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Wellington The Magazine, LLC Featured Articles

Patients Benefit From Award-Winning Wound Therapy Program In Wellington

Patients Benefit From Award-Winning Wound Therapy Program In Wellington

C It was a simple MRI to determine the cause of pain in Cindy Johnson’s left shoulder. No big deal; this was not Johnson’s first experience with an MRI or healthcare services. As a two-time breast cancer survivor and an amputee of her right hand, she has become a bit of an expert when it comes to healthcare. Zip in, zip out — find the source of the pain and quickly start treatment.

As part of the preparation for her eventual hand prosthetic, Johnson was wearing a mesh compression sleeve on her right arm. She was required to wear it for the majority of the day, and she was looking forward to receiving the prosthetic and regaining some use of a right hand. However, it was not long after the MRI started at a local radiology center that she noticed something was not quite right.

“A few minutes into the MRI, I felt pain in my right arm and thought, ‘I should not be having pain’ but decided to endure it since it was only going to be for a few minutes,” Johnson said. “But when the MRI was completed, it was obvious something was not right.”

Her right arm was blistered and had second- and third-degree burns above her right elbow. It turns out that the compression sleeve had silver threads woven into the fabric, and those reacted with the MRI, resulting in the burns to her arm. The burns were significant enough that she would need wound care therapy to heal.

However, this is the point where she considers herself a bit “lucky” to be a breast cancer survivor. She had met Dr. Kathleen Minnick, who served as the medical advisor for her breast cancer support group and is the co-medical director of the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center. Little did Johnson know at the time that meeting Minnick at the support group would eventually be very important to her own health because, in May 2018, Johnson was found unconscious and facedown at her home.

It is not known how long, but Johnson was on the floor an estimated three or four days before she was found. The resulting wounds included five significant pressure ulcers on her face, right thigh, left knee, right ankle and her right chest. In addition, her right hand was under her body during the entire time, and the damage was too significant to be repaired. The hand had to be amputated.

Because of her previous relationship with Minnick from the support group, Johnson chose to have wound therapy treatment for the hand amputation and the pressure ulcers at Wellington Regional Medical Center.

So, when facing wound care again after the MRI burn, she returned to the wound treatment center that always treated her like an old friend and had such great success.

“I chose to come back to the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center because of the success of my first wound care experience,” Johnson said. “It is such a friendly place. Everybody there knows me and treats me like family. I am very appreciative of what they have done for me.”

Having completed her treatments for the MRI burn, the wound care center recently held a “graduation ceremony” for Johnson, which included a graduation hat and tassel.

In contrast to Johnson’s treatments to heal wounds from a traumatic injury, John Shore was being treated at the wound center in an attempt to prevent the amputation of his right toe. Shore, a Type 2 diabetic, originally cut his toe on rocks after swimming in the ocean. He was not too worried. After all, it was not much more than a scratch. But, as a diabetic, the risk of complications from wounds on the foot are significantly higher — and his scratch eventually turned into a dangerous wound that not only risked his toe, but his entire foot.

“After seeing my doctor, I was immediately admitted to Wellington Regional Medical Center because the wound on my toe was so significant,” Shore recalled. “I was given the option to amputate the toe or try wound care in an attempt to save it. After meeting the team at the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center, I choose wound care to try and save my toe.”

Shore’s wound was so significant, he had to start emergency treatment that same day. Unlike Johnson, Shore was a candidate for the center’s hyperbaric chamber. With hyperbaric treatments, a patient is placed in a chamber that is pressurized to the equivalent of going about 49 feet under the surface of the ocean. Inside the chamber, Shore breathes 100 percent pure oxygen, which is carried by his blood to the wound to help promote the body’s natural wound-healing functions. A patient usually receives about 40 treatments, Monday through Friday, each lasting between 90 and 120 minutes.

Shore is 14 treatments into his program and has already seen significant results and said his doctor is amazed at the results so far.

“The care here has been absolutely phenomenal,” Shore said. “I can’t picture going any other place. It is more than just medical care here. The staff is wonderful, and they treat me like family. Five minutes into meeting them for the first time, we were laughing like we had known each other our entire lives.”

The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center recently received the distinguished Center of the Year award. More than 600 centers had the opportunity to qualify for the award, but only six centers received the recognition. In order to qualify, stringent quality measures must be met, such as high levels of healing outcomes, low days to heal and excellent patient satisfaction rates. The recognition is a reflection of the program achieving quality patient care and clinical outcomes.

In addition, the center was also awarded the prestigious President’s Circle award in recognition for outstanding performance in the areas of patient satisfaction and wound care. To earn the distinction, Wellington Regional Medical Center’s wound care center achieved patient satisfaction rates higher than 92 percent and a healing rate of at least 91 percent in less than 30 median days to heal, for a minimum of two consecutive years.

“The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center continues to provide advanced treatment therapies for our patients,” Minnick said. “It is an honor for our team to be nationally recognized by Healogics for our quality, and patients who choose our program for their care can be confident that they have access to the most current treatment protocols and therapies.”

Dr. Arthur Hansen, co-medical director at the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, agreed. “We have known for some time that Wellington Regional’s elite wound care program ranks among the best in the nation,” he said. “This designation is an indication of the medical team’s commitment to providing the best possible wound care services in the country.”

To learn more about the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center,  call (561) 753-2680 or visit


Support Group For Families Navigating Mental Illness Now Meeting in Wellington

Support Group For Families Navigating Mental Illness Now Meeting in Wellington

Four decades ago, two mothers gathered together in Wisconsin, thirsting for mutual understanding and in desperate need of empathy and support. Each woman had a child suffering from schizophrenia, and from small beginnings around a kitchen table, the National Alliance on Mental Illness — or NAMI — was created.

