seeking accountability from our grantees," he added, "and seeing that the Foundationís funds directly benefit the granteesí clients and their patients."

For more information on the Health Foundation of South Florida, call (305) 374-7200.
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