SPECIAL SECTION | Health Care & Wellness

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Fort Lauderdale

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Fort Lauderdale

Miami Empresarial Magazine is a Proud Media Partner of the following Prestigious Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Higher Education Institutions and their events:

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Announcing South Florida’s One-Stop Health And Wellness Communication Channel 

Donna E. Shalala and  Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle

Donna E. Shalala and
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle

As changes in Health Care, Wellness, Medical Training and Education approach us at lighting speed, Miami Empresarial Magazine readers have asked us to keep them abreast of the advances, opportunities and news on the industry.

Steven Ullmann, director of the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy

Steven Ullmann, director of the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy

University of Miami president Donna Shalala mentioned at a recent meeting that “Florida leads the nation in cancer patients due in part to an expanding retirement community relocating to our shores. The Florida Health Care industry is creating a need for innovation and will soon be one of the largest forces on job creation.”

Also at the recent “The Business of Health Care Post-Election” conference, hosted by the School of Business Administration’s Center for Health Sector Management and Policy, UM provided us with the opportunity to learn more on the upcoming policies and regulations set forth by the Health Care of America plan, better known as Obamacare, plus a first-hand account of doctors’ and patients’ opinions on the effects the HCA plan may have on their practices, medical care, wellness, and personal/professional bottom lines.

Joe Natoli, Senior VP for business and finance/chief financial officer and Penny S. Shaffer, Market President

Joe Natoli, Senior VP for business and finance/chief financial officer and Penny S. Shaffer, Market President

“Health care is one of the most complex issues facing our country today,” said Gene Anderson, the school’s dean, in his opening remarks. “Addressing those policy, planning and business challenges requires a collaborative approach and multidisciplinary thinking.”

Themes like New Techniques,  Expanding Facilities at Local Hospitals, Technology, Medical Training and Education, Doctor Profiles, Medical Tourism, Conference and Round Tables,  etc. will be covered in our publications in English and Spanish. We invite you to read, sponsor and participate in this One-Stop Health and Wellness Communication Channel.

For complete information on this special Health Care section, please call 305.281.9700.

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• Frequent Heartburn May Predict Cancers of the Throat and Vocal Cord

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This study shows that antacids —not prescription medications or home remedies— have a protective effect, with a 41 percent reduced risk for cancers of the throat and vocal cord among nonsmokers/nondrinkers

Frequent heartburn was positively associated with cancers of the throat and vocal cord among nonsmokers and nondrinkers, and the use of antacids, but not prescription medications, had a protective effect, according to data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Previous studies examining gastric reflux and cancers of the head and neck have generated mixed results. Most of those studies had either few numbers of cases or they were not adjusted for confounding factors. Ours is a large, population-based study with robust parameters that strongly suggests gastric reflux, which causes frequent heartburn, is an independent risk factor for cancers of the pharynx (throat) and larynx (vocal cord)” — Scott M. Langevin, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow, Brown University, Providence, R.I.

Langevin and his colleagues identified 631 patients from a large group of individuals enrolled in a population-based, case-control study in the greater Boston area. Of the 631 participants,468 had throat cancer and 163 had cancers of the vocal cord. An additional 1,234 individuals matched for age and gender with no prior history of cancer were recruited using town records to serve as controls for the study.

All participants completed a questionnaire on their history of heartburn, smoking and drinking habitsfamily history of cancer and sociodemographic information. Because some head and neck cancers are caused by infection with human papillomavirus 16 (HPV 16), the researchers tested for the presence of antigens to HPV 16 viral proteins in the blood of all participants.

Langevin and his colleagues found that among participants who were neither heavy smokers nor heavy drinkers, a history of frequent heartburn was linked to a 78 percent increased risk for cancers of the throat and vocal cord. They also found that among those who hadfrequent heartburn, taking antacids, but not prescription medications or home remedies, had a protective effect, with a 41 percent reduced risk for cancers of the throat and vocal cord. The protective effect of antacids was consistent, irrespective of the participants’ smoking or drinking status, HPV 16 status or tumor site.

