South Florida Hospital News
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March 2007 - Volume 3 - Issue 9




'Health Care Heroes' Celebrates 10th Anniversary

"In my personal opinion, it's the most important awards program." That is Mariluz Rios' thought of the Miami Chamber Health Care Heroes Awards Program. She admits she might be prejudice because she is one of the co-chairs of the event; however, she also makes a qualifying statement: "I say that because it's honoring people who do things that are truly life-and-death. In the insurance industry, for example, if a policy doesn't get issued, it's not a life-or-death situation. But what they deal with every day is life-or-death, and they do it with such grace and dignity."

Rios continued, "When I attended (my) first Health Care Heroes Awards banquet, it was something that really touched me; it's about honoring individuals who do things and never get the glory and the press, never get the big CEO salaries. They are just people who do it because they love what they're doing and they believe in what they're doing."

Rios' co-chair, Rolando Rodriguez, President of the Jackson Memorial Foundation, Inc., agreed with her assessment. "This is an extremely successful event," he said. "There are very few things that pull the health care market together in South Florida, and this is very much a Who's Who. We honor people who represent different institutions, different sectors of the market.

"Everyone from every hospital and every major health care facility goes. It always sells out. It's the one place everyone can talk to each other. The hardest thing, I think, is for the judges to pick the winners, there are such great candidates."

Indeed, Rios said the judges "couldn't believe the volume" of applications they received this year. "I wish we could honor them all."

Both Rodriguez and Rios are co-chairs of the Healthcare & Bioscience Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Health Care Heroes Program being one of four subcommittees under that. "We work at the Chamber to study issues that affect the whole community, and how we can solve them," Rodriguez said. "And the Health Care Heroes is the program that celebrates those accomplishments."

Rios described their roles in the Program as "making sure the key players and the industry in South Florida knew about the nomination process so they would have an opportunity to nominate. I think the most difficult thing was making sure that we got the word out to those who wouldn't hear of it otherwise."

Rios commented, "Everyone gets misty-eyed during the program because it's very heart-warming. It's very uplifting because it makes you realize that, in a world where we get bombarded with negative stories all the time, there are so many heroes out there who are doing great things. We just scratch the surface as far as who we recognize."

The 2007 Health Care Heroes is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a luncheon April 27 at the Radisson Hotel Miami on Biscayne Blvd. Health Care Heroes are recognized in six categories: Health Care Professional (i.e., physician, dentist, health care administrator, academic, inventor); 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 (a person working within a field that has resulted in a breakthrough or major development in medicine); and Youth Volunteer (age 19 and-under); and the AXA Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award.

The criteria focuses on actions which represent dedication that goes beyond the ordinary scope of the nominees' jobs. Nominations have been turned in and a panel of seven judges is in the process of selecting three finalists in each category.

Sponsors for the 2007 event are: Founding sponsor AXA Advisors; presenting sponsors AvMEd Health Plans, Baptist Health South Florida, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Hogan & Hartson LLP, Mercy Hospital, and Miami Children's Hospital; and supporting sponsors Jackson Memorial Foundation and South Florida Hospital News.

For more information, contact Cornelia K. Pereira at (305) 577-5432 or or visit
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