The purpose of the organization is to support families of those with mental illnesses by providing education, advocacy and support, striving to see families and their loved ones sail smoothly through stormy seas.

Now, a NAMI family support group has arrived in Wellington.

Since its conception in 1979, NAMI has grown to an organization consisting of 1,000 affiliates nationwide, with the Wellington group falling under the umbrella of NAMI Palm Beach County.

While the national nonprofit is currently based in Virginia, it is constantly establishing and equipping affiliate branches around the country. These individual branches then continue to organize family support groups within their respective areas, the newest in Palm Beach County being the Wellington group.

The members began their monthly meetings in March of this year, meeting at Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Station 30 at 9610 Stribling Way. They continue to meet at the same location, beginning at 3 p.m. on the third Sunday of every month. Each meeting is different, but they all center around the encouragement and support of family members of individuals with mental illnesses.

This isn’t the first NAMI group that has attempted to set sail in Wellington. According to Katherine Murphy, the director of programs for NAMI Palm Beach County, there was a Wellington group that tried to start up a few years ago, but it never earned its sea legs. That’s when Tracy Bem stepped forward.

While Bem had frequented the previous Wellington group, she started getting more involved with NAMI. “I started hooking up with the NAMI group and taking all the classes again, and I realized the need for a support group out in the western communities,” Bem said. “That’s when I talked to them, and I took the training so that I could do it, because it definitely meets needs.”

There is a significant stigma surrounding people struggling with mental health issues. Both Bem and Murphy emphasized the importance of experienced and empathetic help when dealing with the issues of loving somebody with a mental illness.

“When you have somebody with a mental illness, you need a resource,” Bem said. “You need people with the same situation.”

Murphy noted that people without an accepting and understanding community may have a lower chance of caring for their loved one as effectively as individuals who do have this type of support system. “If families are isolated, alone, they don’t have resources, they don’t have support,” Murphy said. “They might not have that endurance to continue to support their loved ones.”

According to Murphy, the hope is that these NAMI family support groups can reinforce the family members and provide them with helpful tools and resources to press on.

Bem added that people who don’t have a loved one with a mental illness don’t understand the frequent difficulties of the situation. Bem compared the seriousness of mental health conditions to that of a disease like cancer. Unless people see mental illness as an actual — often deadly — disease, she said, they tend to think the family member is merely going about things the wrong way.

“They blame it on you, but when it’s a mental illness, you need somebody who totally understands it to share with,” Bem said. “So that is a huge need. I mean, there should be a support group every day of the week.”

NAMI, according to Murphy, works to educate the family members on the best ways to communicate with a mentally ill family member.

“Sometimes, if we don’t have training in communication or different techniques, different ways to work around things, we might not have the whole toolkit,” Murphy said. “One of the things about NAMI, the family support group, and everything we try to do, is to empower families and to give them the tools and resources. There’s the emotional support, but then there’s also the very concrete tips and tricks.”

Each family support group facilitator goes through a two-day training of the NAMI model and guidelines, and they are all volunteers who are loved ones of a person with mental illness.

“What we offer at NAMI is the ‘lived experience,’ so our groups aren’t led by clinicians, they’re led by family members,” Murphy said. “It’s family members speaking to other family members — people who understand what it’s like to sit in the waiting room, people who understand what it’s like to have to call 911 when times get tough, and people who know what it’s like to go on that journey.”

For this reason, NAMI considers itself a complement to clinical care and not a replacement for it.

Along with the family support groups, NAMI provides services such as NAMI Connection, a group for people with mental health conditions, as well as mentoring programs, mingling activities and more.

Everything NAMI offers is free-of-charge, Murphy noted.

“NAMI’s goal is to help the family to be there for the long term,” Murphy said. “We want to provide them with the tools, support and resources to continue to support their loved one for the rest of their life.”

If you have a loved one struggling with a mental illness, or if you would like to learn more about NAMI Palm Beach County programs, call (561) 588-3477 or visit


Exercise Is Medicine Fighting Physical Inactivity Is Crucial In Modern America

Exercise Is Medicine Fighting Physical Inactivity Is Crucial In Modern America

“Sitting is the new smoking” and “exercise is medicine.” Those were two of the big-picture thoughts which I shared with the Rotary Club of Wellington on Thursday, June 13. On that day, I discussed the national issue of physical inactivity during this gathering of Wellington community leaders.

In addition to writing for Wellington The Magazine, I also serve as the director of communications for PHIT America, a national nonprofit group working to reverse the current “inactivity pandemic” in the United States. I have also spent more than 30 years working in the communications sector of the sporting goods and fitness industry.

Right now, this “inactivity pandemic” impacts the lives of 81.7 million Americans. The issue of physical inactivity negatively impacts healthcare costs, academic achievement and military readiness.

During my recent presentation, I shared a number of facts about the magnitude of the physical inactivity problem in America. I could tell by the expressions on the faces of the Rotarians that they were surprised by the depth of physical inactivity in the U.S.

How bad is the state of physical inactivity in the U.S.? According to the Physical Activity Council, nearly 82 million Americans are physically inactive. This is largely driven by America’s sedentary lifestyles, which has prompted many medical doctors in the U.S. to declare that “sitting is the new smoking,” and the medicinal benefits of exercise are so strong that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses the mantra “exercise is medicine.”

Sadly, 40 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese. Parents and other adults must get physically active during their free time. You can’t sweat on the Internet, so start by putting down cell phones and turning off laptops. Then, they will be free to lead family fitness sessions in their neighborhoods, after dinner on weekdays and during the weekends.

Adults must get physically active for their own benefit, and they must serve as role models for their children, as physical inactivity is affecting the vast majority of young people in the U.S. In fact, less than 10 percent of children ages 6 to 17 are physically active to healthy standards, according to the CDC.