“Additional studies are needed to validate the chemopreventive effects of antacids among patients with frequent heartburn,” said Langevin. “The identification of gastric reflux as a risk factor for throat and vocal cord cancers, however, may have implications in terms of risk stratification and identification of high-risk patients.”

About the American Association for Cancer Research

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of team science and individual grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.

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Dr. Antonia Novello, Former US Surgeon General, And Univision President Cesar Conde On Hispanics’ Health Habits and Misconceptions

Univision President Cesar Conde and Dr. Antonia Novello, Former US Surgeon General

Univision President Cesar Conde and Dr. Antonia Novello, Former US Surgeon General

At the recent Hispanic Leadership Conference at The Biltmore Hotel and Resort two prominent Hispanics, the outspoken and dynamic Puertorican physician, Antonia Coello Novello, M.D., the first Hispanic/first female Surgeon General of the United States (1990-1993),  and Cesar Conde, president of Univision, tackled among other subjects the importance on Hispanics’ Health habits and misconceptions.

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Miami Neuroscience Center At Larkin Makes Great Strides In Treating Brain Tumors

A diagnosis of brain tumor, brain cancer or metastasis will generate varying degrees of anguish, fear and even helplessness in most persons. Dr. Aizik L. Wolf , Medical Director for the Miami Neuroscience Center at Miami’s Larkin Hospital, insists that in an increasing number of cases —as patients and their families become aware of today’s medical and technological advances in this field— the initial emotional impact should likely give way to a sense of hope and optimism.

Understanding brain tumors, their symptoms and treatment options goes a long way to assuage the feelings of intimidation and angst. And with continuous research and advanced case data collection/analysis, some of it generated by newsworthy cases like actress Valerie Harper’s rare brain cancer, more and more new information is becoming available to physicians-specialists and patients alike.

Dr. Aizik L. Wolf , Medical Director for the Miami Neuroscience Center at Larkin

Dr. Aizik L. Wolf , Medical Director, Miami Neuroscience Center, Larkin Hospital

“When people hear the diagnosis, many believe there is nothing that can be done. It is a frightening diagnosis and I see so many patients who have been told they have only months to live. In fact, we have revolutionary procedures combined with cutting edge technology that are effective,” states Dr. Wolf, a nationally acclaimed neurosurgeon who has performed over 7,000 procedures with Gamma Knife®, a precise, non-invasive neurosurgical tool that is used to treat brain tumors, many of which are complex or might otherwise be considered inoperable, along with a number of other brain disorders.

Dr. Wolf understands challenges. He has developed groundbreaking applications for brain tumor treatments even as many argued they would never work.  Due to his innovation and tenacity advocating for his patients, including his pioneering approach to Gamma Knife® treatment for multiple brain tumors are now being practiced and taught in major medical universities around the world.

Dr. Wolf says it’s important to pay attention to what your body is telling you: “Brain tumors vary from person to person, so there is no one-size fits all.  However, there are some symptoms that should alert you to see a doctor.”

The veteran surgeon says headaches that seem worse when you first wake up or lie down, changes in hearing, smell, taste or speech, changes in personality, and weakness in a part of the body are among signs that you should see a doctor immediately.

In an exclusive interview with Arquimedes Trujillo, MiamiEmpresarial’s publisher, Dr. Wolf expanded on his practice’s groundbreaking history with the revolutionary Gamma Knife® technology, a sophisticated system for delivering single, high-dose radiation to an intra-cranial target, as well as its extraordinary precision and effectiveness in treating brain tumors.

“In 1993 when I moved down to Miami, the [Gamma Knife®] technology was only being used under certain rules. They [the rules] were created, I thought, to serve non-scientific basis. It came from the university that first started using the technology in the United States. And I felt that they were making a basis of rule without any real scientific studies. So we began to use it on patients with multiple brain metastases at a time when everybody thought we were nuts. Obviously, we were correct because now everybody’s doing it that way.”

Dr. Wolf and his team continued to break ground in treating patients with larger and more complex brain metastases.

“We also began to use it on tumors that were much bigger, that you were [not] supposed to, but once again we didn’t understand the basis of the rule. We thought it was someone’s made-up concept and, once again, we proved that that wasn’t true, that the situation was actually different. In other words, that we could treat large tumors depending on what they were doing.”

