Writer: Liz Palmer
3 min read August 2022 — Public and private entities are strategically partnering to best meet the needs of their communities, as heightened collaboration has created a path forward for South Florida’s healthcare providers to service a population that continues to grow and age.
In July, a $2.5 million grant to support health equity efforts in the state of Florida was administered by the Florida Blue Foundation to United Way of Broward County, Moffitt Cancer Center and Orlando Health to fund the Health Equity Train-the-Trainer program. Under the program, healthcare professionals will brush up on existing skills and obtain new ones in order to advance health equity initiatives in their communities. In a opens in a new windownews release, President and CEO of United Way of Broward County Kathleen Cannon said, “We believe that health equity is a basic human right and an attainable one. The train-the-trainer program will encourage providers working in health care facilities and health-related organizations throughout the state to expand their understanding of health disparities and learn how to implement change for greater health equity for all.” Pilot sessions were conducted in spring and the first official round of sessions are planned for late this summer. Three thousand healthcare professionals are expected to participate over the next four years.
Longtime competitors North and South Broward Hospital Districts also decided to join forces opens in a new windowin March to bring the highest quality care to Broward residents possible by committing to ongoing partnerships in the future. Chairman of Memorial Healthcare System’s board of directors Douglas Harrison called the partnership a historic decision. “This is a signal that there are no barriers so we want our CEOs to get to it,” he said to the two boards. “We need your creativity, your thought leadership, your energy to say how can we make health care better for everyone.” One of the first steps being taken together is to address Florida’s 37th place opens in a new windowranking in emergency room wait times at a current average of 155 minutes before being seen by a provider. Plans are coming to fruition for a hospital in Sunrise run by Broward Health and Memorial Healthcare, anticipated to make available an emergency room in Feb. 2024.
Aside from collaborating with one another, health systems are also putting feelers out into the community to promote health literacy and equity with local organizations. Invest: spoke with Shane Strum, CEO of Broward Health, about how partnerships with nonprofits, municipalities and cultural bodies are expanding the system’s footprint.
“These organizations provide a means for us to communicate with the community the various health issues affecting our population and the means to address those healthcare needs,” Strum said. “In a population as diverse as South Florida, we understand that people receive healthcare in slightly different ways, and partnerships enable us to take specific messaging to varying audiences. We want to provide healthcare to the community, but also want Broward Health to be seen as an entity that gives back to the community and is interested in driving the community’s growth and well-being forward.”
Echoing Strum’s sentiments, Broward Health Medical Center and Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital CEO Heather Havericak told Invest: that community partners include the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, American Lung Association, the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and others.
“When we look at heart disease and stroke and we look at our community’s needs, we can see some of those areas where we have issues. In the case of heart failure, for instance, we’ve partnered with those organizations to make sure we’re in those communities,” Havericak said. In terms of their work with the March of Dimes, the focal point is health disparity. “We know in this community that Black women, no matter what their socioeconomic background is, have different health outcomes when it comes to maternal care. So, we’ve aligned with the March of Dimes to make sure that we have programs in place to help support women.”