To further confirm the importance of parents and grandparents serving as fitness role models for their children and grandchildren, there is a recent study performed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine that examined fitness levels of children from 50 different countries. Sadly, the results of the study revealed that U.S. children ranked 47th in global fitness. Overall, American children are just not physically fit. Kids, too, need to put down their cell phones and take a break from their tablets.

To get started on the path to physical activity, you don’t even have to leave your desk. There are five simple forms of exercise that don’t require any kind of equipment or athletic experience. They are called “deskercizes.” They can be performed at home, at work or at school.

  • Paper Pushups — With your arms outstretched, while grabbing the edge of your desk, lean at 45 degrees and start doing pushups. Consider 20 every hour on the hour.
  • Book Press — Pick up the heaviest book that you can hold with both hands. Then, extend the book above your head, and then lower it down behind your neck. This will help your triceps.
  • Shoulder Blade Squeezes — To improve your hunched posture, stand up and squeeze your shoulder blades back and forth. Hold the squeeze on your shoulder blades for 10 seconds.
  • Chair Squats — Stand a few inches from the edge of your chair, lower yourself until you are seated in your chair, stretch out your arms parallel to the ground and keep your back straight.
  • Standing Calf Raises — While grabbing the back of your chair, put your feet together, and get up on your tippy toes. This process strengthens your calf muscles.

Physical inactivity in the U.S. is having a major impact on military readiness. Believe it or not, but the U.S. Army went on record with PHIT America in 2017 to produce an op-ed to address physical inactivity in the U.S. In U.S. Army & PHIT America Respond To Obesity News: National Defense Is At Risk If Physical Inactivity Is Not Reversed, the U.S. Army made a plea to U.S. education leaders to bring back daily physical education to schools because too many military recruits coming out of high school are not physically fit, and, therefore, not capable of making it through boot camp without getting injured because their bodies are not used to basic levels of physical activity.

Learn more about how fighting the “inactivity pandemic” at


From Soil to Oil Oliver’s Harvest Brings Natural CBD Oil To Wellington

From Soil to Oil Oliver’s Harvest Brings Natural CBD Oil To Wellington

Longtime Wellington residents Frank and Herta Suess are ahead of the curve in the trending field of CBD oil. Oliver’s Harvest, the two-year-old company named after their son, is dedicated to bringing a natural product to people looking for a safe option for treating a variety of issues from pain and inflammation to insulin control.

The variety of products available is impressive. Herbal supplements help with specific issues, such as joint support, sleeping issues and blood glucose management for Type 2 diabetics. Tinctures are concentrated CBD oils that provide more broad-spectrum support for general wellness.

“CBD with melatonin — I take that,” said Frank Suess, who has used CBD oil since before starting this venture. “I used to take Lorazepam, which is a prescription and addictive. I switched to our product, and it works well. With the Lorazepam, you need time to wake up, but with this, I felt rested and not drowsy.”

Suess has been involved in the healthcare industry through his Wellington-based businesses for decades, so it was a natural fit to base Oliver’s Harvest here as well.

Early on, Suess realized that while his pharmacist’s recommendations were solid, to develop a full product line, he needed an expert. So, he brought in a biomedical researcher to keep them on the cutting edge of the field. That is when Jamila Mammadova joined the team as the company’s research and development director.

“We want to refer to scientific data behind everything we claim,” Mammadova said. “We have studies on rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, pain sensitivity, insulin sensitivity for Type 2 diabetes and social anxiety. Currently, there is a clinical trial going on in Israel for inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Currently, there is no cure for these chronic diseases, and people are just living with it. They need an anti-inflammatory that will be able to calm down the body’s response, and CBD does exactly that.”

CBD — which stands for cannabidiol — can also be purchased in treats like gummies and honey sticks. These offer full-body effects and an energy boost.

“That’s one of the huge advantages of CBD — it does not have side effects. It doesn’t make one nauseous, it doesn’t numb your emotional responsiveness,” Mammadova explained. “You can’t damage your liver if you take it long term, and you can’t overdose with CBD. Because it’s such a natural product, it is safe for consumption.”

The company uses one source for its hemp-based CBD oil — a farm located in North Carolina where the Suess sons Oliver and Marcus work in the business. The hemp is grown, and the oil extracted, in the same facility.

“We want to control the quality,” Suess said. “Oliver does the bulk shipping from up there, and Marcus runs the extraction facility, which is like a brewery for CBD.”

Considering the connection between hemp and the soil, knowing where and how the product is grown and managed is vital.

“The quality of the soil is so important because hemp absorbs everything in the soil. It used to be used to clean the soil from contaminates. That means that anything in the soil becomes part of the plant, and what is in the plant becomes part of the extract,” Mammadova explained. “That’s why you want to keep soil as clean as possible for growing hemp. We also send out samples to an ISO-accredited third party for lab tests, ensuring that the product is high quality.”

Another popular CBD oil product is a line of pain creams specifically designed for tackling localized pain. Creams are combined with either lidocaine or capsaicin to treat pain in two ways.

“Lidocaine and capsaicin are analgesics that will numb the pain for short-term relief. The CBD component goes into the source of the pain and reduces inflammation to keep it from coming back. This is both short- and long-term pain treatment,” Mammadova said. “Capsaicin has additional properties. It is a neuroprotectant. That means it prevents nerves from being damaged. That works well for diabetic neuropathy or for any kind of pain that comes from nerve damage, like sciatic nerve pain or carpal tunnel syndrome.”

For many people, pets are family members who deserve the best of care, like any of their human relatives. Oliver’s Harvest has a line of products to help animals, including dogs, cats and even birds cope with pain and anxiety.

“It actually works faster with pets,” Mammadova said. “They have more receptors that will respond to CBD, so at the first dose, we see results.”

Helping both people and animals is important to the company.