“So that was the difference: We really questioned the technology way further that the rules were set up to be.”

MiamiEmpresarial: With your abilities, can you target the affected area without damaging healthy brain tissue?

Dr. Wolf: The technology is very, very precise. In fact, the technology is more precise than the actual imaging. The ability to aim the radiation is more precise than the ability to image the charger by a field of .05 millimeters.

M/E: Is this a non-invasive process?

Dr. Wolf: Not invasive. It’s basically an outpatient procedure. The equipment is as big as a Gamma Knife® and the institute was designed to get the flow of the patient. So basically the patient comes in, gets set-up for imaging and then, when they get treated, they walk out the door. . . They could go shopping in Saks Fifth Avenue. They can come to Miami for a shopping spree and a treatment for a brain tumor.

M/E: So you can say that’s “medical tourism?”

Dr. Wolf: It’s the ultimate medical tourism!

M/E: I was told that a great number of your patients come from Latin America. . .

Dr. Wolf: Yes, about 30 percent come from Latin America. In terms of Hispanics, the number goes up to 70 percent. Almost everybody in Miami is Hispanic.

While making great strides in the treatment of brain tumors and metastasis, Dr. Wolf emphasizes that, once the patient has been diagnosed, he/she must fully understand the illness and learn about all the available treatments.

“If you are diagnosed with brain cancer,” he says, “know your options.”

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Excellent Fellowship Opportunities For Osteopathic Physicians At Larkin Community Hospital

Larkin Community Hospital (LCH), one of 12 designated Statutory Teaching Hospitals in Florida and the largest teaching hospital for Osteopathic physicians in the United States, has fellowship positions available for osteopathic physicians. The program starts in July 2013 and participants will earn Board Certification or CAQ in any available fellowships.

larkin hospital

Larkin Community Hospital is a 146-bed Medical/Surgical Teaching hospital located in South Miami, Florida, offering the largest number of training programs (offering training in 30 different specialties in total). LCH also sponsors an allopathic residency program in Psychiatry.

Interested/qualified physicians should contact Larkin Community Hospital at  305.284.7500 or visit LCH’s website for more information on the fellowship program.

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Memorial Hospital Pembroke Opens High-Tech, Integrated Operating Rooms

Technology Improves Physician Communication and Enhances Patient Safety

Copy of Integrated_OR wWith the touch of a few buttons, electronic medical records provide doctors the convenience of viewing a patient’s entire medical history during a single visit. Now, the integrated operating rooms at Memorial Hospital Pembroke are allowing surgeons to link electronic records with a host of other technical capabilities, such as video recording and documentation, providing added benefits that enhance physician communication and patient safety.

“In the fully integrated operating room, the surgical team has easier access to patient data and more comprehensive information coming into and out of the procedure room, allowing our surgeons to raise the standard of care and safety for our patients,” said Brett Cohen, MD, medical director of Memorial Weight-Loss Surgery Program and physician champion of the integrated surgical initiatives at Memorial Hospital Pembroke.

The Olympus Endoalpha TM Systems Integrated Operating Room, the first of its kind in South Florida, is controlled through a centralized touch screen, allowing for communication and documentation (patient information, data, equipment, resources and communication) to be coordinated with the complete range of medical equipment and peripheral systems in the operating room. This provides complete ergonomic control of the OR because all imaging and lighting equipment, video and data can be managed from both the sterile and non-sterile areas. In addition, boom-mounted monitors create a more efficient workspace that not only contribute to a more comfortable, convenient, and optimal viewing environment for medical staff, but also keep surgical environment safer.

The benefits for patients are many from a safety perspective, but the integrated operating room also improves workflow by maximizing workspace,” Dr. Cohen said. “The technology also affords Memorial Hospital Pembroke the opportunity to invite residents and medical students into the virtual operating room beyond South Florida.”

The surgical team at Memorial Hospital Pembroke performs more than 4,500 surgeries each year using leading-edge technology, including more than 600 procedures using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques instead of traditional open surgery. Starting May 2013, plans are to also incorporate robotic surgery within the integrated environment of the operating room.

