VITAS Healthcare Celebrates 40th Anniversary with MDC’s Freedom Tower Illumination

MIAMI – Jan. 16, 2019 – VITAS Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, celebrated its 40th anniversary, the company’s crucial role in the South Florida health care industry and its influence on the national hospice movement, with a ceremony at the Miami Dade College (MDC) Freedom Tower on Tuesday, Jan. 15. The National Historic Landmark was illuminated purple to honor VITAS’ four decades of advancing the American hospice movement and compassionate care for hospice patients and families.

Founded in 1978 by two members of MDC’s faculty,  VITAS Healthcare, was one of the nation’s first hospice programs. VITAS helped pass Florida’s first-in-the-nation hospice licensure law, which immediately became a model for other states and the federal government. In the more than 40 years since caring for its first patient, VITAS has continued to lead the American hospice movement, committed to finding and closing gaps in end-of-life care. VITAS ensures that terminally ill patients of all lifestyles and their families have access to compassionate and high-quality hospice care.

Since its founding in Miami, VITAS has cared for more than 1.6 million patients. Today, VITAS employs over 12,000 professionals who care for approximately 18,000 patients daily, in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

MDC’s President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, and VITAS Healthcare CEO, Nick Westfall, were in attendance for the ceremony and provided brief remarks at the illumination ceremony.

“VITAS is a lot like the Freedom Tower,” noted Westfall before lighting the tower. “An iconic community landmark that serves as a symbol of passage and hope. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the tower was a beacon of welcome for nearly half a million refugees who came to the United States through South Florida on their own journeys, in search of a better quality of life. It is appropriate that we stand tonight in this building, celebrating the past 40 years of VITAS’ commitment to our patients, families and employees, and looking forward to the journey that lies ahead.”

“Last night evening’s ceremony was very much about hope, our collective hope that we continue improving the quality of life of our residents.  At MDC, we recognize the impact VITAS has had in the lives of countless individuals and families who have benefited from the care and compassion of hospice care during life’s final moments,” added Dr. Padrón.

VITAS Healthcare – 40 Years Strong

Established in 1978, VITAS® Healthcare is a pioneer and leader in the American hospice movement. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS (pronounced VEE-tahs) operates 47 hospice programs in 14 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia. VITAS employs 12,145 professionals who care for terminally ill patients daily, primarily in the patients’ homes, and also in the company’s 27 inpatient hospice units as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities/residential care facilities for the elderly. At the conclusion of the third quarter of 2018, VITAS reported an average daily census of 17,976. Visit

About Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College is the largest degree-granting institution in the nation. The college’s eight campuses offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including several baccalaureate degrees in biological sciences, engineering, data analytics, information systems technology, education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and others.  MDC is the recipient of top national awards. As Democracy’s College, MDC changes lives through accessible, high quality-teaching and learning experiences.  It houses the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, the Idea Center, the School for Advanced Studies, the New World School of the Arts, to name a few.  MDC has been named among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural, and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. Its alumni and employees contribute more than $6 billion annually to the local economy, and MDC graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry.   MDC is renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Tower Theater, Dyer Building, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, a sculpture park and a large art gallery system.  MDC has admitted more than 2,000,000 students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960. For more information, visit