The Miami Beach Chamber Education Foundation, led by Jerry Libbin, has spearheaded an unprecedented collaboration with five municipalities and more than a dozen organizations to provide on-site healthcare in three Miami Beach feeder pattern schools. The three schools—Ruth K. Broad k-8 Center, North Beach Elementary and Treasure Island Elementary—previously did not have access to medical attention, but this is soon to change for the 2013-2014 school year.
Jerry Libbin utilized his dual role as President & CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and Commissioner for the City of Miami Beach to bring attention to and ultimately to address the healthcare shortfall in Miami Beach feeder pattern schools. In the words of Chamber Chairman, Alan Lips, “There is no reason for our community’s children to be without healthcare in their schools. Jerry brought this to my attention and along with our Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors we realized this as a critical need, took on the challenge to address it, and successfully created a community partnership. This is truly a remarkable accomplishment for the Miami Beach Chamber Education Foundation and our community that will benefit our future leaders.”
Last fall, the Chamber Education Foundation won a national contest and was awarded $30,000 by Aetna Voices of Health, which was earmarked for the school healthcare initiative. To supplement these funds, the Foundation was awarded a grant in the amount of $62,000 from the Health Foundation of South Florida. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, The School Healthcare Initiative will fully implement the Health Connect in Our Schools model, currently utilized throughout Miami-Dade County Public Schools by Children’s Trust, in the three Miami Beach feeder pattern schools; this model provides a nurse, medical assistant and social worker. The Children’s Trust contributed more than 98,000 in-kind to support this necessary project. Finally, a total of $95,000 was funded collectively by the City of Miami Beach, North Bay Village, the Town of Surfside, the Village of Bay Harbor Islands and Bal Harbour Village in proportionate share.
Libbin planned from the start to do whatever necessary to provide healthcare access to all Miami Beach feeder pattern students, in hopes that, once implemented, the municipalities would see the benefit of healthcare access and earmark the necessary dollars to care for our children and eliminate inefficient treatment. The initial plan was for seed money, however, the program required community support to demonstrate sustainability. The municipalities came on board with the necessary support, showing good faith to the foundation that the program will continue. As stated by Dr. Peter Gorski, Chief Health and Child Development Officer for The Children’s Trust, “This successful partnership not only fulfills the community’s desire to enhance health services to all students in Miami Beach public schools, it also demonstrates a shining model for how the combined efforts of many stakeholders in a community can work together to reach a goal that benefits everyone. The Children’s Trust is proud to partner with the Miami Beach Chamber, the schools, the Florida Department of Health, the Health Foundation of South Florida and all the individuals and organizations who contributed to making this dream a reality.”
Thanks to the efforts of Jerry Libbin, the Miami Beach Chamber Education Foundation, and a number of partnering organizations and municipalities, parents and students throughout the Miami Beach feeder pattern can rest assured that they will have in-school healthcare for the coming year.
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