Benefits of Integrated Operating Room

Patient Benefits

  • Electronic medical records are accessed during surgical procedure
  • Video recording and documentation of surgical procedure
  • Enhanced safety during procedure
  • Enhanced surgical team collaboration during the procedure

Surgeon Benefits

  • Access to patient information during the procedure
  • Equipment control of monitors and settings
  • Real time teleconferencing, diagnosis, consultations and collaboration
  • Multiple monitor clinical displays
  • Access to archived and video of surgical procedures performed
  • Improved workflow by maximizing the operating room suite workspace
  • Enhanced efficiency by simultaneous operation of surgical equipment
  • Eliminates repetitive work by saving preferred equipment settings for each surgeon
  • Promotes safety through voice verification each time equipment settings are changed

Memorial Hospital Pembroke in Pembroke Pines, Fla., is part of Memorial Healthcare System, the fifth-largest public healthcare system in the nation. It offers a wide scope of services, including Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, Sleep Study Program, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Program, Leeza’s Place, a center for caregivers, and a program for Canadian visitors, along with outpatient services, diagnostic services and emergency care. For more information, visit memorialpembroke.com.

Surgeon Performs Scarless Hysterectomy With Robot At South Miami Hospital

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Gynecologic surgeon Ricardo Estape, M.D., performed South Florida’s first single-incision robotic hysterectomy today at South Miami Hospital.

Dr. Estape, who has performed thousands of robotic gynecologic surgeries over the past seven years at Baptist Health, had awaited FDA approval of the single-site hysterectomy since single-incision gallbladder surgery was approved in December 2011.  This past February, the FDA approved usage of the instrumentation on the robot that allows surgeons to enter a patient’s body through the bellybutton and remove the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

baptist 2 w“This approach is truly revolutionary in a surgery that used to leave a large scar between the bellybutton and pubic bone,” Dr. Estape said.  “Patients are often concerned about the scars left after surgery, and we have evolved our approach to minimize those scars.  Now, patients will be left only with a scar within the natural folds of their navel.”

During the surgery, Dr. Estape made a 2.5 centimeter incision in the patient’s bellybutton.  This allows a port, or tube, to be placed in the opening.  Through this port, the robot’s camera and two arm-like structures enter the patient’s abdomen.

Dr. Estape then sat at a console in the operating room and used his hands and feet to control the arms and instruments inside the patient’s body, while looking at a 3-D, high-definition view of the organs provided by the camera.

Once the surgery was completed, the robot was removed from the patient and Dr. Estape used stitches to close the incision.

“Patients are usually out of the operating room in less than an hour and out of the hospital the next day,” Dr. Estape said.  “They resume normal activities within a couple of weeks.”

In addition to a hidden scar, the benefits of this surgical approach to the patient include less blood loss, fewer complications and a quicker recovery.  Risks are similar to other types of surgery and include infection, post-operative bleeding and reaction to anesthesia.  These should be discussed with a doctor prior to surgery.

So far, this single-incision approach to hysterectomy has only been FDA-approved to treat benign conditions requiring a hysterectomy and removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

American College of Physicians Unveils Tools To Improve Acute Coronary Syndrome Care

Interventions aim to improve health outcomes in patients after blood flow to heart muscle is suddenly blocked

Copy of healthcare-image-collageThe American College of Physicians (ACP) recently unveiled two evidence-based interventions and two videos to improve the health outcomes of patients in the first year following an initial acute coronary syndrome (ACS) event such as heart attack and unstable angina (chest pain or discomfort but no part of the heart muscle dies), the most common indications of ACS.

About five million patients in the U.S. are at risk for ACS and approximately 134,000 die from it every year. ACS results in almost 1.2 million hospitalizations annually with 70 percent of those from heart attack and 30 percent from unstable angina.

ACP’s Initiative on Acute Coronary Syndrome aims to bridge the communication gap between clinicians and patients in the home or hospital. Because care in the 12 months after an initial ACS event is so important, the initiative focuses on improving health outcomes in the first year utilizing four key interventions suited to the varied needs of patients and clinicians: a patient guide, a clinician support tool, and two videos.

