Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Avedis Foundation in Shawnee to Cultivate Wellness

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Avedis Foundation in Shawnee to Cultivate Wellness

Article excerpt

More was involved than the transfer of assets on Friday when Unity Health Center in Shawnee was purchased by SSM Health Care Oklahoma, parent company of St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City.

Avedis Foundation, a nonprofit agency with $100 million in assets, was formed. The foundation's assets will be allocated to benefit Pottawatomie County and surrounding communities, said Michelle Briggs, Avedis president and CEO.

The foundation will issue grants to other nonprofits focusing on health, wellness and quality of life, Briggs said.

"We want to act as a catalyst within the community to bring all of the city leaders together to promote a better Shawnee," she said.

Unity Health Center has 114 beds with 60 physicians and 550 employees. It opened in 1964 and was owned and operated by Community Health Partners, a not-for-profit corporation governed by a board of directors with 15 members.

Briggs has been a Community Health Partners board member for 15 years and chairwoman of the board for six years.

About a year ago, the board started looking at selling either all or part of the health care facility.

"Unity had been extremely successful financially and we decided to sell from a position of strength," she said.

SSM purchased the Unity Health Center assets but Community Health Partners kept the investments, Briggs said.

"We are the same company," she said of Community Health Partners. "We just renamed it and repurposed the financial investments."

The new name - Avedis - was selected because of the definition - "one who brings glad tidings; the bearer of good news."

"We enlisted the help of an advertising group and they gave us five or six suggestions and some of our board members came up with some ideas," Briggs said. "We spent a lot of time talking about it."

With the completion of the sale, Unity Health Center's governing board became the governing body of Avedis Foundation. Charles Shields is chairman of the board for Avedis Foundation.

The foundation's assets allow the nonprofit to expand its mission of improving the health, wellness and quality of life, Briggs said.

"Our vision is to provide grants to further the good work of many of our present nonprofit organizations," she said. …

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