PALM COAST, Fla. (September 21, 2022) Starting her presentation with humor, 20 minutes of listening to a health care CEO has never flown by so quickly as it did on Wednesday as Dr. Audrey Gregory, President and CEO of AdventhHealth’s Central Florida Division, North Region addressed the Flagler Tiger Bay Club.
With an engaging delivery uncharacteristic of C-Suite occupants, members and guests enjoyed a laugh as the former ‘alpha nurse’ relayed a witty joke about her decades old Hotmail account, breaking the ice with her warm personality.
Sharing her experiences while weaving in facts and figures directly related to Flagler County’s metrics as they relate to the AdventHealth sphere of service, Gregory drew attention not only to the 2022 AdventHealth Palm Coast Community Needs Assessment report provided, but offered a look at future solutions.
Recruited by AdventHealth, Gregory previously served the Metropolitan Detroit area as head of the Detroit Medical Center, a hospital dedicated to caring for the underserved before taking the position in Central Florida. Transitioning from a for-profit healthcare system to a non-profit system with AdventHealth, Gregory was pleased to find AdventHealth’s corporate culture truly embodies their motto of ‘feeling whole’.
“AdventHealth is really about whole person care,” she said with appreciation.
“As someone who’s from the outside you kind of roll your eyes and you’re like do they really believe that? At AdventHealth, they do. So when you’re a patient at AdventHealth, it’s not just about your body. It’s about your mind, your spirit, who you are, and how do you feel whole. It’s one of my favorite things about AdventHealth,” she said.
Gregory candidly addressed members’ questions ranging from affordable, workforce housing for hospital staff and the growing footprint of AdventHealth Palm Coast with the addition of the $162 million location near US 1 set to open in May 2023, to partnering with other systems to provide trauma care, and the critical need to work with Flagler Schools to connect students to careers, with optimism.
“All the care that you will need will be in Flagler County,” said Gregory. “The new hospital will be adding about 400 new jobs, probably growing as high as 700 and the average salary is about $67,000. There’s a significant shortage of health care providers in our county. You are very fortunate because in Flagler our Palm Coast hospital, you not only are able to retain your nurses but you have vacancy rates that are lower than the state of Florida.”
Nearly a dozen students from the medical flagship program at Flagler Palm Coast High School were among the attendees and Dr. Gregory spent time meeting with the group after the luncheon at Hammock Dunes Club, offering a more in-depth discussion on the field and their potential future careers.
“One of the most exciting things that we can do is invest in the next generation of health care,” said Gregory. “I think when young people are excited about a career in healthcare, and there’s so many options that they have, it is a good thing for the community and it’s a good thing for the longevity of health care.”
Dynamic and inspiring, Gregory’s positivity was contagious.
“I am always like this,” she admitted. “And I don’t even drink caffeine. Part of that is just the joy of the opportunity of being alive. I think that every day that is given to us is an opportunity to do something great for someone and so, why not?”
Flagler Tiger Bay Club member Jacqueline Sales Davis, whose career has included addressing national issues of public health and safety, sees the value of introducing the next generation to the industry opportunities through the Young Tigers program.
“Science and engineering, that’s my field. It’s so hard for us to get young people to go into the sciences and engineering so anytime I hear a student who is interested in that, I get excited,” she said.
“I think it’s so needed because the children need that kind of guidance and that kind of exposure. We are so excited to see them as they leave Tiger Bay and go on in their careers, getting jobs in our community, all from being Tiger Bay members and getting that exposure.”
“I totally enjoyed our speaker. Ms. Gregory was unbelievably clear on what’s going on at the hospital, and what the needs of our community are, and how Advent is going to help us meet those needs,” said Sales Davis. “We have a lot to be excited about.”
The Flagler Tiger Bay Club is set to host the 2022 Mid-term General Election Candidates Forum on September 28, 2022 from 5-8 PM at the Palm Coast Community Center. The event is open to the public.