“These easy-to-understand, straightforward materials in multiple formats will facilitate communication between clinicians and patients, helping to prevent instances of and improve treatment of heart attack and unstable angina,” said David L. Bronson, MD, MACP, president, ACP.

“Keeping Your Heart Healthy: What You and Your Family Should Do”

This reader-friendly educational guide is designed to enhance patient-clinician communication by helping patients and caregivers talk to the physician and other members of the health care team and encouraging them to ask questions. The guide includes information to help patients maintain a healthy heart with sections on lifestyle modificationsmedications and supplements, and recovery issues, such as when to go back to work and when normal activities can be resumed. Color coded sections further emphasize necessary actions such as when to call 911 (red) or the doctor (yellow).

“Practice Guide for the Post Acute Coronary Syndrome Hospitalization Office Visit”

This decision support tool enables busy clinicians to make the most of the first post-discharge office visit. Assessment suggestions, such as medication adherence and lifestyle modifications, include a corresponding intervention, such as teach-back or reviewing approved physical activities like walking or driving.

In addition to these print materials, two patient videos geared toward empowering patients to actively engage in their care have been produced: “Discharge from the Hospital” and “Medications after a Heart Attack.”

“By working with experts in clinical practice, health care quality, and patient advocacy to develop interventions that close gaps in understanding and communication, ACP has developed interventions to improve patient comprehension and management of ACS,” said Doron Schneider, MD, FACP, chief safety and quality officer, Abington Health System and a member of the initiative’s National Steering Committee. “Improved patient understanding coupled with evidence-based practice is essential to better health outcomes.”

Members of the National Steering Committee that developed the interventions include experts from ACP, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the American College of Cardiology, the American Pharmacists Association, The Joint Commission, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and America’s Health Insurance Plans.

The materials for acute coronary syndrome can be ordered at www.acponline.org/acs or by calling ACP Customer Service at 800-523-1546, extension 2600. They are available for all physicians to order for their patients for free.

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Baptist Health Neuroscience Center To Feature Brain Aneurysm Repair Webcast

Baptist Health Neuroscience Center will stream a live webcast of a minimally invasive brain aneurysm repair at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 23. Viewers can watch Italo Linfante, MD., medical director of interventional neuroradiology, perform endovascular embolization (or coiling) – a potentially lifesaving treatment option for patients who have been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.

“This option gives great hope to all patients with brain aneurysms, including those who previously may have been told they had inoperable aneurysms.”

The webcast will be broadcast in English on BaptistHealth.net and in Spanish on baptist 3 wBaptistSalud.net. It will feature a panel discussion with Dr. Linfante, Sergio Gonzalez-Arias, M.D., the Center’s medical director, and Jack Klem, M.D.,  medical director of cerebrovascular surgery. Guillherme Dabus, M.D., medical director of the fellowship program in interventional neuroradiology, also will appear in the webcast.

The skilled physicians at Baptist Health Neuroscience Center perform more than 120 aneurysm repairs each year, more than 95 percent of them using endovascular embolization. The goal of the procedure is to safely seal off the aneurysm – a weak, bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery – and stop blood from entering the aneurysm and increasing the risk of rupture.

“We have been performing and perfecting this procedure for 10 years,” Dr. Linfante said. “This option gives great hope to all patients with brain aneurysms, including those who previously may have been told they had inoperable aneurysms.”

Endovascular embolization is the preferred method to treat cerebral aneurysms. It takes about two hours and patients are usually able to go home the following day. During the procedure, doctors insert a catheter into the patient’s groin and thread it through blood vessels into the brain using X-ray guidance. Through the catheter, another tube is used to deposit platinum coils to fill the aneurysm, blocking blood flow to the aneurysm and preventing a rupture.

The traditional approach, which involves opening the skull and blocking blood flow from the artery with a metal clip at the base of the aneurysm, also will be discussed.