“It fits in with the medical supplies because we already had pet supplies. We have glucometers for diabetic pets, for example. So, it was a natural extension,” Suess said. “We participate in the Noble Paws program, too. For every product that we sell for a pet, we donate a product to a rescue facility.”

Pet products for inflammation, arthritic pain and anxiety come in bacon-flavored tinctures or supplements and peanut butter. The latter is a tasty favorite of dogs that provides a broad-spectrum, full-body effect.

The company is working on additional products, such as a special supplement that combines 10 herbs with CBD to combat anxiety and stress, and another designed for PMS symptoms, including mood swings and cramps. They are also bringing in cigars made with CBD flowers.

CBD oil from hemp comes from the same family of plants that produce marijuana, but there is a key difference.

“The difference between these products and medical marijuana is the THC,” Mammadova said, referring to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana. “That will impact your functionality through the day because you feel high, you feel euphoric. You do not get those feelings by ingesting CBD; you only get the relief.”

Suess understands the concern of many professionals, including police officers, firefighters and truck drivers, to name a few. He stressed that CBD will not impact them in a negative way.

“We are even working with somebody who is developing CBD to treat addicts. Many addicts get started on opioids because of pain. High-strength CBD works for pain,” Suess said. “There are now quite a few trials going on because CBD is non-addictive. So, you can give CBD to help get addicts off pain medications.”

The Oliver’s Harvest factory outlet store is located at 3361 Fairlane Farms Road in Wellington. The doors are open Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but staff is always happy to answer questions and take orders over the phone and online.

Drop by the warehouse in person and receive a 10 percent discount on your purchase.

For more information about CBD oil products from Oliver’s Harvest, call (866) 634-3134 or visit


Kasey Perry-Glass Joins Forces With FullBucket To Bring ‘Be Good & Do Good’ Mantra To Wellington

Kasey Perry-Glass Joins Forces With FullBucket To Bring ‘Be Good & Do Good’ Mantra To Wellington

With many titles to her name, including an Olympic bronze medal and an FEI World Equestrian Games silver medal, dressage star Kasey Perry-Glass could be content with her busy life. However, while she is a competitive athlete driven by success, her passion for philanthropy also plays a large role in her life.

Her drive for success with horses began young, and she quickly advanced up the levels as a young rider when she decided to focus on dressage at age 14. Little did she know that years later, her determination and dedication to the sport, in combination with the talent of her Danish Warmblood gelding Goerklintgaards Dublet, would lead her to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she would help Team USA secure the bronze medal. Fast forward a few years, and the pair have had other notable performances at the FEI World Cup Finals, the FEI World Equestrian Games and the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Originally from California, Perry-Glass is based in the winter equestrian capital of the world during the season. Her busy routine consists of training multiple horses with the assistance of U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor Debbie McDonald.

Outside of the time she spends in the saddle, Perry-Glass is dedicated to expanding the awareness of philanthropy within the Wellington community and beyond. Her longtime support of Brooke USA, a nonprofit that funds programs to help equine owners in developing countries, has been a key part of her life. Inspired to help working equines in Central America, she was thrilled to recently become a brand ambassador for FullBucket, a one-for-one giving business with an extensive line of veterinary-strength digestion supplements.

Perry-Glass first learned of the company when she needed a higher-quality probiotic supplement for Dublet when travel was stressing his digestive system. Since beginning to use the probiotic line in 2018, following a recommendation from her vet, she not only witnessed the benefits of the scientifically proven ingredients, but she was exposed to FullBucket’s important promise — for every FullBucket product purchased, another will be donated to treat horses and donkeys in developing countries through the company’s giving program. This is a promise that Perry-Glass felt needed to be brought to the attention of all animal lovers, and she proudly joined the team as an ambassador.

FullBucket was founded by veterinarians and surgeons determined to use their business to make a significant difference in the world. The team developed the highest concentration of probiotic-based equine, dog and cat health supplements on the market, but they wanted to continue helping animals. With their mantra “Be Good & Do Good,” FullBucket used the supplements as a springboard into helping working equines around the world.

“When we first began donating products to these communities, we recruited the help of local veterinary colleges to test the donkeys, horses and mules’ stool and soil samples to better evaluate what was needed in their diets,” explained Dr. Rob Franklin, one of FullBucket’s co-founders. “We were then able to craft a unique blend to fit their specific nutritional needs. In addition, we hired local mills to produce the supplement to stimulate job growth, and we developed a channel to distribute on an ongoing basis, which delivers free to the developing communities who really need the assistance.”

While the products are used by top veterinary practices around the country, FullBucket’s unique business model is a steadfast reason that it has become a staple for many pet owners as they make the choice to give their pets FullBucket products over others.

Perry-Glass is one of many to make FullBucket her first choice in keeping her horses feeling and performing their best. 

“I am so excited to be working with a company with such good values and a great product — that is really important to me, and giving back is a passion of mine,” she explained. “What they do for working equines is amazing, and I’m looking forward to telling more people about FullBucket, especially in the animal-loving community of Wellington, and their one-for-one giving business model.”

FullBucket has shaken up the animal healthcare industry as the first successful giving one-for-one business. With support from its customers, the company has distributed more than 13,000 buckets of nutritional products to impoverished villages throughout Central America. Taking their support one step further, FullBucket’s team of professionals organize giving trips to communities that need the most aid. 

“During our annual giving trip, we invite several veterinarians and industry professionals to volunteer in a program that allows them to use their skills and help these working equines and the families that rely on them, and see firsthand what goes on in these impoverished communities,” co-founder Robo Hendrickson said. “For a week, we vaccinate, float teeth, trim hooves and tend to saddle sores like you’ve never seen before.”

It has been nine years since their first trip, and the community behind FullBucket has served hundreds of tons of nutritional supplement and helped thousands of malnourished working equines and their families.

