Category Archives: Wellington Health

Dr. Pedro Sanchez Of MDVIP Offers A Concierge Approach To Healthcare

Dr. Pedro Sanchez Of MDVIP Offers A Concierge Approach To Healthcare

The trend toward concierge medicine is a blend of the old school family doctor and of the new school technological and preventative approach to medicine. Wellington’s Dr. Pedro Sanchez has embraced the trend, which he feels provides better healthcare for his patients.

Sanchez spent more than 25 years in a traditional medical practice, seeing approximately 30 patients per day, before joining MDVIP in March 2017.

“I was spending approximately 5 minutes with each patient, which wasn’t enough,” Sanchez explained. “Now, I can give individual attention, which is a massive improvement and a much higher level of care.”

Apart from the individualized attention, he believes there is also a cost savings benefit to MDVIP’s approach.

“I can call specialists while the patient is in the room and consult with them — and the patient — on the best way to treat the illness,” Sanchez said. “By doing this, I recently saved a patient an emergency room visit.”

Sanchez also feels that he can now better help patients who have chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and more.

“I have time to counsel and explain their condition to the patient, and insist on coordination amongst all of the specialists,” he said.

MDVIP was founded in 2000 in Boca Raton and now has a nationwide network of more than 950 affiliated physicians serving more than 280,000 patients.

“It’s also excellent for snow birds and travelers,” Sanchez said. “All of my patients have my cell phone number, and either I can coordinate what they need or I can get them in to see one of my colleagues.”

The foundation of the approach is the MDVIP Wellness Program, which encompasses advanced screenings and physician counseling that focuses on important health and wellness areas, and includes an annual comprehensive, prevention and wellness assessment that lasts up to two hours.

The annual membership of $1,850 breaks down to about $150 a month, or $5 a day, and can be paid quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

An added courtesy is the Family Plan, which allows the adult patients’ children, between the ages 16 and 26, to be seen without an additional annual membership fee.

MDVIP accepts all commercial insurance and Medicare, and the concierge approach offers another cost savings to the patient. “I have time to get prior authorizations,” Sanchez said. “I have more time, which means my ability to fight for the patient against the insurance company has increased.”

The annual well assessment also means that the patient is rigorously screened for diseases that are either present in their genetic tree or appropriate to their gender, age, race or ethnicity.

This is another way where the patients’ long-term health is focused upon, while simultaneously keeping costs down through early detection and treatment.

“Everybody in medicine is moving in that direction,” Sanchez said. “Accountable care organizations and commercial insurance companies do everything based on costs.”

Sanchez added that MDVIP has access to the master database of the Centers for Medical Excellence, which allows him to research the very best specialists to treat each specific condition and get an appointment for the patient.

He has privileges at both Palms West Hospital and Wellington Regional Medical Center and is connected to most specialists in the area. “Even if my patient is being treated by a specialist in the hospital, I will still stop by and visit during my social rounds,” Sanchez explained.

At any given time, he has a total of about 300 patients, and because he only sees about ten per day, he has time to deal with their urgent needs.

“If you need me now, you’ve got me now,” he said.

Sanchez feels he is practicing the kind of medicine he always wanted to.

“This is a dynamite package of high-level, quality, individualized attention at a reasonable level of cost,” he emphasized. “We’re finally doing the right thing for people.”

Dr. Pedro Sanchez Family Medicine, affiliated with MDVIP, is located at 1035 S. State Road 7, Suite 120, in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 432-4971 or visit


Dr. Matt Symons Takes A Holistic, Preventative Approach To Healthcare

Dr. Matt Symons Takes A Holistic, Preventative Approach To Healthcare

Chiropractor Dr. Matt Symons offers patients a different option for those who want the holistic and preventative approach to healthcare his practice offers.

“Rather than typical treatment models, I want to get to the cause of the problem,” Symons explained. “In their lifetime, five out of six people are diagnosed with either diabetes, heart disease or cancer, and these diseases are preventable. I want to take care of the situation before it becomes a major issue.”

He does this by following his model called the “5 Essentials Delivery System,” which focuses on patients having a maximized mind, nerve supply, quality nutrition, oxygen and lean muscle, as well as minimized toxins in their bodies.

Symons also uses equipment, developed by NASA, which allows him to see if a patient’s spine is in proper alignment. Motion study x-rays look at the functionality of the spine. This gives Symons data he can use for a personally customized adjustment that will move and loosen the joints systematically and scientifically.