An estimated 6 million people in the United States – or one in 50 people – have an unruptured brain aneurysm. Each year, about 30,000 people in the nation suffer a brain aneurysm rupture. That means there is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes. Traditionally, ruptured brain aneurysms were fatal or highly disabling in about 40-60 percent of cases. Over the past decade, the use of endovascular embolization and specialized intensive care units has dramatically improved patient outcomes.

Providing the most effective care in the least invasive manner is the philosophy of Baptist Health Neuroscience Center, where diseases and disorders of the brain, spine and nervous system are diagnosed and treated.

Baptist Health Neuroscience Center is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization in the region. It also includes Baptist Hospital, Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute, Baptist Children’s Hospital, South Miami Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Doctors Hospital, West Kendall Baptist Hospital, Mariners Hospital and outpatient locations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. Baptist Health Foundation, the organization’s fundraising arm, supports services at all hospitals and facilities affiliated with Baptist Health.

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FNU Nursing And Respiratory Therapy Students Welcomed To Their Profession In A Memorable Pinning Ceremony

Florida National University (FNU) celebrated its Nursing and Respiratory Therapy graduates with a memorable pinning ceremony.  It was history in the making, as it was the first time that FNU’s Respiratory Therapy department held a pinning ceremony for their students.

The nursing  students keynote speaker was Mrs. Silvia V. Suarez, Critical Care Educator / CCPS Coordinator at Jackson Health’s System’s Education and Development Department.  A missionary in her field, Suarez engaged the nursing graduates by expressing the commitment, dedication, and devotion of the nursing profession. She illustrated her message with vignettes from her personal career.  Suarez also stated that patient care is the main priority for nurses, and reminded them to always serve as the patients advocate.  A living example to new graduates, Suarez is currently continuing her studies at the University of Miami, where she is pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in Acute Care and Adult Nurse Practitioner.

The keynote speaker for the Respiratory Therapy portion of the program was Mrs. Earnestine “Mikki” Thompson, Director of Pulmonary Services at South Miami Hospital, a passionate community leader, and delegate to the American Association for Respiratory Care for the state of Florida.  Thompson was a bolt of energy as she delivered her speech.  She stressed importance of the bonds that should always be present between the nursing and respiratory therapy professionals, to be able to deliver excellent patient care.  Her love and dedication to Respiratory Therapy was evident as she addressed the students by highlighting the meaning of celebrating their life’s works, the value of education, and to always be mindful of what they say.  She highlighted the various opportunities in the Respiratory Therapy profession, and the future projected growth in this field.  She added that these young professionals are the future.  Mikki extended an invitation to the new graduates to take the torch we now hand them down and carry it into the new millennium, with the commitment to be great therapists. In closing, Thompson remarked “we stand on the shoulders of others” and left everyone with the recommendation to “always generate, so that when the power is cut off, you can still operate!”

The students were impressed and touched by the solemnity of the pinning ceremony, and expressed their gratitude to FNU for a symbolic, memorable, and special event.  Another moving moment occurred when students recognized some of their professors by presenting them with small tokens of appreciation for making an impact in their educational experience.

The pinning ceremony was a testament to the growth and progression of FNU as an educational institution in South Florida, as well as a celebration and recognition of these students’ efforts.  Dr. Loreto Almonte, FNU’s Allied Health Division Head, summarized the ceremony by saying that “family and friends attendance, in a room filled to capacity, is an attestation to their commitment and support to the student’s journeys towards earning a university degree. Thus motivating them to enter the workforce and achieve their professional goals.  This was evident by the glow of satisfaction and accomplishment in the faces of both graduates and loved ones.”

Community Leaders Celebrated FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Inaugural Class At Sapphire Celebration

Doral aerialFIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine recently honored its inaugural class of 33 medical students, who graduated in late April during the Sappphire Celebration. The event brought together more than 500 medical, business, philanthropic and civic leaders from the South Florida community, who supported the creation of the medical school at FIU and who continue to support the medical school’s mission today.

