National Experts to Speak at Florida Blue Foundation Symposium

Nationally recognized experts on health care reform and building healthy communities will share their expertise at the Florida Blue Foundation’s Community Health Symposium on April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Fla. The 2017 event, Creating a Culture of Health, features sessions, roundtable discussions, professional development and networking opportunities for more than 400 executives and others from health care, government, higher education and nonprofit organizations. Presenters and speakers include national, regional and Florida-based experts on a variety of issues affecting communities relating to health and health care policy.

Carol Naughton, president of Purpose Built Communities, will open the symposium with a keynote address titled, "Creating Healthy Neighborhoods to Break the Cycle of Poverty." Naughton is a leader in community revitalization and leads consulting teams that support revitalization efforts in 12 cities. Her work has been recognized by the White House Office of Neighborhood Revitalization, and by the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Education. Following Naughton's address, Julie Willems Van Dijk will moderate a panel of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Communities Competition winners. Willems Van Dijk is an associate scientist and director of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, a leading health care strategist and attorney, will provide the keynote address on the second day, "Health Equity for All: Looking Back and Moving Forward with Health Reform in America." He will also moderate a panel that day titled, "Affordable Care Act: Where Do We Go From Here - The Politics of Health Care" that will include former congressmen Jason Altmire and Tom Feeney, as well as University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus.  Altmire currently serves as Florida Blue’s senior vice president of public policy and community engagement. Dawes, a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, has written several publications on health reform and equity including the book, "150 Years of Obamacare.” 

The symposium’s first day breakout sessions include a discussion of how to engage a community after an attack, led by Mark Brewer, president and CEO of the Central Florida Foundation. Other sessions include discussions on building a culture of health, creating a health care workforce to meet future needs, and corporate social responsibility in Florida.

Individuals and organizations interested in attending the Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center may register at


About the Author

Toni Woods

Toni Woods is a Senior Media Relations Consultant for GuideWell. She has worked in communications for more than 20 years in the health care, energy and sports industries, working with media around the world. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.