“90 percent of the stimulus in the cerebellum comes from movement of the spine,” Symons explained.

He promotes nutritional testing and a specific diet for new patients. Also, since chronic inflammation can lead to pain, an inflammatory reaction test is also recommended for new patients, Symons said.

He feels an individual’s health goals are highly important, and he promotes fitness and energy ergonomics in order to allow the body to heal itself.

Symons has been a chiropractor for nearly 20 years, and has been at his practice —Palm Beach Health Center — for nearly 16 years.

The practice has two chiropractors, two massage therapists, two physical therapists and two nutritional consultants, and is adding a licensed therapist who will offer meditation, life coaching and counseling aimed at reducing stress.

Born and raised in the New York City metropolitan area, Symons moved to South Florida after his education and internships were completed because his wife is from here.

He chose to become a chiropractor after he suffered a traumatic wrestling injury when he was 16 years old, followed by six months of constant headaches.

“Traditional medicine prescribed me to take acetaminophen with codeine, but that ate a hole in my stomach,” Symons said.

The father of a friend suggested going to a chiropractor, and Symons was able to find relief from the headaches.

His sister and mother both suffered from scoliosis, so Symons has a deep understanding of how important a properly aligned spine and proper posture are to an individual’s well-being.

Due to his own background in athletics, Symons works with athletes often.

From 2010 to 2014, he was one of the team doctors for USA Judo, Wrestling and Weightlifting. His duties took him to the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The Palm Beach Health Center is the official wellness center for the Wellington Soccer Club.

Symons said most chiropractors base their treatment on how the patient feels, but he stressed that he is a spinal corrective chiropractor who uses x-rays to show exactly what the adjustment did for the individual patient.

“I have individual physicians who believe in what we do here, but these are selective consultations,” Symons said.

Reducing unnecessary thoughts, traumas and toxins are vital to a healthy lifestyle plan, he stressed.

Symons also pointed out that a preventative approach also benefits the patient’s financial well-being because catastrophic hospitalizations are avoided.

“50 percent of bankruptcies are due to medical bills, and 70 percent of those people had medical insurance,” Symons noted.

He especially wants to teach young people how to avoid disease. “I want to educate my patients so that they will take care of themselves properly,” Symons said. “The best doctor is inside of them.”

The Palm Beach Health Center is located at 1011 N. State Road 7, Suite D, in Royal Palm Beach. For more info., call (561) 333-8353 or visit


Yoga Expert Richard Cosola Offers A Holistic Path To Better Health

Yoga Expert Richard Cosola Offers A Holistic Path To Better Health

Richard Cosola has been a resident of Wellington for 20 years, and in that time, he has made a name for himself in the world of yoga, both here in the western communities and across South Florida.

Cosola first become involved in yoga for emotional, rather than physical, wellness. It has been 11 years since his son, Michael, passed away suddenly at the age of 22. His wife and daughter were both devastated, and Cosola struggled to deal with his own grief.

“My system was shocked, and I experienced major anxiety, which we now call PTSD,” Cosola said.

Facing a regimen of prescription drugs, he sought out an alternative. Cosola feels he was emotionally healed by his practice of yoga.

“I started the bereavement group at St. Rita Catholic Church, and I learned how many people out there are very sad,” he explained. “They’re carrying around a lot of burdens and excess baggage.”

Cosola wanted to share his experiences and practices with people, and see if what helped him could help them. So, he started Yogachi USA.

“I tell my clients, ‘I want you to be flexible until you’re 95.’ I want people to get out of their chair, go do something and be flexible,” he said.

What Cosola offers is more than just yoga instruction. He also focuses his attention on nutrition. The vegetables and herbs from his home-grown garden are a significant portion of the Mediterranean diet he practices himself, and encourages others to emulate. “It’s the best for lifelong wellness,” he said.

Cosola feels that yoga and a healthy diet are the major reasons why his wife of nearly 40 years is thriving, even though Randi suffers from multiple sclerosis. They enjoy spending time with their daughter Debra, son-in-law Jason and granddaughter Evie.

The Cosolas have lived in Wellington’s Coventry Green neighborhood for 20 years in a newly remodeled and redecorated 2,300-square-foot townhome. “My wife is a fantastic decorator,” Cosola said.

Upon reflection, Cosola said he is busy with teaching yoga six days a week.

“Sundays are for cooking, eating and spending time with your family and friends,” he explained.

