Press Club President Julie Pedretti Honored as a “Healthcare Hero”

Please join your press club colleagues in congratulating our President Julie Pedretti for being chosen as one of 10 “Healthcare Heroes” by Gulfshore Business magazine.

The magazine chose to feature 10 professionals from Southwest Florida who consistently went “above and beyond the call of their day-to-day responsibilities at a time when the quality of health care was more important than ever.” Click here to read the entire article, which was published in the April 1, 2022, edition.

In selecting Julie to be celebrated along with local doctors, nurses, volunteers, and other healthcare professionals, the magazine cited her key role in healthcare prevention, especially her extraordinary efforts serving the underserved during the pandemic.

Julie joined the nonprofit Healthcare Network in July 2020 as community relations director for COVID-19. She was responsible for organizing the Immokalee network’s multilingual COVID-19 Response Team, expanding existing programs to include increased testing, education, and community outreach. Once vaccines were available, she and her team worked diligently to make vaccines available.

Impressed with her hard work, tenacity, and organizational skills, Healthcare Network promoted her to vice president of external affairs in 2021.

From the start, Julie’s response team was tasked with serving Southwest Florida’s underserved populations, which included the farmworker community in Immokalee, where positive COVID-19 rates were among the highest in the U.S.

As Julie explained to Gulfshore Business, “We knew that cultural barriers and mistrust, language differences, low levels of literacy, lack of technology, little to no transportation and concerns about documentation of migrant farmworkers and others would create significant challenges in educating and protecting the community during a pandemic.”

Julie’s team of 12 community health workers (called promotoras) were extremely successful in helping the farmworker community, going door-to-door to thousands of homes with culturally appropriate educational materials and working hard to build trust amidst the “growing health-equity issues,” Julie says.

Here are some of the accomplishments Julie and her response team have achieved to date:

  • Conducting 27,758 COVID-19 tests
  • Sponsoring 118 testing events in locations throughout Immokalee
  • Administering 11,429 COVID-19 vaccine shots
  • Holding 20 vaccination events in locations throughout Immokalee
  • Strengthening partnerships with other agencies in Collier County

It’s no wonder the editors of Gulfshore Business chose Julie to be among the top 10 Healthcare Heroes recognized by their colleagues and communities. Congratulations, Julie!