“More than 170 volunteers have experienced the lifechanging gift of serving those in desperate need,” Hendrickson added. “To be able to return to a community a year following our initial visit and see the vast improvement in the health and care of their working equines by our support and the educational tools we provided, makes our journey even more special.”

The devotion of FullBucket’s time and resources to social issues close to her heart epitomizes the philanthropic aspirations of Perry-Glass. 

“We were thrilled to have Kasey as our first official rider in our athlete ambassador program,” co-founder Dr. Keith Latson said. “When we launched FullBucket as a supplement line that developed first-class products for veterinarians to use for digestive issues, we quickly realized that our team shared an innate ambition to help others. We redesigned the business from the ground up to align with our personal objectives to help others and working equines. Kasey shares our passion to try your best each day and to leave people, animals and the world better than you found them.”

Together, Perry-Glass and FullBucket Health are committed to continuing their philanthropic efforts into the future, and she looks forward to joining them on a future giving trip to Guatemala to see the good FullBucket brings to communities in dire need of assistance.

As a team, they hope to bring light to the conditions of the working equines that aren’t always lucky enough to receive top-of-the-line care, or even any care at all. Beyond the beautiful properties of Wellington, there are animals that need help and can benefit directly from FullBucket’s “Be Good & Do Good” mantra.

Learn more at


New Ambulatory Surgery Center To Open Soon At Bethesda Hospital West

New Ambulatory Surgery Center To Open Soon At Bethesda Hospital West

Having an outpatient surgery procedure is about to get more convenient for residents in Wellington and the surrounding communities. Baptist Health South Florida is opening a new Ambulatory Surgery Center this fall on the campus of Bethesda Hospital West.

At the Ambulatory Surgery Center, surgical procedures that once required a hospital stay of two to three days can now be performed at the new outpatient facility, allowing patients to make faster recoveries and keep their healthcare costs more affordable.

Equipped with the latest in clinical innovation and advanced technology, the Baptist Health Surgery Center is a 15,000-square-foot center designed to offer patients comprehensive outpatient surgical services in a spa-like environment.

Upon entering the new center, patients will be greeted by a team of board-certified surgeons and specialty trained surgical nurses who are dedicated to providing the highest levels of quality and safety. As patients prepare for surgery, families are ushered to the tranquil, natural light-infused waiting room, where they will be able to track their loved one’s progress during their procedure in real time and enjoy complimentary wi-fi.

Thanks to modern medical advancements, such as minimally invasive procedures and new anesthesia techniques that reduce complications, patients can return home sooner from procedures such as orthopaedic knee replacement procedures and gynecologic surgeries.

Looking ahead to 2020, Bethesda Hospital West will embark upon its largest expansion to date. Currently 80 beds with all private rooms, the hospital is going to add 35 medical-surgical beds in all private inpatient rooms, with two new operating suites. Because of the hospital’s butterfly design, the new rooms will be built on the side opposite the existing patient tower. In this way, construction noise can be kept to a minimum for patients at rest. Construction is expected to be completed in 2023.

Bethesda Hospital West was designed to grow to 400 inpatient beds as the community grows. It offers medical and surgical care, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation services, an intensive care unit and a 24-hour emergency center for adults and children.

“These two new additions to the Bethesda Hospital West campus demonstrate our commitment to the people in western Palm Beach County,” said Roger L. Kirk, CEO of Bethesda Health. “Together with Baptist Health South Florida, we are making outpatient surgical care and inpatient hospital care more accessible, reflecting our continued commitment to providing compassionate care that will meet our community’s needs.”

Bethesda Hospital West, along with Bethesda Hospital East and its affiliated facilities, joined Baptist Health in 2017 to expand access to high-quality, compassionate healthcare across South Florida. Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals — Baptist Hospital, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Bethesda Hospital East, Bethesda Hospital West, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Fishermen’s Community Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital, South Miami Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital — and nearly 50 outpatient and urgent care facilities, spanning four counties.

Learn more at


The Wellington Community Foundation Awards Inaugural Arle And Ken Adams Scholarships

The Wellington Community Foundation Awards Inaugural Arle And Ken Adams Scholarships

Some of the best opportunities in life exist in your own backyard. That is especially the case when it comes to high school students and their parents who are searching for college scholarship opportunities. One of those scholarships with roots in Wellington is the new Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship, which is administered by the Wellington Community Foundation.

The Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship, which was distributed for the first time this year, was created to serve those in need who can benefit from a helping hand in order to become one of tomorrow’s leaders.

According to Wellington Community Foundation Chair Tom Wenham, the scholarship will be awarded annually to two students from Wellington who have a proven track record of supporting the Village of Wellington and its residents.

The scholarship was named in honor of former Palm Beach County Commissioner Ken Adams and his late wife, Arle Adams. Longtime Wellington residents, Arle and Ken Adams made great contributions to the growth and development of the Village of Wellington, dating back to the late 1970s.

Key figures in getting Wellington incorporated as a municipality in the 1990s, there are very few aspects of Wellington’s growth that cannot be attributed to some kind of involvement or assistance from Arle and Ken Adams.

A scholarship committee led by Wellington Community Foundation board members James Seder and Joanna Boynton was given the task of recommending the inaugural recipients of the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship.

According to Wenham, there were 18 applicants, and making a decision was difficult.

“Our selection committee recommended two out of 18, and it was not easy,” Wenham said. “They all had great GPAs and résumés.”

Seder agreed that there was a wealth of qualified candidates who submitted applications this inaugural year.

“I am very proud of all of these young men and women,” he said. “We received 18 applications in our first year, which is an incredible number.”

The scholarship committee put the word out about the new scholarship by reaching out to local high schools.