He is an instructor at LA Fitness three days a week, he is at the Wellington’s Edge clubhouse two days a week and typically sees private clients one day a week. “My favorite place to teach is Wellington’s Edge,” he said.

The LA Fitness classes have about 40 students, but he prefers smaller groups or one-on-one sessions. “In those large classes, it’s impossible for teachers to focus on the individual,” he said.

Cosola likes to get to know his clients and understand what their life is all about, so he can offer them the best instruction possible.

He helps people with all kinds of disabilities and illnesses, including neurological diseases, people with chronic pain, patients suffering from fibromyalgia, and those with back injuries and sciatica.

Cosola can also work with someone who is wheelchair bound, and he has done some teaching in a pool. Aqua yoga will be an aspect of the practice that he expects will soon become popular.

He also does work with athletes, and in Wellington that means equestrians looking to become more flexible. Cosola was once a professional baseball player and did some boxing in his younger days, so he understands what athletes are looking for. “Athletes want three things: power, speed and flexibility. When they have all three, they become a very effective person,” he explained, noting that flexibility is the most important thing to have and that he is in better shape now than he was in his 20s.

He also has clients from the corporate world who are looking for a place to de-stress. Apart from the physical benefits, Cosola helps clients improve their mental ability to focus, which benefits them in their career.

“I have them get in the ‘quiet’ position at the end of a session, have them focus on all of the good things in their life and encourage them to let go of fear and anxiety,” Cosola said.

What is most important for him is to have mutual communication with a client, and especially to connect with their sense of humor.

For more information, call (561) 282-7450, e-mail or visit


Roger Roque Helps People Stay In Shape… One Paddle Stroke At A Time

Roger Roque Helps People Stay In Shape… One Paddle Stroke At A Time

Okeeheelee Park is an oasis in central Palm Beach County, offering nearly every recreational activity one could want. The park has lakes, along with plenty of trails for biking, running and walking. It’s a perfect setting for those who seek to exercise in the tranquility of fresh air.

Among the many options for exercising in Okeeheelee Park is to paddle a kayak, canoe or the more adventurous stand-up paddleboard on the freshwater lakes.

If you don’t own any of those watercraft, don’t fret, because Kayak-King WaterSports has you covered.

Eleven years ago, Roger Roque was working in the medical field when one day a client he befriended casually asked him if he was interested in buying a business. He was intrigued at the invitation and checked out the modest kayak rental business.

“I saw tremendous potential, and after arranging for financing, I bought the business,” Roque recalled.

As the United States fights an obesity epidemic, many people are trying to live a healthier lifestyle through proper diet and a regular exercise regimen. South Florida has plenty of water, so paddling one’s way to better health is quite popular.

“About 90 percent of the rentals are for an hour to an hour and a half, which is just enough time for the over-stimulated person to disconnect from their hectic lives in the peace and silence of nature,” Roque said.

The kayak and canoe offer an excellent workout for the abdominal core and arms, while the paddleboard is a complete full-body training session.

Roque said that in about five minutes, his staff can train the novice so they spend more time paddling through the water than falling into it.

In more than a decade of renting out equipment, he said he has not had one major injury. Roque believes this is because his staff ensures that the safety equipment — such as life jackets — is personally sized to the individual, ensuring a proper fit.

Anyone who is just starting to get themselves into shape shouldn’t be concerned with not being able to enjoy a kayak, canoe or paddleboard. “No one is too big to rent our equipment,” Roque said.

He suggests wearing a swimming suit and water shoes when going out on the water.

Other groups of his clientele are anglers, who typically rent a kayak or canoe for three to five hours, or people who have rented one of the park’s pavilions for a party and want their guests to be able to get out on the water.

South Florida is also known for pop-up thunderstorms, but Roque said Okeeheelee Park has lightning detectors and sirens that warn people if a storm is in the area. The warning system allows those out on the open water enough time to get back to the dock without getting caught in a lightning storm.

An added safety dimension of paddling at Okeeheelee Park is that the lakes there are not connected to the canal system, so the possibility of alligators, snakes and other dangerous animals is fairly minimal, Roque said.

Bicycles are also available to rent, and the paths in the park give the right of way to bikes rather than to those on foot, he said.

Running a small business can be a challenge at times, and Roque counts on the community for support. “If the community wants to continue to have these kinds of services available, then they need to support small business,” he said.

