by By Central Florida Humanitarians, appearing in SpaceCoastDaily.com on 11/1/2013
There is an excellent reason why the Board of Brevard County Commissioners chose to name the new Brevard County Health Department facility after Dr. Heidar Heshmati. Under Heidar Heshmati’s more than three decades of tenure, the Health Department has received numerous accolades at both the state and national levels for the quality and breadth of services it provides.
Brevard County ranks first in the state on health indicators such as infant mortality rates, maternal and child care and infectious disease mortality among counties with populations of 400,000 or more. Leading the county in this achievement is Dr. Heidar Heshmati, associated with the Brevard County Health Department since 1983.
The Health Department’s current director, Heshmati is the Health Department, a seemingly unstoppable dynamo that constantly endeavors to strengthen medical services to the community. He has earned the respect of his peers, health care providers and education and community leaders. He is the consummate public servant.
NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED LEADER
Under Dr. Heshmati’s more than three decades of tenure, the Health Department has received numerous accolades at both the state and national levels for the quality and breadth of services it provides.
Since 2000, the department has earned 12 National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Model Practices Awards as well as five NACCHO Promising Practices kudos and 50 Davis Productivity Awards.
Dr. Heidar Heshmati has worked closely with both private and public sectors to meet the need for essential medical care for those who fall through the cracks of today’s healthcare system.
Thanks in large part to Dr. Heshmati, Brevard County has the distinction of being the only county in the United States to have been recognized nationally with 10 model practice programs.
Dr. Heshmati has worked closely with both private and public sectors to meet the need for essential medical care for those who fall through the cracks of today’s healthcare system.
At a time when the field is under tremendous pressure to contain costs, Dr. Heshmati orchestrated community partnerships that resulted in PATH, the Primary Access to Health Clinic, involvement to provide compassionate, effective care for needy, uninsured individuals with acute, episodic and chronic health conditions.
Dr. Heidar Heshmati was installed as the 2009 President of the Brevard County Medical Society by Dr. Glenn Bryan.
A partnership with the Health Department, the Board of County Commissioners, the Brevard County Medical And Dental Society, Brevard schools, area hospitals and volunteer physicians has pooled resources for medical care to those in need.
The Volunteer Adult Dental Clinic, which Dr. Heshmati helped launch, pairs community dentists who contribute their time and talent with adult indigent clients who desperately need dental care but have no financial means to access it.
The plan ensures prenatal care for every citizen, regardless of their ability to pay. No other county in Florida offers this type of quality care to indigent and low-income pregnant women.
The Colposcopy Clinic was developed to provide early intervention and treatment of clients with abnormal pap smears, thus lessening the occurrence of cervical, vaginal and uterine cancers.
Thanks to Dr. Heshmati’s efforts, maternal care in Brevard has been revolutionized, despite an environment of funding decreases, litigation and an exodus of obstetricians. His plan ensures prenatal care for every citizen, regardless of their ability to pay. No other county in Florida offers this type of quality care to indigent and low-income pregnant women.
Family planning services led by Heshmati included the no-scalpel vasectomy, making Brevard’s the first health department in the nation to provide this method of permanent family planning.
PROTECTING COMMUNITY’S MOST VULNERABLE
Brevard’s 72 miles and its significant number of public health events can be challenging, but Dr. Heshmati’s vision and innovative approach not only have positively impacted the people of the Space Coast, but the rest of Florida as well.
Brevard’s location as a coastal county heavily dependent on tourism necessitated a comprehensive plan of action to control any infectious diseases, and Dr. Heshmati stepped up to the plate with the investigation and elimination of at least five vaccine-preventable outbreaks aboard cruise ships.
The department’s disease control units are considered the best in the state and Heshmati was invited to discuss his experiences by the Centers for Disease Control.
As part of core public health mandate to protect the health and welfare of the county’s most vulnerable citizens during times of natural disasters, the Health Department under Dr. Heshmati’s lead partnered in developing a network of care for special needs citizens during a disaster event.
GENEROUS WITH TIME & TALENT
Despite his busy work schedule, Heshmati has served as board member for Circles of Care, Brevard Heath Alliance, Brevard County Medical Society, the Dental Advisory Board, Healthy Start Child Care Association and Health Care Forum, among others.
He received the Governor’s Partnership for Children Award in recognition of improving the health and wellbeing of all Florida children through his Immunization Action Plan Partnership.
Dr. Heshmati’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. He received the Governor’s Partnership for Children Award in recognition of improving the health and wellbeing of all Florida children through his Immunization Action Plan Partnership.
The Brevard County Medical Society, the Board of County Commissioners, Brevard Public Schools, the Centers for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Public Health Association, the Florida State Surgeon General, FMU-Orlando College and Health First have all formally recognized this champion of public health.
ABOUT THE 2013 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
All Humanitarian alumni are presented a specially commissioned medallion.
“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in our magazines, as well as SpaceCoastDaily.com,” said Dr. Palermo.