“We relied on guidance counselors to put the word out there,” Seder said. “We also believed that the higher award amount of $2,500 could help a lot of people with expenses. Once the applications were received, the scholarship committee reviewed each application. I can assure you that we spent many hours and days reviewing these applications. Each one had its own merits. Committee members submitted their top candidates to the foundation’s board of directors, and votes were cast to award the scholarships.”

The first recipients are Wellington residents Sebastian Suarez, a 2019 graduate of Palm Beach Central High School, and Francesca Herman, a 2019 graduate of Wellington High School.

“We strived to make our scholarship different from the others by trying to focus on the values and qualities that Arle and Ken Adams exemplified over the years,” Seder said. “This includes an emphasis on public service, leadership and community involvement. We also considered academic achievement and overcoming adversity in making the award decision.”

Suarez will attend the University of Florida in Gainesville. As part of his commitment to Wellington, Suarez has rebuilt homes, painted houses and raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The scholarship money will help Suarez and his family pay the college bills when he enrolls at UF, where he will pursue a degree in architecture. Suarez added that that he had help in searching for college scholarships, which led him to apply for the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship.

“I found a lot of information on the bulletin board of my school’s web site,” he said. “The Palm Beach County School Board also has listed a number of scholarships for local students to apply for and pursue.”

Suarez, who had a 3.95 GPA and a 5.13 HPA at Palm Beach Central, noted that it just takes basic verbal communication skills to find out the existence of many scholarships.

“It’s important to ask advice from other people who have recently gone through the college scholarship process,” Suarez suggested. “Ask your friends about their experiences and speak with your school’s guidance counselor. I have an older sister who just recently went to college, so I learned a lot from her experiences, as well.”

At Palm Beach Central, Suarez was a member of the Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society and Interact Club. Those extracurricular affiliations helped, not only in his application for this scholarship, but for others as well, such as one he received from the Rotary Club of Wellington.

Even though he has graduated, he’s still hoping that he will receive another scholarship before he heads to Gainesville. “I’ve also applied for the Charles R. O’Melia Scholarship, which supports students who want to pursue a career in architecture,” Suarez said. “In the essay part of the application, you had to tell your story about how important architecture is to you.”

Herman, who eventually wants to graduate from medical school, earned great grades at Wellington High School — a 3.98 GPA and 5.36 HPA. She will be headed to Tulane University in August.

Herman feels that many scholarship organizations are more interested in a candidate’s level of community service than their grade point average — but it doesn’t hurt to have strong grades.

Herman founded a club at Wellington High School that helped the less fortunate. It’s called the Seed Those in Need Club. She also traveled to Gainesville last summer where she conducted research on how restriction enzymes can attack Type 1 diabetes.

Both Suarez and Herman agree that half the battle in winning college scholarships is taking the time to apply for them. Being able to put your thoughts in writing — featuring properly written declarative sentences — is often the biggest hurdle in earning a college scholarship, they both agreed.

That is something they both accomplished in their scholarship applications.

“Sebastian and Francesca were both strong academic performers and involved in the community,” Seder said. “What spoke to me was how they overcame personal adversity in their lives and were still able to find the time to help others.”

Also important is for applicants to point out how the scholarship will help them achieve their goals

“I would like to see future scholarship applications place an additional emphasis on financial need,” Seder said. “With education costs always rising, sometimes these scholarships make the difference in whether a student attends college or not. If our scholarship helps someone get to college, I believe it’s money well spent and a great investment in the future.”

To learn more about the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship, call the Wellington Community Foundation at (561) 333-9843.


Somerset Academy Of The Arts Opening Soon In Wellington

Somerset Academy Of The Arts Opening Soon In Wellington

A new tuition-free educational choice for families is opening in Wellington this fall. Somerset Academy of the Arts is now accepting applications for kindergarten through eighth grade.

Located at 1000 Wellington Trace, Somerset Academy will occupy the 13-acre former Eagle Arts Academy campus. It is currently being renovated, and the school will host weekly open houses each Tuesday starting June 4.

Somerset Academy will be the sixth Somerset Academy school in Palm Beach County. Since 1997, Somerset Academy Inc. has offered high-quality K-12 educational programs in Florida, Nevada and Texas that continue to achieve academic success.

Although all Somerset Academy schools share a vision, each campus has a unique and enriching educational program that is tailored to its community. This formula, along with strong support from parents, has made Somerset Academy a nationally recognized, award-winning family of high-quality public charter schools. As a network, the schools are fully accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In addition to the core curriculum, Somerset Academy will provide an elective track for music, dance, visual and performing arts. The arts will also be integrated throughout the curriculum, and a highly qualified faculty will use research-based techniques and methods to engage students at all learning levels.

Principal Elizabeth Sauri will lead Somerset Academy in Wellington. Formerly the assistant principal at Mater Academy of International Studies in Miami, Sauri has multiple degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in special education with varying exceptionalities, a master’s degree in international business administration and a second master’s degree in educational leadership. She is excited to share her educational and leadership experiences with the Wellington community.

“Somerset Academy of the Arts will distinguish itself by providing every student with a rigorous learning environment enhanced by creativity and personal artistic development within the visual and performing arts,” Sauri said. “Unique educators facilitate our students’ learning experiences with creative lessons that not only academically challenge the students but empower their creativity and self-expression.”

Students can apply to Somerset Academy regardless of their zip code or community. Enrollment is based on a lottery process. Once the school has reached capacity, additional applicants will be placed on a waitlist and notified when vacancies occur. Sauri hopes that parents will take advantage of the summer tours and register for the lottery early.

“Students enrolling before the summer registration have the best chance to be admitted in the first lottery, since all of the seats are open,” she said. “Students enrolling now will be invited to tour the school with their parents to see where they will create years of memories, which will shape their future educational endeavors.”

