Seminole County-based Initiatives Take Home Half Of This Year’s Sapphire Awards Honoring Community Health Efforts Statewide
ORLANDO – A Seminole County telehealth program by IMPOWER that increases access to mental health care and The Christian Sharing Center’s founder Angie Romagosa, who dedicated decades to helping Seminole County’s underprivileged populations, were named winners at the Florida Blue Foundation’s Sapphire Awards for excellence and innovation in community health. Each of these honorees was awarded $60,000 to further advance their efforts in the community.
Romagosa was named a top honoree in the individual category alongside basketball legend Alonzo Mourning. Romagosa’s work in community health spans 32 years as the founder and leader of The Christian Sharing Center in Longwood, whose services improve the health and well-being of the underprivileged and low-income members of the community. Under Romagosa’s leadership the organization has grown since 1986 to serve 14,000 people in need annually. Romagosa recognized that The Sharing Center was on the front line of addressing the health problems of its clients and that health issues are often a contributing factor in a client’s hardship. As a result, its case managers have helped clients uncover and treat heart problems, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, mental health problems, substance abuse problems and more. Click here to view the Sapphire Award video of Romagosa’s achievements.
IMPOWER is a mental health and child well-being organization serving more than 10,000 people annually in Seminole County. Many people with mental health conditions lack access to care because of a critical shortage of psychiatrists (particularly for children), transportation barriers and other access issues, so IMPOWER created a program in 2013 to utilize telehealth technologies to provide mental health access to low-income and underserved individuals. The program uses real-time video chat between patients and health care providers that allows
patients to receive care via a smart phone, computer or tablet. Providers can diagnose issues and recommend or provide treatment, with 24/7 access. Click here to view the Sapphire Award video about IMPOWER’s telehealth program.
A second local program was a finalist and received a $15,000 award. The University of Central Florida Foundation’s Limbitless Solutions was established to transform the approach to traditional and cost prohibitive disability technology. The program began with a 3D-printed bionic limb for a young Central Florida boy and now creates the prosthetics at a price point under
$1,000 and gives them away at no cost to families for children who otherwise would not have access to one. Click here to view the Florida Blue Foundation video about Limbitless Solutions.
The other Sapphire Award honoree was The Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless in Jacksonville. Overall, the Florida Blue Foundation awarded a total of $410,000 to four Sapphire Award honorees and six finalists at the 2019 awards dinner. Since 2005, more than $5 million has been invested and 107 Sapphire Awards given to 27 individuals and 80 programs and organizations that effectively address health issues in their Florida communities.
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About Florida Blue Foundation
Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and rewarding best practices. More than three million people in Florida have received direct health services as a result of grants made to nonprofit organizations since our founding in 2001. Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.