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FHCA Awards Nearly $70,000 in Scholarships to Help Long Term Caregivers Advance Their Careers

Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) today announced that 29 long term care employees across Florida have been awarded $69,500 in scholarships to advance their careers in healthcare. FHCA will award four caregivers each a $5,000 Bruce Taylor Scholarship to advance their nursing careers; 12 long term care employees will each receive a $2,500 Career Climb Scholarship and 13 nursing home Administrators in Training (AIT) have earned a $1,500 Rising Long Term Care Leader Scholarship to support their goals to become licensed Nursing Home Administrators (NHA).  

“Florida’s aging population is rapidly growing, as is the need for dedicated professionals to care for them,” said Emmett Reed, Chief Executive Officer of FHCA. “We’re proud to support these individuals who have chosen long term care as their path for a meaningful career. These scholarships are a recognition of their contributions toward enhancing the lives of Florida’s seniors and people with disabilities being cared for in our member centers.“

“Investing in and strengthening our long term care workforce has a positive impact on our seniors’ health and well-being. Congratulations to the Florida Health Care Association and all the scholarship recipients for their commitment to advance the quality care being delivered in Florida’s long term care centers,” said Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, who hails from Naples and is an FHCA 2024 Legislative Champion for the Elderly.

During the 2024 legislative session, Senator Passidomo spearheaded the “Live Healthy” legislation package, which bolsters Florida’s health care workforce, broadens access to quality health care, and fosters innovation in the industry.

The Bruce Taylor Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to individuals working in an FHCA member nursing center or assisted living community who are seeking to further their career in long term care nursing. The following individuals have been awarded the Bruce Taylor Scholarship for 2024:

  • Alexis Mills, Royal Oaks Nursing and Rehab Center in Titusville
  • Briana Robinson, Bayshore Pointe Nursing & Rehab Center in Tampa
  • Amanda Rupert, Seaside Health & Rehabilitation Center in Daytona Beach
  • Krystalyn Gillikin, Arabella Health and Wellness in Carrabelle

The Career Climb Scholarship is awarded to the best and brightest working in FHCA’s member nursing centers and assisted living facilities who are seeking to further their long term care career in areas such as dietary manager certification, long term care administration, therapy, activities, social work degrees or other, non-nursing educational programs. The following individuals have been awarded the Career Climb Scholarship for 2024:

  • Anthony Procopio, Meadowpark Health and Rehabilitation Center in Dunedin
  • Brittnee Smiley, Palm Garden of Clearwater
  • Elayzha Stafford, Palm Garden of Jacksonville
  • Heather Roe, Viera Health & Rehabilitation Center in Melbourne
  • Jessica Rivera, North Campus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Leesburg
  • Joan Louis, Hunters Creek Nursing and Rehab Center in Orlando
  • Joy Best, Palm Garden of Sun City Center
  • Krista Nolan, MenorahLife in St. Petersburg
  • Kristy Hendricks, Madison Pointe Care Center in New Port Richey
  • Maya Olstynski, Baldomero Lopez State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Land O Lakes
  • Merlina Poliard-Dorval, Lady Lake Specialty Care Center in Lady Lake  
  • Nina Daley, Tampa Lakes Health and Rehabilitation in Lutz

The FHCA Rising Long Term Care Leader Scholarship is funded in part by Florida Community Care and provides financial assistance to individuals enrolled in an AIT program in a Florida skilled nursing center. The following individuals have been awarded the Rising Long Term Care Leader Scholarship for 2024:

  • Aisha Johnson of Miami
  • Arika McCormack of Bradenton
  • Blenda Jones Carter of Lake City
  • Brandi Cooley of Jay
  • Cean Duckworth of Tampa
  • Dusty Catala of LaBelle
  • Earaj Javaid of Lauderhill
  • Edward Stern of Hollywood
  • Holly Chudyk of Springhill
  • Luis Lopez of Kissimmee
  • Marie Cherenfant of Orlando
  • Noah Arce of Bradenton
  • Paris Robinson of Miramar

FHCA scholarships are awarded annually and funded through the Florida Health Care Education & Development Foundation (Foundation), the Association’s charitable foundation. Foundation scholarships are funded in part by Florida Community Care, Alliant Health Solutions and proceeds from the FHCA Annual Golf Tournament, as well as individual and corporate donations. The Foundation has awarded almost $264,000 to long term care professionals since the association established its scholarship program in 2005.

The 2024 Bruce Taylor, Career Climb and Rising Long Term Care Leader scholarship recipients will be recognized during the Quality Award & Scholarship Ceremony and Celebration, planned for Tuesday, July 23, during FHCA’s 2024 Annual Conference & Trade Show at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.

For more information, visit the Foundation website at

July 8, 2024

Kristen Knapp, APR
850-510-4389 or