Kayak-King WaterSports is open Saturday, Sunday and major holidays (except Christmas Day) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last rental is at 4 p.m.). During the summer, the business runs Thursday through Monday.

Kayak-King WaterSports is located in Okeeheelee Park at 7715 Forest Hill Blvd. For more information, call (561) 304-1344 or (561) 632-7969, or visit


Dr. Z. Catherine Navarro Brings Decades Of Experience In Vein Care

Dr. Z. Catherine Navarro Brings Decades Of Experience In Vein Care

Dr. Z. Catherine Navarro of the Vein Center of the Palm Beaches always did well in her science classes, but early on, she dreamed of a career as an oceanographer. However, when a friend asked Navarro to become her “science buddy,” her mind was opened to a career of helping people through medicine.

A “science buddy” was required for the volunteer hospital program that her friend wanted to do, an extension of the co-ed Boy Scouts Explorer program. Agreeing to join the program would change Navarro’s life.

“My sister was very ill as a child, and this friend was interested in becoming a doctor,” Navarro recalled. “I agreed in order for her to be part of this medical program at Coney Island Hospital.”

The more time Navarro spent at the hospital, the more interested in medicine she became. Born and raised in New York City, she went on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with further medical training through the Boston University system. Navarro had her sights set on becoming a plastic surgeon — but halfway through her residency, she was ready to quit.

“My legs were killing me. I was going to drop out,” Navarro confessed.

Her problem? Varicose veins and spider veins. The American doctors she was talking to had no real solutions to offer.

“I met one physician who had trained in France,” she said. “He got me connected with his friends, and I went to Europe.”

There, her studies continued, but her focus changed completely.

“The Europeans did things differently. They were more preventative, used more herbs and supplements, and were big proponents of exercise,” Navarro said. “They also had special stockings that they didn’t have here. In Europe, I got interested in sclerotherapy [vein care]. In France, most of this work was done by dermatologists, so I also learned about skin care, peels and fillers.”

When she returned to the United States, Navarro was well-schooled in skin care and vein care, choosing South Florida to set up her practice in the 1980s.

“I chose the Wellington area because it wasn’t as crowded as New York City, but it still had sophistication,” she said. “I didn’t end up having children, but it was a community that was good for children with good schools. It was also exciting because two new hospitals were going to go in at the same time.”

Over the course of her practice, Navarro has enjoyed being on the staff at Palms West Hospital, JFK Medical Center and Wellington Regional Medical Center, where she served as director of medicine in the 1980s.

Navarro is board certified in internal medicine and phlebology, and currently serves on the faculty of the American College of Phlebology. She is also a member of the American Medical Association and the American Society of Internal Medicine.

At her Vein Center of the Palm Beaches, Navarro specializes in all the latest treatments for vein care, including laser vein treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, endovenous laser ablation, closure, ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, Asclera injection, sotradecol sulfate and more. The practice also includes a wide range of skin treatments.

Navarro stressed that she does not operate a clinic, where you see the doctor for your initial visit and then are handed off to a technician.

“I do all my own work,” Navarro said. “Most people coming to see me now, they don’t like the way their face looks, or are concerned about the hair on their head. They want injections to regenerate their skin, face or hair. Or they have swelling or pain in their legs. Or they have spider veins and haven’t been able to get rid of them.”

By helping others, Navarro feels she has come full circle. “I often say I didn’t choose my practice, my practice chose me,” she said.

The Vein Center of the Palm Beaches is located at 955 Sansburys Way, Suite 209, in West Palm Beach. To schedule a consultation or appointment, call (561) 333-6366. Visit for more information.


Veterinarian Dr. Christina Herejk Brings An Integrated Approach To Helping Local Animals

Veterinarian Dr. Christina Herejk Brings An Integrated Approach To Helping Local Animals

Sometimes human medicine’s loss is veterinary medicine’s gain. Such is the case with local veterinarian Dr. Christina Herejk of the Royal Palm Veterinary Center.

“As is the case with many veterinarians, I was completely in awe of animals and nature as a child,” Herejk recalled. “My mother was a nurse, so I grew up hearing great stories about medicine. I was considering working with humans, but my mother suggested that I might be better off going into animal medicine.”

It has been a passion she has followed ever since.

“Once I had my first dog, I fell in love with the profession,” Herejk said. “I loved the fact that I could work with both animals and people, the animals’ owners.”

She attended the University of Florida in Gainesville for both her undergraduate and veterinary degrees, graduating in 2005. She worked with Dr. Richard Ringler, who established the Royal Palm Animal Hospital more than 25 years ago, taking over his practice in 2013.