Because this is a new school, families have a chance to be part of something special — the first class. “As an extra bonus, any student registering before July 15 will have two votes in selecting the school mascot,” Sauri said.

In addition to the core curriculum and arts electives, students will have opportunities to participate in learning experiences outside the classroom through field trips and partnerships within Palm Beach county’s diverse arts community. School-sponsored art showcases and afterschool activities will round out the robust offerings.

“We will develop extracurricular activities throughout the school year to meet student visual and performing art needs. Students will also participate in school shows, exhibiting art, music, dance and theater,” Sauri said. “We’re also looking at afterschool enrichment clubs based specifically on student demand and needs.”

As the renovations on the campus continue, Sauri is excited to meet families and show off the progress. Somerset Academy plans to be not only an exciting and welcoming learning environment, but a safe and secure place for students and teachers alike.

“Student safety is of the utmost importance to me and my fellow educators,” she said. “We are building in several safety features, from a state-of-the-art camera system, to fencing and on-campus security guards.”

Charter schools are public schools that are publicly funded based on enrollment like other public schools and are held accountable to the same state and federal academic standards. Teachers are certified, and students take the same mandated tests that other Florida students take, and schools receive grades from the Florida Department of Education. A national survey revealed that 78 percent of parents with school-age children support having a public charter school open in their neighborhood.

Somerset Academy of the Arts is on Facebook and Instagram at @somersetartspb, and parents can apply online by visiting Open houses are held every Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. starting June 4, although the campus will be closed the week of July 4. Tours can also be arranged by calling (561) 421-5510.


Mountaineer’s School Of Autism Serves The Student And The Entire Family

Mountaineer’s School Of Autism  Serves The Student And The Entire Family

Mary Jo Walsh-Watson spent 20 years as a pediatric ER nurse and the past 17 as the mother of a son who is deaf and severely autistic. Between home-schooling, doctors’ visits, frequent trips to therapy and other responsibilities, “happy” was taking a backseat.

“And ‘happy’ is really important,” said Walsh-Watson, who founded the Mountaineer’s School of Autism in 2014. “As an educator and a mom and a nurse in the community, I wanted to create a school that served not only the student, but the family as well.”

Parents of children with special needs, such as autism, are often being pulled in multiple directions at once.

“One of the first things we did was to open a therapy center on site so students could get speech, occupational and ADA therapy while they’re at school,” Walsh-Watson explained. “That frees up the parent, so they no longer have to drive all over for these services. We provide a loving, safe and quality environment where the students can get their education while we strengthen the community by strengthening families to have a happier life.”

At Mountaineer’s School of Autism (MSA), there are athletics, iPads, music and Spanish classes, sign language, playground time, and endless amounts of patience and love. Students learn academics and social skills alongside speech therapy, occupational therapy, independent living skills and social skills.

While students may think they’re only playing, the educators at MSA know that students are better able to focus and perform academically after “playing” on a crash pad, carrying a weighted ball, pulling on a rope or crawling through a fabric tunnel. All of these activities are fun, engaging and provide the necessary input to help the student become more regulated.

Walsh-Watson explained that self-regulation is a cognitive process and a necessary ingredient to making learning meaningful. It is in charge of executive functioning and is intertwined with both emotional development and social development. When a person is “dysregulated,” their ability to function in a meaningful way is disrupted. It becomes difficult to learn new information, make or keep relationships and build social skills. That is why occupational therapy is such an important part of the MSA program. The necessary tools are in each classroom. Every classroom has swings, crash pads, balance boards, trampolines and a host of other equipment to help the students function at their best.

Another challenge for teachers is dyspraxia — a student’s difficulty in planning, sequencing and carrying out unfamiliar actions. To help, MSA has planned activities, goals and objectives that address this need in a challenging and playful way.

A day at the school starts with smiles in a classroom featuring modified lighting and relaxing music. Students begin with sensory activities and social skill-building conversation, then continue their day with academics, playground time, sports, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Independent living skills are worked on daily — things like tying shoes, brushing teeth and cleaning up as a team. This sense of community and teamwork builds self-confidence and trust in others.

“At Mountaineer’s, we are a family, and a family works together for the success of everyone,” Walsh-Watson explained. “We listen and guide conversations, so respect and character-building takes place. This is a place where a multitude of a child’s growth takes place. It is so much more than simply academics.”

The primary purpose of the school is to recognize the unique characteristics of each student and to apply a curriculum specifically designed to meet their individual needs. Every student’s educational portfolio is individually tailored and executed utilizing a continuous multidisciplinary approach implemented by highly trained staff and therapists. This program determines that student’s educational format, daily routine and interventions implemented to maximize educational goals.

MSA utilizes a wide variety of resources throughout the course of a day. Depending on the developmental level of the student, any number of tools may be utilized, including manipulatives, kinetic sand/theraputty, iPads, computers, textbooks, workbooks and more. MSA utilizes Abeka, Attainment and Acellus curriculums based on ability.

The school has also partnered with HCI Nursing School and Cambridge Nursing School to train the next generation of nurses on how to best interact with autistic patients.

“It’s two days a week for eight weeks, and I’m the professor,” Walsh-Watson said. “It’s wonderful to see how these future nurses engage with our students.”

Educators at the Mountaineer’s School of Autism believe that recognizing and promoting each child’s strengths will build self-confidence and allow them to flourish both academically and socially. The small student-teacher ratio, together with educators and support staff with expertise in Applied Behavior Analysis and the various principles applied in the classroom, provides each family with a wide array of choices to meet the individual needs of each student.

Another problem that families of children with autism encounter is that whenever a traditional school is having a difficult time with an autistic child, they will call the parent to come pick them up.

“They lose income and, sometimes, their jobs,” Walsh-Watson said. “It creates an economic hardship.”

