South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday June 30, 2015
June 2015 - Volume 11 - Issue 12




At its annual meeting, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s Board of Commissioners elected its new Board Chair and officers. In a unanimous vote, the Board elected its Vice Chair, Philip H. Ward, III, to serve as Chair of the volunteer Health Care District Board, along with Brian R. Lohmann as the new Vice Chair and Nancy C. Banner, Esq. as Secretary. Ward was appointed to the Health Care District Board by Florida Governor Rick Scott in October 2011. He also serves on the District’s Finance Committee.
Ward is president and managing partner of Ward Damon, a multi-disciplined law firm which he co-founded in 1987. From 1980 to 1984, he served as legislative counsel and assistant to United States Senator Warren B. Rudman of New Hampshire. He is a member and former chairman of the Palm Beach Business Development Board and the InternetCoast Tri-County Economic Development Council, former director of The Forum Club of Palm Beach County, as well as the Economic Council of Palm Beach County. Ward is also a member of the Board of Trustees of BIZPAC.
Dade Medical College Chairman, Ernesto Perez, announces the appointment of Dr. Elizabeth Lagaron as the President of the college. She will replace outgoing President, Roger Lopez. Her tenure will commence May 22nd, 2015.
“It is my pleasure to name Dr. Lagaron as President. She has exhibited exemplary knowledge in the field of education and has dedicated herself to providing academic opportunities to minority students and enabling them to meet their educational goals,” says Perez.
“I am honored to be appointed Dade Medical College’s new President. I started at DMC in 2009 as a professor and since then, my goal for the college has been to provide our students with a quality education. Through personal experience, I know that gaining an education can and should be life-changing,” says Lagaron. “In my future role, I will continuously strive for student-centered learning experiences that change and improve lives.”
Indian River Medical Center (IRMC) welcomes Jana LeClair, CPCS, CPMSM, as the new Director of Medical Staff Services.
LeClair most recently worked with The Greeley Company and served as credentialing manager at Florida Hospital Healthcare System. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management and is completing her Master of Science in Health Care Administration from National American University. LeClair brings over 15 years of medical staff services experience to IRMC.
John Schmittner, M.D., has been named Medical Director of Pulmonary Hypertension and Advance Heart Failure at Memorial Hospital West.
Dr. Schmittner is a cardiologist with specialties in advanced heart failure, cardiac transplantation and pulmonary hypertension. He earned his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 1997, and completed his internal medicine residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore in 2001.
Dr. Schmittner has completed three fellowships: an NIH Clinical Research Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, 2004; a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, 2010; and a fellowship in advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation at Aurora St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, 2012. 
Dr. Mandeep Singh Dhalla has earned a spot on The Ophthalmologist Magazine’s “Power List,” which identifies the world’s top 40 ophthalmologists under the age of 40.
Dr. Dhalla is the current President of the Broward County Ophthalmology Society. He is a partner with the Retina Group of Florida and operates at Broward Health Imperial Point. Previously, he served as a clinical instructor in ophthalmology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. During that time, he supervised ophthalmologists-in-training while maintaining a busy retinal practice at the University’s Retinal Eye Service and also at John Cochran Veterans Affairs Hospital.


Miami Jewish Health Systems at Douglas Gardens recently promoted Dr. Marc Agronin to vice president of behavioral health and clinical research. Previously, Dr. Agronin’s position was medical director for mental health and clinical research at Miami Jewish.
Dr. Agronin has been with Miami Jewish Health Systems for 16 years. During his tenure, the Miami Jewish Health Systems has become a leading organization conducting clinical research into Alzheimer’s disease in the Southeast with 15 trials currently underway.
Under Dr. Agronin’s leadership, Miami Jewish recently announced that it is embarking on its most innovative project to date called the Miami Jewish EmpathiCareTM Village that will house and manage individuals with dementia in a setting that is unlike any facility currently existing in the United States.
Tenet Florida Physician Services (TFPS) is pleased to announce neurologist Lourdes R. Lago, M.D., has opened a practice with Miami-Dade Neuroscience Institute (MDNI) in Hialeah. Dr. Lago is on staff at Palmetto General Hospital and Hialeah Hospital.
Dr. Lago completed a fellowship in movement disorders at the University of Miami Health System where she was trained to use Botox to treat dystonia, spasticity, hemifacial spasm, migraine and other conditions. She completed her residency in neurology at the Medical Center of Louisiana New Orleans, Louisiana State University Health Science Center and her preliminary year in Internal Medicine at Hospital Universitario Dr. Ramon Ruiz Arnau in Bayamón, PR. Dr. Lago obtained her medical degree from Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine in Bayamon, PR. 

Heather R. Wright, M.D., a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast cancer surgery, is now part of the Memorial Cancer Institute’s Division of Breast Surgical Oncology.

Most recently, Dr. Wright served as director of the Comprehensive Breast Care at the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky. She earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1999, and completed her residency in general surgery at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in 2004. She completed her fellowship in breast oncology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in 2005.

West Kendall Baptist Hospital has appointed Agueda Hernandez, M.D., director of its Family Medicine Residency program. Dr. Hernandez was formerly associate director of the program and continues to serve as medical director of the Baptist Health Primary Care Family Medicine Center at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, which serves as the residents’ principal training ground.

“Dr. Hernandez has been instrumental in successfully expanding the Family Medicine Residency program since its inception two years ago,” said Bernie Fernandez, M.D., chief executive officer of Baptist Health Medical Group. “Under her leadership, the Baptist Health Primary Care Family Medicine Center at West Kendall Baptist Hospital is proud to have been matched with a diverse and talented group of residents this year. We are sure these young physicians will make lasting contributions at Baptist Health and in the South Florida community.”
Supporting the community along with the education and expanding role of nurse practitioners is at the heart of a new collaboration between Humana Inc. and the Florida International University (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
The nurse practitioner (NP) clinical partnership with FIU Nursing is Humana’s first with a Florida university. The agreement to place some of FIU’s 160 master’s nursing students at select Humana-owned clinics from Miami to Orlando began this spring semester.
Under the arrangement, FIU graduate nursing students can obtain the required clinical hours and rotations for graduation under the guidance of nurse practitioner or physician preceptors at Humana medical home clinics. Currently, students have been placed in clinics in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
“The CAC staff fosters a learning environment that bolsters my confidence as a clinician and provides me the opportunity to assess, diagnose and create treatment plans for a variety of geriatric patients,” said FIU graduate nursing student Noel Hernandez, who is completing his clinical hours at the CAC Florida Medical Center in Little Havana. “I’m also gaining a deeper understanding of Cuban culture and management of care within this population.”
Along with providing clinical experiences, the collaboration will also promote the NP’s role in meeting the health care needs of the community. 
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