The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce awarded Bridget A. Pelaez '17, assistant director of FIU's Division of Operations and Safety, the Health Care Hero: Nurse Award during its 2022 Health Care Heroes event last month.

Pelaez was honored for her selfless contributions and commitment to the safety of FIU faculty, staff, students, and the South Florida community. 

“I have a simple saying: I can do anything with the right people and the right resources,” said Pelaez during her acceptance speech. “I am blessed with supportive leadership that understands when mission and purpose must be driven forward and when a response must occur.”

“Bridget’s achievements and contributions to South Florida are vast and yet she remains selfless and passionate, empowering other health care workers in their professions. Her devotion, responsibility and leadership allow our community to be better prepared and capable to respond to health emergencies and disasters in South Florida,” said Javier I. Marques, vice president for operations and safety, chief of staff and executive director of the Academy for International Disaster Preparedness at FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. 

As a registered nurse, paramedic and trained disaster response professional, Pelaez leverages her skills for the greater good. When she’s not teaching as an adjunct professor at AIDP, you can find her running Stop the Bleed training, where she teaches people how to stop life-threatening bleeding. Trained by the American College of Surgeons, Pelaez has taught thousands of faculty, staff and students how to potentially save a person’s life.  

Throughout the pandemic, Pelaez has been a constant positive force in helping to keep the South Florida community safe. In partnership with the Florida Department of Health, Pelaez was the incident commander of the Tamiami COVID-19 testing site, which tested more than 433,000 people. She also worked with FIU medical professionals to operate the university’s vaccination site, which administered 19,000 vaccines.   

Pelaez is a proud alumna of FIU, having graduated in 2017 from AIDP with a master’s degree in disaster management. Today, she’s pursuing her doctoral degree in nursing practice at FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences. She recently became certified as an Emergency Manager (CEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Pelaez shares one piece of advice for students: “Stay humble, stay hungry and always remember how blessed you are to live in a city and do the work that you do, especially when it involves helping others.”



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