At the Royal Palm Veterinary Center, Herejk is continuing Ringler’s mission to help animals in the community.

“We are all about providing good care to our patients and clients, taking the reins from the late Dr. Ringler to continue his life’s work,” Herejk said.

Dogs and cats continue to be the center’s primary focus.

“In addition to annual wellness examinations and vaccinations, we treat a variety of problems,” Herejk said. “We deal with a number of geriatric problems, such as osteoarthritis and kidney disease, as well as skin problems. I love dermatology, and I have started to venture into integrated medicine — cold laser therapy, veterinary acupuncture.”

Integrated medicine is an alternative approach to treating the patient, taught at the Chi Institute just outside Gainesville, which specializes in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine.

“We’re taking what we’ve been trained to do in school and combining it with other modalities for the most optimal results for our patients’ health,” Herejk explained. “Sometimes western medicine is great, but it doesn’t hit it on the head. Being able to have another tool in my pocket is fantastic.”

And what advice would she give to other pet lovers considering life as a veterinarian?

“I would say, ‘Follow your dreams, follow your heart,’ because it is a lot of work,” Herejk said. “‘Study hard, do good in school and don’t be discouraged.”

She added that the cost of veterinary school is an obstacle that keeps many from following their dreams of becoming veterinarians.

“It’s a big topic being tackled by the American Veterinary Medical Association right now. Debt could be a deterrent,” she explained. “But if you want to make a difference in animals’ lives and their owners’ lives, just go for it.”

The Royal Palm Veterinary Center is located at 610 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. For more information, call (561) 793-7000 or visit


Caroline Blanke-Pena Of Holistic Health Palm Beach Specializes In Chinese Medicine

Caroline Blanke-Pena Of Holistic Health Palm Beach Specializes In Chinese Medicine

Caroline Blanke-Pena of Holistic Health Palm Beach discovered her calling after dealing with a condition that, for many years, couldn’t be cured by traditional western medical practices.

“As a last resort, I decided to try acupuncture,” Blanke-Pena recalled. “I didn’t even know what it was, but I found an acupuncturist I loved and went to her three times in seven days. The very first time, I felt this massive block in my abdomen move. It was a mind-blowing experience. By my third treatment, I was completely cured — never needed another drug or another treatment. That’s an incredible result.”

Convinced that eastern and western medicine could — and should — work well together, Blanke-Pena’s life had new purpose. Many courses and four state board exams later, Blanke-Pena is now a licensed acupuncturist and a nationally certified diplomate of Oriental medicine, acupuncture, herbology and Asian bodywork therapy. She graduated from the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine in Florida with a master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Ohio State University.

“Chinese medicine really depends on what is going on with the patient. You have to listen in order to tell what would benefit them the most. Is it emotional pain, physical pain, post-traumatic stress?” Blanke-Pena said. “Chinese medicine works best in some cases, western medicine works better in others. That’s why I partnered up with a doctor when I opened Holistic Health Palm Beach. We refer back and forth to do what is in the best interest of the patient.”

Blanke-Pena said most of her patients are complaining of three things — physical pain, emotional pain and fertility issues.

“Chinese medicine can help with physical pain, especially pain in the back, joints, knees, elbows and fingers — and arthritis,” she said. “Acupuncture has an anti-inflammatory effect. Eight out of 10 of my patients move out of pain within one or two sessions, although some need more. Acupuncture is also particularly successful in treating insomnia and emotional pain.”

Blanke-Pena said local doctors often refer patients with pre- or post-menopausal symptoms for help with issues such as night sweats. Reproductive issues can also be treated. Perhaps a woman is having problems getting pregnant or needs support after previous miscarriages. Perhaps a man has a low libido or sperm count. “Chinese medicine has great success in those areas,” Blanke-Pena said.

She is particularly happy to see that eastern and western medicine are starting to work together and does her best to unite the two.

“I take the shame out of it,” Blanke-Pena said. “If a patient comes to me and says, ‘I’ve been on Prozac for 20 years. Do I have to go off it?’ I ask, ‘Would you come to me for 20 years and take my meds and do my treatments if you still felt lousy?’ I ask them if they want an alternative. We taper off, and I’ve had excellent results.”

