The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) has presented its First Annual Safety Net Health Champion Award to Senator Andy Gardiner from Orlando, Florida. The Safety Net Health Champion Award recognizes an individual's dedication to Free & Charitable Clinics and the medically underserved.
"Senator Gardiner is a champion for Free and Charitable Clinics and was instrumental in securing a $10 Million appropriation for Florida Free and Charitable Clinics," said Nicole Lamoureux, NAFC CEO. "His tireless dedication to our clinics, their staff, volunteers and most importantly their patients makes him the perfect individual to be named as the 2016 NAFC Safety Net Health Champion Honoree."
Andy Gardiner represents Florida's 13th State Senate District. First elected to public office in 2000, Senator Gardiner served four terms in the Florida House of Representatives, including one term as House Majority (Republican) Leader under Speaker Allan Bense.
Senator Gardiner was elected to the Florida Senate in 2008 and served as the Senate Majority (Republican) Leader under President Mike Haridopolos from 2010-2012, joining an elite group of legislators who have served as the Republican Leader in both Chambers to include former Senate President Jim King and former House Speaker, now Congressman, Dan Webster. In November 2014, Senator Gardiner was unanimously elected by his colleagues to serve as the 86th President of the Florida Senate since statehood in 1845.
A lifelong resident of the Orlando-area district he represents, Senator Gardiner works as the Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Community Relations for Orlando Health. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce.
"President Gardiner has been an important friend to our sector who for years has championed Florida's Free and Charitable Clinic's work and impact in communities in opening up health care to uninsured and low-income residents of Florida," said Nick Duran, executive director of the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. "He has invested time and effort, visiting local clinics in his district to learn and see it for himself. For his willingness to learn and his leadership in Tallahassee on behalf of the clinics and specialty care networks, we are so grateful."
About the Organization:
The NAFC is the only nonprofit 501c(3) organization whose mission is solely focused on the issues and needs of the medically underserved throughout the nation and the more than 1,200 Free and Charitable Clinics that serve them. Founded in 2001 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., the NAFC is working to ensure that the medically underserved have access to affordable quality health care and strives to be a national voice promoting quality health care for all. The organization believes that access to health care should be a right, not a privilege, and it values volunteerism, community ownership, service and collaboration.