Because MSA in the business of serving families and creating happiness, the school has helped three of these parents obtain their GEDs and five to become registered behavior technicians, giving them the tools that they need to provide income for their families — and jobs at Mountaineer’s.

A nonprofit organization, the school serves grades K through 12 year-round. It also offers before care, aftercare and even a summer camp.

“We’re also open on Saturdays for babysitting and therapy to give the family time to nurture relationships with other siblings or significant others,” Walsh-Watson said. “Another difficulty we noted was healthcare. Children with autism are not able to have something as simple as blood work done. So, beginning next month, we will have a Saturday lab for onsite visits.”

Mountaineer’s also offers a program for students not on the autism spectrum.

“We also understand the strain of having one child with special needs at one school and another, neurotypical, child at another. So, this past September, we opened Mountaineer’s Academy for neurotypical siblings,” Walsh-Watson said. “The children at our academy have true compassion.”

There are currently 10 children enrolled at Mountaineer’s Academy and 48 at Mountaineer’s School of Autism.

Walsh-Watson’s goals for the school are to expand the school’s current space in West Palm Beach, find a location in Boca Raton and purchase another van for transportation, particularly from the Wellington area. One hundred percent of donations stay within Palm Beach County.

“There’s no quitting,” Walsh-Watson said. “I have so much respect for families who have kids with autism. It’s one of most difficult and amazing jobs you’ll ever have. It’s both wonderful and hard at the same time. We want them to be kids and be happy. We can’t do it on our own. If everyone is to have accessibility for all the services and support they need, for both themselves and their children, we have to share resources. Everyone’s good at something, and everyone deserves to live their most happy life.”

To learn more about Mountaineer’s School of Autism, visit To support the school, contact Walsh-Watson at (561) 932-3938.


International Dressage Ride Micah Deligdish Calls Wellington Home

International Dressage Ride Micah Deligdish Calls Wellington Home

As a lifelong Floridian and horse enthusiast, the decision to move to Wellington was an easy one for 28-year-old Grand Prix dressage rider Micah Deligdish. Sunshine and palm trees were only an additional perk to the equestrian community that has become Deligdish’s year-round home.

With a vast amount of educational opportunities to expand her professional riding career, while maintaining a balanced social life within the community, Wellington has played a key role in the strides Deligdish has made toward her future in and out of the equestrian world.

Growing up riding in Central Florida, Deligdish and her family were somewhat familiar with the Wellington area. Frequenting the community for occasional activities, the one thing Deligdish never had the opportunity to do was compete in one of the many prestigious Wellington shows. However, it was a dream she would one day accomplish.

After studying political and broadcast journalism at American University in Washington, D.C., Deligdish worked in a corporate environment in the nation’s capital, but ultimately, the equestrian industry is where she felt she belonged. She gained experience as a working student before realizing that she would need to have year-round access to the best in the sport if she wanted to excel in dressage.

Trading the historic buildings and cherry blossom trees for outdoor arenas and ocean breeze, she made the move to Wellington to open her own business, Gemini Dressage, in 2014.

“I chose Wellington as my home because I wanted to pursue my professional career, and if I was going to be fully committed, I wanted to be surrounded by the best in the sport,” Deligdish explained. “From year-round training opportunities to the proximity to high-quality international shows — Wellington is perfect for me.”

It is no secret that Wellington is a mecca for all things horse related. With several of the largest competitions in the world set on its local stage, Wellington attracts the best riders in the world, with many athletes basing their businesses year-round instead of the typical seasonal stay.

This mecca for equestrians has created unlimited opportunities to learn and grow within the industry due to the access to top professionals and competitions. Wellington would be difficult to pass up when choosing a location for an equine-related business.

Today, Deligdish is celebrating four years of calling Wellington home. The USDF bronze, silver and gold medalist runs her training operation year-round from Wellington, where she sells horses and trains students of all levels of experience.

Deligdish made her international competition debut representing the country of Israel at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in the small tour on her horse Santos and has goals of competing in the European Championships later this year on her Grand Prix mount Destiny.

Although the equine focus is a large draw for Deligdish, she also enjoys other aspects of living in South Florida. “It’s nice to be living in a community where you can enjoy equestrian as a sport and lifestyle without losing opportunities outside the industry. I’m a Florida girl! I love being by the pool or at the beach, and being outdoors as much as I can be,” Deligdish said.

When she isn’t riding or working in her barn, you can find Deligdish watching polo at the International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sundays, spending time near the water and attending events to benefit various organizations.

“The USPRE week is one of my favorite events of season. As a rider who trains many Spanish horses, I always support this exciting event focused on promoting the breed with amazing performances and live entertainment,” Deligdish explained. “The equestrian community is very supportive, and I enjoy attending as many fundraising events as I can, like the Lucchese 40-Goal Polo Challenge, and my favorite, which is the Buck Off, benefiting the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.”

Not only does Deligdish enjoy supporting the Vinceremos event for its fundraising efforts, but the event holds a special place in her heart, since she met her fiancé, Shahmir Quraeshi, at the charity event. Quraeshi, a polo player for Escue Polo, grew up in Wellington. In November 2018, at the International Polo Club, Quraeshi proposed to Deligdish by writing “Will You Marry Me?” on Field One and flying her over in his airplane.

“Shah and I have been able to support each other in our equestrian lifestyles, whether I’m grooming for him at a polo game, or he’s videoing one of my tests at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, we are there for each other,” Deligdish said.

Looking down the line, Deligdish is excited to continue her life in Wellington. As her business expands with her goals of high-performance international competition, she is proud to call this small slice of equestrian heaven her home and where she plans on starting her family.

Down the road, her sights are set on making it to the 2019 European Championships and in future international championships, where she is sure to represent Wellington well.

Learn more about Micah Deligdish at