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be an effective alternative to treatments that may require the use of invasive procedures, she said. Rather than resorting to surgery, knee or back pain can be controlled with acupuncture because it improves circulation to relieve pain, Blanke-Pena said. It also tends to have a positive effect on circulation throughout the body, improving energy and stamina while reducing stress and improving emotional well-being, she added.

While western medicine tends to concentrate on relieving specific symptoms, the goal of acupuncture is to resolve the underlying source of symptoms, she explained, by focusing on alleviating the origin of the ailment rather than on relieving the symptoms.

Holistic Health Palm Beach is located in Palomino Park at 3347 State Road 7, Suite 200, in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 601-0999 or visit


Patricia Cepeda-Russell Of MPCI Treats Patients Using Their Own Culture And Diversity

Patricia Cepeda-Russell Of MPCI Treats Patients Using Their Own Culture And Diversity

Mental health counselor Patricia Cepeda-Russell has been a child advocate for more than 20 years, working in case management, placement and as a therapist. She most recently turned her talents to Multilingual Psychotherapy Centers Inc. (MPCI) as a mental health practitioner serving the western communities of Palm Beach County.

Cepeda-Russell’s specialty is Therapeutic Behavioral On Site (TBOS) for Spanish speakers, which means she works to help change unwanted behaviors, such as oppositional defiance, adjustment disorder or other mal-adaptive behaviors that impede family harmony or success in school.

“I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is based on the idea that your thoughts influence your feelings, which then influence your actions,” Cepeda-Russell explained. “A popular example is, ‘I think, I feel, I do.’ I also utilize play therapy to build rapport and trust with children, as well as a way of gleaning pertinent information about their feelings. What makes MPCI special is our diversity and ability to bring therapy to people in their own language and with consideration to their culture.”

Cepeda-Russell sees weekly changes in clients who are frustrated with their lack of language skills, who are now learning to express their feelings.

“I have teens who are changing their negative coping mechanisms due to sexual abuse, to positive ones,” she said. “I have families that are learning new parenting techniques that are helping their kids adjust to major life changes.”

Cepeda-Russell’s personal life experiences give her an edge when it comes to helping Spanish-speaking clients.

“I am first-generation American, and English is my second language,” she said. “I can understand the challenges and frustrations that my young clients are feeling, because I have been there. I am also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and know first-hand what that looks like to a teenaged girl.”

Cepeda-Russell has turned her own negative experiences into a positive, not only for her clients, but for herself. “I get the privilege of modeling assimilation, positive coping skills and hope to my clients,” she explained.

She often uses a particular source, a helpful book titled From Obstacles to Opportunities, which was published in 2013 by WestBow Press and just happens to have been written by Cepeda-Russell herself. It can be found on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format.

Multilingual Psychotherapy Centers Inc. is a community mental health/behavioral health agency that serves children, adolescent, adults and their families in Palm Beach County. Established in 1997, its mission is to improve the lives of children and families through their diversity while considering their cultural background, speaking their own language and providing the mental health services they need.

MPCI works through its office, as well as on site in homes, shelters and schools — wherever the need arises — to alleviate emotional, behavioral and mental difficulties, improve their clients’ quality of life, and prevent the need for a more restrictive placement. Together with psychotherapy, MPCI provides case management services, psychological services and psychiatric services.

Multilingual Psychotherapy Centers Inc. is located at 1639 Forum Place in West Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 712-8821 or visit


Dr. Richard Kelleher Of Palms West Veterinary Hospital Loves Helping Animals In Need

Dr. Richard Kelleher Of Palms West Veterinary Hospital Loves Helping Animals In Need

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. That might explain why Dr. Richard Kelleher became a veterinarian.

“Ever since I was young, I have been just fascinated by animals and the creatures around me,” Kelleher said. “Growing up in New Jersey, I had fish, lizards, pocket pets — it was a God-given passion. When I took our dog to the vet, I think it must have made an impression on me. Animals are such innocent, helpless creatures. It feels good to be able to give them the help they need.”

Kelleher attended Virginia Tech for his undergraduate work and went on to receive his veterinary degree there. He has been in practice for 17 years now, eventually moving to Florida, where he has been an associate at the Palms West Veterinary Hospital for the past four years.

Much more than a standard veterinary office, the Palms West Veterinary Hospital functions much like a hospital. Animals stay briefly or overnight, depending on their needs. Some may need to be hooked up to an IV.

“There’s always a doctor present and a nurse present 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Kelleher said. “We also are an emergency and critical care hospital. If another vet doesn’t have overnight care, and that’s what the animal needs, they can transfer them here.”

