WINTER HAVEN HOSPITAL
Winter Haven Hospital’s Bostick Structural Heart Team completed its first MitraClip procedure. The MitraClip repairs a condition called mitral regurgitation. When the mitral valve fails to close completely, it can cause blood to flow backward through the heart. Left untreated, mitral regurgitation can lead to serious complications, including heart failure. This approach helps patients avoid open-heart procedures, meaning they can recover and resume their normal lives sooner. Offering such services is a direct benefit of the expansion of Winter Haven Hospital’s cardiac program, especially the addition of the hybrid catheterization lab.
BARTOW REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
Bartow Regional Medical Center recently honored eight exceptional nurses. Ana Ontiveros, with the Emergency Department, was named the 2020 Nurse of Excellence. Seven additional nurses were announced as Nurses of the Year. They were: Angela Roberts, Intensive Care Unit; Sandra Medina, Acute Care Unit; Grace Phillips, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit; Elisabeth Lacey, Post Surgery Unit; Erin Straub, Wound Care; Teresa True, Surgical Services; James Saine, Interventional Services. The nurses were selected by their peers and chosen from every patient care unit in the hospital. The Professional Practice Council, comprised of staff nurses, chose a Nurse of Excellence from the group of unit-based Nurses of the Year. Nominations for these awards are based on how each nurse demonstrates and consistently reflects the BayCare values of trust, respect, dignity, responsibility and excellence.
Lilliam E. Ayala Garcia, M.D., a board-certified rheumatologist, has joined Watson Clinic and treats patients from Watson Clinic Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. Her areas of expertise include the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disorders, osteoporosis and soft tissue rheumatism. Garcia received her medical degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Jalixco, Mexico. She performed an internship at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, an internal medicine residency at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Miami in Miami. She is a member of the American College of Rheumatology, and is certified in rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Jaehoon Bang, M.D., has joined Watson Clinic as a diagnostic radiologist who provides mammography services from the Watson Clinic Women’s Center at 1400 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. Bang received his medical degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa. He performed his internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, New Jersey; his residency at Albert Einstein/Jacobi Medical Center in Bronx, New York; and his fellowship in breast imaging at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Bang is board-certified by the American Board of Radiology and is a member of the American College of Radiology, the Radiologic Society of North America and the Society of Breast Imaging.
Gail Margerum, M.D., an urgent care specialist, has joined Watson Clinic and treats patients from Watson Clinic Urgent Care Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. Margerum received her medical degree from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and performed her residency in family medicine at Duke/FAHEC Family Practice in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is board-certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine and in emergency medicine by the American Board of Physician Specialists.
Nidal Sakka, M.D., a pulmonology specialist, has joined Watson Clinic and treats patients from Watson Clinic Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. His areas of expertise include the treatment of COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and sleep apnea. Sakka received his medical degree from Damascus University Faculty of Medicine in Damascus, Syria. He completed his residency in internal medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, New York, and his fellowship in pulmonary disease and critical care medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. He is board-certified in pulmonary disease and critical care medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and in sleep medicine by the American Board of Sleep Medicine.
Heidi H. Cook, APRN, has joined Watson Clinic and serves cardiology patients from the Watson Clinic Main location at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. Cook received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in nursing from the University of South Florida in Tampa. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Polk County Advanced Practice Nurses Association.
M. Allison Fojtik, APRN, has returned to Watson Clinic to assist cardiology patients from Watson Clinic Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. She has decades of experience in emergency department and critical care settings. Fojtik received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in nursing from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, American Association of Nurse Practitioners and Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners.
William D. Keeler, APRN, has returned to Watson Clinic to serve patients of board-certified family medicine physician Jason Saylor, D.O., from the Watson Clinic Highlands location at 2300 E. County Road 540A in south Lakeland. Keeler received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in nursing from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. He is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Sara Stephen, APRN, has joined Watson Clinic and works alongside board-certified urologist Mark Swierzewski, M.D., from Watson Clinic Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. Her areas of expertise include general urology care, as well as pre- and post-operative surgical care. Stephen received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in nursing from the University of South Florida in Tampa. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
The Watson Clinic Center for Research has embarked on a new clinical trial study named DAPA ACT HF-TIMI 68. Sponsored by the TIMI Study Group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the study is designed to test the efficacy of the drug dapagliflozin in patients who have been admitted into the hospital for acute heart failure. The study is being led by Watson Clinic board-certified interventional cardiologists Kevin Browne Jr., M.D., and Zia Rab, M.D. During the study, participants will receive one daily 10mg dose of dapagliflozin or a placebo. The two month process includes the initial screening during the patient’s hospital stay followed by additional office-based visits at one week, one month and two months.
