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Florida Hospital receives national honor for Bithlo transformation efforts

Florida Hospital is honored to announce it was recognized by the American Hospital Association for its work in transforming Bithlo and improving the health and wellness of the east Orange County community.

The American Hospital Association today announced Florida Hospital’s program is one of five nationally to receive the NOVA Award, which recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health.

Florida Hospital is the lead partner in a multi-pronged effort to transform Bithlo. When Florida Hospital joined United Global Outreach and other partners in their effort to transform Bithlo in 2010, many residents lived without clean water, safe housing and adequate public transportation. Residents in the community suffer from unemployment, illiteracy and homelessness.

Florida Hospital designated Bithlo as its first local health engagement project, and has a holistic transformation focus across nine areas: education, transportation, housing, basic needs, building a sense of community, health care, environment, economic opportunity and the arts.

“Health and wellness play a key role in the success of a community, and we know that involves much more than just traditional health care. That’s why Florida Hospital supports a holistic approach to transforming Bithlo,” said Verbelee Nielsen-Swanson, vice president of community impact for Florida Hospital. “Florida Hospital’s mission — to extend the healing ministry of Christ — extends far beyond the walls of our hospital, and we are committed to revitalizing Bithlo.”

About 100 organizations and multiple vendors have worked together on efforts such as “Transformation Village,” and Bithlo now has a medical clinic, mobile dental services and a domestic violence coordinator, among other vital services.

Just a few of the accomplishments in Bithlo include:

·         More than $1 million in donated dental care services.

·         A new lab with 30 donated computers, and thousands of donated books for a community library.

·         Transportation improvements, including Lynx bus service and widening of State Road 50 to include sidewalks and lighting.

·         Harbor House received a $174,000 grant for a three-year advocate to address domestic violence issues.

·         United Way grants to address dental and behavioral health.

"Florida Hospital's partnership in the positive Bithlo transformation effort has leveraged influence, resources and most importantly, brought inspiration to this once forgotten community,” said United Global Outreach CEO Timothy J. McKinney. “Now with this national recognition, it is my hope that this successful model will impact other struggling areas throughout Central Florida and beyond, bringing real transformation and providing all with an equal opportunity to succeed."