South Florida Hospital News
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December 2005 - Volume 2 - Issue 6




Greater Miami Chamber Seeking Health Care Heroes

The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce will be presenting its annual Health Care Heroes® Awards Luncheon on March 9, 2006. The program recognizes individuals, institutions and programs that have made an impact on the Health Care industry in South Florida.

Because the Chamber has been doing this for nine years, is there a danger of "running out" of Health Care Heroes? "I hope not!" exclaimed Linda Quick with a laugh, then added, "The community is never short on challenges, and there are always some people who not only meet those challenges, but who also beat them."

Along with Donn Szaro, Quick, President of the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, is co-chair of this year’s event.

While Quick has been involved with the Program since its inception, Szaro will be participating as co-chair for the first time. Having joined Ernst & Young as a CPA following graduation from college, he is currently the firm’s Global and America Director – Health Sciences Industry – and Managing Partner of the Miami Office.

Quick said she has "known Donn for a long time and I called and asked if he was willing (to serve as co-chair) because he has a lot of familiarity with the health care industry." Szaro didn’t hesitate, saying, "I’m excited about the health care system in South Florida, and I think it’s important to recognize leaders who strive to improve the community."

Nominees, or Health Care Heroes, are recognized in six categories: Health Care Professional (such positions as physician, dentist, health care administrator, researcher, academic, and inventor, among others); Nurse; Individual of Merit (board member, philanthropist, journalist, government official, etc.); Institution/Program (a hospital, organization, government agency, school, or association, or a program within one of those entities); Bio-Medical (any person whose work within the field has resulted in a breakthrough or major development in medicine); and Youth Volunteer (a student under the age of 19 who volunteers his or her services without solicitation or payment). The winner from the Youth Volunteer category receives a $1,000 scholarship. All nominations are due December 2.

The criteria for nominees focuses on their acts of heroism which represent dedication to excellence in their area of expertise beyond the scope of their jobs.

The AXA Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award was introduced in 2000 and goes to an individual who, over his or her lifetime, has made a significant impact or changed history in the health care industry in South Florida.

The number of nominees has been significant over the years. This year, Quick mentioned challenges in the community and said she wouldn’t be surprised to see some nominees come about as a result of people’s involvement in last year’s hurricanes. "Some of them were really heroic," she said. "People always shine in tough times; there are always people who manage extraordinarily well."

After nominations are submitted, a panel of seven judges selects three finalists in each category. Two of the seven judges are from health care and five from other industries, to give an unbiased view to the applications. A video is produced highlighting three finalists in each category. The videos are shown at the awards luncheon, after which the winners are announced.

Quick said her role in the process will include helping to confirm that a nominee’s achievement truly is exceptional, and Szaro added, "We will try to identify these people through every vehicle we have, and put together the best possible program."

In addition to honoring the Health Care Heroes, the luncheon features a keynote speaker. Previous speakers have included The Honorable Connie Mack, United States Senate; The Honorable Ron Silver, Florida Senate; and Donna Shalala, President, University of Miami and former Secretary of Health & Human Services under the Clinton Administration. Last year, Dr. John Combes, President of the AHA’s Center for Healthcare Governance, spoke about the leadership role of heroes.

Sponsors for the 2006 event are: Founding Sponsor and Presenter of the AXA Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award – AXA Advisors; Presenting Sponsors – AvMed Health Plans (Individual of Merit), Baptist Health South Florida (Youth Volunteer), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (Institution/Program), Hogan & Hartson (Bio-Medical), Mercy Hospital (Nurse), and Miami Children’s Hospital (Healthcare Professional). In addition, the Pharmed Group and South Florida Hospital News are supporting sponsors.

All nominations must be received by 4:00 p.m. December 2, 2005. Winners will be honored at the Awards Luncheon at noon on Thursday, March 9, 2006, Radisson Hotel Miami. For more information or for a nomination form, call Tania Valenzuela at 305-577-5491 or visit
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