At the recent 10-year celebration of Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida in Orlando, an inaugural award was unveiled —The Robert D. Bridges “Elevating Children’s Health” Award. Fittingly, its first recipient was Robert D. Bridges, CPA, Executive Vice President, Chief Executive of Florida Operations, who will retire from Nemours Children’s at the end of 2022 after 24 years of service. The award will be bestowed annually to a community champion who shares Bridges’ vision and passion for pediatric well-being.
“Community champion” is an apropos designation for Robert Bridges. For nearly two and a half decades, Bridges has served as an advocate for children and a champion for the growth necessary to achieve Nemours Children’s mission. He has dedicated himself to progressing Nemours Children’s vision of creating the healthiest generations of children — by supporting its people and processes and expanding its footprint and relationships. With each passing year and upon every milestone, of which there have been many, Bridges emphasized continuous improvement. His incredible pride in Nemours Children’s associates meant he knew they were always capable of accomplishing even more toward the advancement of children’s health.
Bridges, a Jacksonville, Florida native, joined Nemours Children’s in 1999 as Vice President of Business Operations and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Prior to joining the organization, he served as senior manager with KPMG LLP, working primarily in the health care and insurance industries, including advising The Nemours Foundation. His experience in health care mergers and acquisitions, and capital formation positioned him well to help lead Nemours Children’s in developing viable clinical and business models that have advanced the organization’s strategy.
“In this process, you get to rub shoulders with a lot of dynamic leaders. I would put Robert up there with anyone. For more than two decades he has been a tireless advocate to elevate children’s health across our state and he will be missed.” — Aaron Bean, State Senator, Fernandina Beach
In his original position as CFO, he played an instrumental role in the growth of Nemours Children’s Health, including modernizing the corporate business infrastructure to support expansion and create a foundation for the organization’s long-term financial health and sustainability. Beyond physical expansion, Bridges led efforts to enhance and increase relationships with managed care organizations and other community partners to the benefit of millions of children and families.
A Vision for Florida’s Children: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
For Florida, Bridges’ leadership has been a boon to all communities. Since taking on the Florida role, he has increased access to care for all children through his financial stewardship, advocacy and collaboration. As a result, even children facing the most medically challenging conditions can stay close to home to receive care, treatment and cures. In addition to growing the practice network, he introduced pediatric urgent and specialty telehealth, increased the number of pediatric specialties, specialists and trainees, and paved the way for Florida’s growth in pediatric research and education —all of which have strengthened our state’s position and will enable Florida’s children to thrive well beyond medicine, well into the future.
“There are no words to adequately describe what Nemours Children’s Hospital means to many children and parents. Robert has been an engaged and passionate leader, advocating to provide world class health care for not just our kids, but all kids.”— Rene Plasencia, Former State Representative, Orlando
Bridges legacy will be best remembered as someone who never accepted the status quo by aspiring for the best for all children. It was his vision that led to a long-term movement for the public and private sectors to come together to move Florida into the top 10 in Children’s Health by 2030, a goal formally recognized by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and added as a key metric in The Florida 2030 Scorecard. With deep gratitude for his decades of leadership, influence and dedication, Nemours Children’s Health proudly recognizes community champion for children’s health Robert D. Bridges, CPA.