Bakari Fuasi Burns was raised in the Richmond Heights neighborhood and has long resided in the Isles of Catalina in Orlando’s District 6. Bakari attended Orange County public schools, Eccleston Elementary, Carver Jr. High, Memorial Middle, and Jones High School where he graduated with honors. As a recipient of a Walt Disney World Scholarship to attend any public college or university in the State of Florida, Bakari selected Florida A&M University. Bakari graduated from the Florida A&M University, with a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management and a Master of Public Health (MPH) focused on Health Policy and Management. Committed to developing his business acumen, Bakari subsequently attended the Crummer Graduate School of Business, where he received the Martin Bell Scholarship that afforded him the opportunity to earn his Master of Business Administration.
Bakari began his career in health care in Tallahassee where he served in various management and executive level positions at Bond Community Health Center. In October 2003, Bakari was blessed with the opportunity to accept the position of President and CEO of the Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc., and fulfill his dream of returning to Orlando and giving back to the hometown that had given him so much. The Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc., does business as “Orange Blossom Family Health,” providing medical, dental, mental health, substance abuse and pharmacy services to people who are insured, uninsured, underinsured or who may be experiencing homelessness, and particularly the residents of the City of Orlando living in zip codes 32805, 32811, 32839, 32801, 32818 and 32808.
During his more than 15 years of service as President and CEO, Bakari has led the growth of Orange Blossom Family Health from an organization with, 29 employees, and $1.5 million annual budget, serving just over 3,000 patients per year, to today where the organization serves over 20,000 patients annually, with 140 employees and an approx. $14.5 million budget. A significant indicator of the positive impact of Orange Blossom Family Health’s in the community, Bakari and his team, have over the last 15 years successfully advocated for and leveraged more than $40 million in federal funding, $12 million in state funding, $10 million in Orange County funding, and $3 million in City of Orlando funding. During this time, Bakari has led the charge of growing Orange Blossom Family Health’s operations to include six health care facilities, with the seventh facility opening in May 2019, on the corner of Ivey Lane and Old Winter Garden Road, in the Ivey Lane Community.
Bakari is the proud son of Barbara Page Burns and William F. Burns, Jr., and the proud father of Addison and Adira. Bakari worships with his family at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, where he also serves as a Member of the Board of Trustees. Bakari is also a member of the Chi Tau Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
“I have truly been blessed throughout my life to have had a caring family and community that has nurtured my growth. Because of that I have committed myself to investing my skills and talents into improving the health and wellbeing of my community and all of the residents who call Orlando home.”
Bakari F. Burns