LAKELAND REGIONAL HEALTH
Rebecca Levine, PA-C, joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a certified physician assistant, seeing patients at Urgent Care locations and through Telehealth. Levine earned her Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies at Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, and her Bachelor of Science degree in biology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Odette Mercado, M.D., who most recently worked as the physician adviser for Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center’s coding and information management departments, now serves as a hospitalist at the Medical Center. Mercado has been an internal medicine physician for more than 25 years and is certified in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from Universidad National Pedro Henriquez Urena in the Dominican Republic and completed her residency in internal medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York.
Shivani Patel, APRN, who most recently served as a family medicine nurse practitioner at Lakeland Regional Health, now sees patients as an advanced practice registered nurse in the Pablo Campus Cardiology practice of Lakeland Regional Health. Patel earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University and her Master of Science degree in nursing from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. She is certified in family medicine by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Timothy Duke, M.D., joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a family medicine physician, seeing patients ages 2 years and older through Telehealth and at Pablo Campus. Duke earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical University of the Americas in Nevis, West lndies, and completed his residency in family medicine at Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine.
Cheree Wheeler-Duke, M.D., joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a family medicine physician seeing patients ages 2 years and older through Telehealth and at its Highlands location. Wheeler-Duke earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical University of the Americas in Nevis, West lndies, and completed her residency in family medicine at Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine.
Sandra Baffoe-Bonnie, FNP-C, is now serving as an advanced practice registered nurse in cardiology at Lakeland Regional Health’s Pablo Campus. Baffoe-Bonnie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and her Master of Science degree in nursing from Florida Southern College. She is certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Jennifer Cipriano, MSN Ed., RN, CMSRN, trauma continuum of care coordinator at Lakeland Regional Health, was one of five recipients awarded a Member of the Year award by the Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition for her work in child safety. Cipriano is also a certified car seat safety coordinator at Lakeland Regional Health and has written several articles regarding child safety.
A research team at Lakeland Regional Health has joined a national study to see if blood thinners can help prevent life-threatening blood clots from forming in people who have tested positive for COVID-19. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which is overseeing the study, researchers have found that many patients who died from COVID-19 had formed blood clots throughout their bodies. The ACTIV-4 Outpatient study will help answer crucial questions that help prevent complications of COVID-19. The University of Florida and the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium are coordinating recruiting efforts in Florida with several of OneFlorida’s consortium partners, including Lakeland Regional Health. The NHLBI’s ACTIV-4 Antithrombotics Outpatient study, which is funded by the White House’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, is currently recruiting 7,000 participants at more than 100 sites worldwide to test the safety and effectiveness of blood thinners as a treatment for COVID-19. Criteria to participate include: age 40 years and older, diagnosed positive with COVID-19 within the last 10 to 14 days, exhibited symptoms, did not require hospitalization, not already taking blood thinner, Polk County residents. Those who meet the criteria and are interested in participating in the study should contact the ACTIV-4 COVID Research Team at 863-284-1515 or lead investigator Dr. Daniel Haight at [email protected]
Moody’s Investors Service recently reaffirmed Lakeland Regional Health’s A2 bond rating with a stable outlook. Moody’s noted that the A2 rating reflects Lakeland Regional Health System’s steady operating performance, manageable debt burden and a favorable liquidity position.
Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, among 15 Florida hospitals, was recognized by the Agency for Health care Administration and the Florida Department of health for meeting or exceeding the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy People 2020 goal for C-section deliveries. The Florida Hospital Association convened a statewide educational event in December highlighting successful strategies to promote vaginal deliveries and reduce unnecessary cesarean (C-section) deliveries for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies. The national Healthy People 2020 initiative goal for C-section deliveries for low-risk mothers with no prior births is 23.9 percent.
BRIGHT SMILES OF WINTER HAVEN
Tranchau Hoang, D.M.D., a pediatric dentist, has joined the team at Bright Smiles of Winter Haven, 1550 First St. S., Winter Haven. “Dr. Tran” is a summa cum laude graduate of Rutgers University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in genetics. She attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine for her doctorate degree on a Dean Scholarship based on her academic achievement, leadership, professionalism and community commitment. She graduated in the top 10 of her class and was selected for the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society.
FOOT AND ANKLE ASSOCIATES
Matt Werd, D.P.M., was a featured speaker at the Florida Podiatric Medical Association Scientific & Management Meeting, held at Disney Land Resort in Orlando. SAM is the annual scientific meeting of the FPMA and attracts foot and ankle specialists throughout the United States and abroad. Werd’s lecture topics on Jan. 15 were: “Running Shoe Update 2021,” “Custom vs Prefab Orthotics in Sports,” and “Surgical Options for Ankle Instability.” Werd also moderated a question-and-answer session on sports medicine. He has co-authored two editions of the medical text “Athletic Footwear and Orthoses in Sports Medicine.” Werd has been twice voted one of the top five most influential podiatrists in the United States, by Podiatry Management. Werd is the past chief of podiatric surgery at Lakeland Regional Medical Center from 1999 to 2017 and the past president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.
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