Seven ‘Women with Heart’ to be honored at annual event

Luncheon also marks Volunteers in Medicine anniversary


One of Jacksonville’s biggest events honoring women in health care is back for its seventh year of celebration.

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) will host the Seventh Annual Women with Heart Luncheon at the Florida Blue Conference Center. This year’s event has the distinction of also commemorating VIM’s 20th anniversary as one of the region’s most vital providers of health care for the working uninsured.

The Women with Heart honorees are chosen for their commitment to leadership, advocacy and the health of the community.

“Each year we celebrate and honor a remarkable group of women who have made noteworthy contributions to the well-being of our community,” said Dr. Barbara Darby, VIM Board chair. “Our 2023 honorees are truly exceptional by any measure.”

Seven Women with Heart will be honored at the event, each of whom has committed to a month of advocacy and service to the clinic. The community is invited to personally congratulate these 2023 honorees:

  • Kathy Barbour — Brooks Rehabilitation
  • Camille Harrison — Florida Blue
  • Shavondra Huggins, DNP, APRN — University of Florida
  • Amber L. Isley, MD — Ascension St. Vincent's
  • Akilah J. Pope, MD — Florida Department of Health
  • Christine Smith — Baptist Health
  • Cindy Stover — TD Bank

“It is critical that we have capable, talented individuals at the helm of public health,” said VIM CEO Jennifer Ryan. “These seven women are indispensable; we simply could not do without their dedication to the wellbeing of the community.”

The Women with Heart Luncheon kicks off a year-long awareness and fundraising campaign for VIM. This year’s luncheon also features a drawing for the “Heart of Jacksonville” necklace, donated by Allen’s Jewelers and valued at $12,500.

Tickets can be purchased for $100; only 150 tickets will be sold.

Sponsors are being sought for the event. Sponsorships help ensure that those who do not earn enough to meet their basic needs have access to health care. This is especially the case for the 68% of VIM’s patients, who are working women.

Failing to provide preventative care means that treatable diseases will be missed, and, in many cases, these women may end up in an emergency room. Through the Women with Heart Luncheon, VIM can provide these women with a medical home and a brighter future.

The 2023 Women with Heart sponsors include:

  • Presenting Sponsor: Florida Blue
  • Heart of Jacksonville Sponsor: Allen’s Jewelers
  • Champion Sponsors: Bacardi
  • Honor Sponsors: Dr. Jim and Mrs. Mary Burt, Dottie Dorion, TD Bank, Publix Super Market Charities, Helen Morse and Fritz Skeen
  • Shero Sponsors: UF Health, Baptist Health, Forcura, UNF Brooks College of Health, Brooks Rehabilitation
  • Table Sponsors: Mayo Clinic, First Coast Cardiovascular Institute, HCA Florida Memorial Hospital, Goodwill Industries of North Florida, Medtronic, Dr. Shavondra Huggins, Dr. Akilah J. Pope, Ascension St. Vincent’s, First Horizon Bank, Amy Huveldt, Vystar Credit Union and Regions Bank.

To become a sponsor of the 2023 Women with Heart Luncheon, call 904-399-2766 extension 123# or go to

For further information about the 2022 Women with Heart Luncheon, go to heart2022.

For further information about Volunteers in Medicine, go to

Founded in 2003 by Dottie Dorion and Dr. James Burt, Volunteers in Medicine Jacksonville is a nonprofit organization that serves the working uninsured.

VIM is a full-service medical clinic with two locations: 41 E. Duval St., open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays; and WestJax, 5927 Old Timuquana Road on the campus of Inspire to Rise, a community center.

For nearly 20 years, the clinic has been funded by grants and private donations, receiving no federal funding. With more than 240 active health care volunteers, VIM is able to provide $3 worth of care for every $1 given.

For further information, go to or call 904-399-2766.