Martha Pelaez, PhD, has a 30-year history of working in the field of aging. Currently serving as the CEO of Florida Health Networks (FHN), an entity formed to support aging and disability community providers in delivering sustainable evidence-based programs. FHN is the result of the transformation of a 5-year philanthropic Healthy Aging Regional Collaborative (2008-2013) delivering evidence-based programs to older adults in South Florida to a sustainable Wellness and Prevention services delivery provider. As the Director of the Healthy Aging Regional, she managed a $7.5 million grant with 18 community agencies participating in the learning collaborative. Dr. Pelaez is a member of the Evidence-Based Leadership Council and co-chairs the Miami-Dade Age Friendly Steering Committee. 

Florida Health Networks is located in Miami, FL serving dual-eligible, Medicare Fee-for-Service, Medicare Advantage older adults and persons with disabilities. Our population is racially and linguistically diverse: 42% Hispanic/Latino; 18% African American; 4% Haitian/Caribbean. The majority are over 70, with 29% between ages 50 - 69.   


EBLC Programs Currently Offered
Our agencies provide one or more of the following programs.


Start Date

Chronic Disease-Self Management Program


Tomando Control de Su Salud (Spanish CDSMP)


Diabetes Self-Management Program


Manejo Personal de la Diabetes (Spanish DSMP)


Matter of Balance


Asunto de Equilibrio (Spanish MOB)








Walk With Ease


Steps to Ensure Long-Term Sustainability 
The Healthy Aging Regional Collaborative transformed into Florida Health Networks to provide the capacity and resources to community-based organizations to provide a clinical overlay to the current community evidence-based programs. The information collected with the new program delivery structure will be available for analysis and reporting through a Health Information Technology platform allowing us to track and communicate outcomes with clinical providers. Our lay leaders have been trained and transformed into Community Health Workers learning additional skills and enhance their knowledge by transforming their roles from leaders to, which strengthens our workforce quality. Building this “back office” infrastructure is critical for the sustainability of the programs. The infrastructure provides regional license, data & data management system, training, quality improvement and fidelity monitoring of program delivery, shared clinical staffing, shared contract negotiation with health plans / payers, billing and contract monitoring, analytics for quality assurance & improvement, compliance, design of service delivery programs, evidence-based Training Academy, and Technical Assistance.

Funding Sources
For the initial five-year implementation, Health Foundation of South Florida provided a significant investment of $7.5M. By year 5, the HFSF Board decided to extend additional funds to continue on the path to sustainability. Starting in 2015, contracts with health plans and accountable care organizations will be critical to enable us to bill for the services.

Preventing the Implementation of New Programs from Jeopardizing Existing Programs
We do not consider having additional programs as an issue for sustainability. Having a variety of programs to address the population is useful since not one program fits all. From our data, we can see having multiple programs has been an advantage since the population enters through one program and then utilizes other programs as well.

Advice for other organizations about the sustainability of EBLC programs
There will be a change in how we do business, and yes it needs to be considered a business to identify sustainability opportunities. Current structures may not react well to a proposed change. The culture of community needs to be maintained throughout the transformation to making community programs into a business.

If you have additional questions for Martha Palaez, you can reach her via email.