Journalist Soledad O’Brien served as the emcee for the celebratory event co-chaired by Gloria Sesana and Debbie Tano, during which the medical school also presented awards based on medical, community-focused and educational efforts. The honorees were:

  • Dr. Herbert Wertheim Global Medical Leadership Award recipient: Henry Rodriguez, director of the Office of Cancer Clinical Proteomics Research at the National Cancer Institute and senior scientific officer at the National Institutes of Health
  • Ambassador Steven & Dorothea Green Community Leadership Award recipient:Jackson Health System
  • Benjamin Leon, Jr. Founding Dean’s Award recipient: Dr. Gerard A. Kaiser, former chief medical officer for Jackson Health System and former professor and chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

The event, held at the Legends Ballroom in the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, was supported by the

  • Meredyth Anne Dasburg Foundation, as principal sponsor, and

Dr. Albert Tano and Debbie Tano; and Dr. Jorge Perez and Kerry Perez, as presenting sponsors.

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Governor Rick Scott Names Dr. Pedro Greer “A Great Floridian”

Governor Rick Scott recently announced the 2013 class of Great Floridians, a prestigious group of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and prosperity of Florida. Among the 23 honorees from the 2013 class, which includes entrepreneurs, doctors, military heroes, humanitarians, artists, Florida Supreme Court Justices, athletes and more, was South Florida’s Pedro José Greer, Jr., a physician specializing in gastroenterology and hepatology, who is Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Chair of Florida International University (FIU) School of Medicine’s Department of Humanities, Health and Society.

Dr. Greer, Jr. is also the founder of the Camillus Health Concern, which delivers health services to thousands of homeless people and the St. John Bosco Clinic, which serves disadvantaged people in Little Havana.

Pedro J. Greer Jr., MD

Pedro J. Greer Jr., MD

Governor Scott said, “It is an honor to present the 2013 class of Great Floridians with this prestigious award. Throughout their lives each of them has proven to be a true humanitarian and a compassionate leader in their respective communities. I look forward to seeing how each of them continues to shape Florida’s future generations and help Florida families.”

“I am very proud to recognize these 23 truly Great Floridians whose talents and generosity have helped make Florida a better place to live and be successful,” said Secretary Detzner. “This year’s honorees represent the largest class of Great Floridians, and I look forward to seeing how their collective contributions continue to positively influence future generations.”

Only 89 individuals since 1981 have been named Great Floridians. Under Florida Statute 267.0731, an ad hoc committee, comprised of representatives of the Governor, each member of the Florida Cabinet, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Florida Secretary of State, meets to nominate citizens for designation as a Great Floridian. Following the nomination process, the Secretary of State selects no fewer than two nominees to be officially named a Great Floridian.

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Kendall Regional Medical Center Receives Full Designation As Level II Trauma Center

kendall regional wKendall Regional Medical Center has received verification by the Florida Department of Health for its Level II Trauma Center designation.

“For a year and a half, Kendall Regional Medical Center’s talented trauma center staff has dedicated themselves to saving more lives and making a difference in our community. Now that we have a fully verified Level II trauma center we can continue to fulfill our mission of providing quality, accessible trauma care for Miami-Dade County residents and our county’s visitors,” said Scott Cihak, Chief Executive Officer of Kendall Regional Medical.

Kendall Regional Medical Center serves Dade, Monroe, and Collier Counties and during its first year as a provisional trauma center, treated nearly 2,500 patients, with survivor rates significantly better than state and national averages at 96.11 percent as compared to 94.66 percent for all trauma centers in Florida. The USF/HCA Trauma Network focuses on providing life-saving trauma care to patients in parts of the state where trauma care is most needed because existing facilities were unavailable or too far away. While saving lives is the central mission at Kendall Regional South Florida Trauma Center, we have also supported the local economy and development of our community with more than $3.9 million in capital expenditures to build our state-of-the-art trauma center and the creation of 186 jobs.

KendallTrauma“This full Level II designation allows emergency responders to get patients to trauma centers within the critical “golden hour,” which is the most important time for a patient to get treatment for their injuries and increases their survival rate dramatically. Research shows that a trauma patient has a 25 percent greater chance of survival when treated in a trauma center and the Department of Health’s verification of Kendall today will certainly lead to more lives saved. ” said Dr. Mark McKenney, Medical Director Kendall Regional Medical Center South Florida Trauma Center.

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