Big Changes on Horizon for Local Organization

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Big Changes on Horizon for Local Organization

Miami, FL -- September 21, 2006 – The Epilepsy Foundation of South Florida, Inc. will have lots of reasons to celebrate, as it marks the occasion of its 35th birthday on October 15, 2006.

The local organization, headquartered in Miami-Dade, is the only Florida Epilepsy Services Provider affiliated with the national Epilepsy Foundation. A recent merger with the Jacksonville office has prompted the agency to change its name to The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. The agency now serves 15 counties and has offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Jacksonville.

According to Pat Dean, President of the Board, “The expansion of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida will help us spread the word about the important services we provide to those with epilepsy, which is a problem of epidemic proportion in the State of Florida”.

The Foundation has even more reasons to celebrate, as it was recognized as a leader in its field by the National Epilepsy Foundation this month at its annual Leadership Conference. The local organization received an award for Program of the Year. Dr. Jose Gonzalez, Medical Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of South Florida, was honored as Staff Person of the Year. Miami-Dade County was selected as The Employer of the Year in recognition of its employment and training opportunities to persons with epilepsy and all disabilities.

For more information about upcoming exciting Epilepsy Foundation events or to learn how to become a donor or client of the Epilepsy Foundation of South Florida, please contact Judy Clauser at 305-670-4949.

EPILEPSY FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA, established in 1971, works to ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; to improve how people with epilepsy are perceived, accepted and valued in society; and to provide medical care, prevention and education, support groups and children’s camp.

Epilepsy: A hidden healthcare crisis

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Epilepsy: A hidden healthcare crisis

Let me share with you some statistics that I trust you will find alarming... Did you know that there are more than 2.7 million people in the United States living with epilepsy? In Florida, approximately 360,000 of our residents, about 13% of the U.S. total, suffer from the disorder.

The things that make Florida a wonderful place to live, work, raise our children, and enjoy our families and friends, also makes Florida very attractive to many people throughout the world. Every year, our population continues to grow as businesses relocate their offices to our state, retirees leave the northern climates in search of the outdoor lifestyles we are accustomed to and families from overseas seek the employment and educational opportunities that our country has to offer.

With more children and seniors living in Florida, we have seen at the Foundation a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking diagnosis and treatment. We have heard from hospitals, medical centers, neurologists and epileptologists that the statewide resources are being challenged to keep up with the diagnosis and treatment demand evident in many communities. We are concerned about the future care of our men and women returning from the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan as many of our surviving soldiers may develop epilepsy symptoms as a result of head trauma incurred on the battlefield.

Simply put, the statewide capacity to effectively and timely diagnose and treat patients with convulsive seizures is insufficient to meet the healthcare needs of our growing population.

We have, in essence, a statewide Epilepsy Healthcare Crisis. To make matters worse, the public’s aversion to and misunderstandings about the disorder continues to mute open dialogue among community leaders and the press.... Let ’s not talk about it... Let ’s shove it in the closet... Let ’s pretend it doesn’t exist.

Our Hidden Healthcare Crisis is not going to go away. In fact, our population trend ensures that it will get worse.

We at the Foundation are working hard to communicate our concerns to statewide politicians and prominent leaders in every community. We ask you to help us spread the word. Next time you are chatting with your colleagues at work, heading to the movies with your best friend or enjoying an afternoon barbeque with your neighbors... just mention: “Did you know we have a Hidden Healthcare Crisis in Florida? It is Epilepsy.”

Epilepsy Foundation of Florida awarded $75,000

Monday, January 01, 2007

Epilepsy Foundation of Florida awarded $75,000

The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida recognizes community programs

Jacksonville, Fla. - The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, the philanthropic affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF), presented a $75,000 Award of Distinction to the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida during The Blue Foundation’s annual Sapphire Award event on Nov. 30 in Lake Buena Vista.  The Sapphire Award recognizes excellence in community health programs that have improved the health-related outcomes of Florida’s at-risk populations and communities.
“The symbol of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida is a flame which signifies the light of understanding epilepsy for a more accepting society and cure,” said Karen Basha Egozi, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation. “In receiving this gift from The Blue Foundation our community health programs are recognized for their excellence and distinction. Our flame burns brighter today, and brings hope to over 360,000 people living with epilepsy in Florida.”
The Epilepsy Foundation provides medical, social and neuropsychological assistance; helps procure medications; offers employment counseling; and presents prevention and education outreach programs. Additional community services include epilepsy education for new teachers, bicycle helmet distribution, research with local and regional hospitals and universities, and assistance to recently arrived Cuban and Haitian refugees with epilepsy and their families.  The Epilepsy Foundation has also established unique relationships with primary care physicians, pediatricians and dentists to provide discounted medical and dental services to uninsured and underserved area residents.
“The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida develops effective and innovative community partnerships to reach the greatest number of people in need,” said Susan Towler, executive director, The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida. “They have shown true leadership and excellence in addressing a health condition affecting hundreds of thousands of Floridians.”
To be eligible for The Sapphire Award, organizations must demonstrate excellence; have a record of improving the health of their community through measurable outcomes; be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code; officially reside and be incorporated in the state of Florida; and have programs that are involved with health-related services.  Programs are nominated by three persons familiar with the organization and are reviewed by an independent selection committee made up of medical, public health and health communication experts from across the country and Florida.  Of the 42 organizations nominated for the 2007 Sapphire Award, one was named winner, three received awards of distinction and one received honorable mention.
The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida is a separate, philanthropic affiliate of BCBSF incorporated in the state of Florida. The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, and its parent, BCBSF, are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information on The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida, please visit its web site at www.bluefoundationfl.com.