With eight doctors on staff, the facility is well-equipped to treat any medical, surgical or dental issue that may arise. Owned by Dr. Ira Grossman, the Palms West Veterinary Hospital primarily serves dogs and cats, although some of the veterinarians work in equine practice on their own.

A calming environment in the waiting room was designed to put your pet’s nerves — and yours — at ease. And, just like at a hospital for humans, the staff is always looking toward the next big breakthrough.

Kelleher is particularly enthusiastic about recent innovations in veterinary care that are especially helpful to Florida pets.

“Florida is such an allergenic state,” he said. “But there are a lot of newer medications to relieve pets of the symptoms of their allergies that are very safe and relieve them of a lot of suffering. One of these innovations has come out within the last four to five years and one — an injection — as recently as eight months ago. They are extremely safe. The allergy injection helps control itching, poses no complications with other medications and can last four to eight weeks.”

Without paying for allergy testing, sometimes pet owners don’t know specifically what is causing their animal’s discomfort.

“I’ve been doing this for a while, and it’s extremely gratifying to see pets that have come in in bad shape — whether they have skin issues or injuries — and being able to treat them and return them back to the family,” Kelleher said. “It’s like the family receives a revitalized child.”

The Palms West Veterinary Hospital is located at 556 Folsom Road in Loxahatchee Groves. For more information, (561) 798-2780 or visit


Dr. Marisol Lopez-Belio Specializes In A Wide Range Of Dental Procedures

Dr. Marisol Lopez-Belio Specializes In A Wide Range Of Dental Procedures

Everyone loves the drama of before and after photographs, especially the patients of Dr. Marisol Lopez-Belio of the Wellington Center for Laser Dentistry.

“I’ve done many cosmetic reconstructions that really change people’s lives,” Lopez-Belio said. “A patient may have bad teeth, worn teeth or teeth of an ugly color and, after a reconstruction, their appearance has literally changed. They’re the most amazing success stories.”

Lopez-Belio and her staff have seen many such stories. She started her practice 26 years ago, in 1991, and moved into her own office in Wellington 22 years ago. Office manager Mary Almazan and hygienist Candy Cerbone have each been with her for 25 years. Her clinical assistant, Danielle Prieto, has been with Lopez-Belio for 13 years.

But it’s not all cosmetic dentistry. Lopez-Belio serves all ages in her general dentistry practice. From fillings to mouth guards, she does it all. She particularly likes how the use of lasers has revolutionized dentistry.

“I love lasers,” Lopez-Belio said. “I have four different types. I use different ones for different things.”

For example, the minimally invasive hard tissue laser, which Lopez-Belio purchased in 2010, allows her to fill cavities or restore resin fillings without numbing.

“Patients love that,” she said. “It’s so efficient. You can do multiple fillings in one day, where otherwise you couldn’t because the patient would be numb all over. With the laser, I can almost do as many as needed without them losing work time or having to wait  hours for the numbness to wear off.”

Another plus: as it works, the hard tissue laser is also killing bacteria. With no bacteria left behind, there is less of a chance of getting a cavity there again.

“We also use a laser for gum treatments, removing soft tissue lesions, treating ulcers and trimming the gums for aesthetic purposes,” Lopez-Belio added.

She can also help with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. “I do a lot of neuro-muscular dentistry to correct TMJ, grinding and crunching,” Lopez-Belio said. “These things can destroy your teeth or give you migraines. People who have been under a lot of stress for a lot of years, they’ve been grinding, then they get symptoms. We correct their bite. We have patients who are chronic; they can’t open their mouth and get several migraines a week. We have to do splint therapy, a full reconstruction or orthodontics. They have a bad bite, and we have to fix that. I devise an individualized treatment for each patient.”

Traditional braces are not an option for many adults. In those cases, Lopez-Belio suggests Invisalign, a series of clear aligners that can be removed for meals. “It’s awesome, and it works great,” Lopez-Belio said. “The treatment takes about a year. Every two weeks you get new, custom-made aligners until your teeth are straight. They’re comfortable, and thin enough so that they don’t affect your speech.”

Lopez-Belio can also help with sleep apnea for people who snore or stop breathing while they sleep.

“If you stop breathing, your oxygen level goes down, and it’s very dangerous,” she said. “A physician may order a CPAP oxygen machine, but it’s noisy. The patient needs to wear a mask, there’s tubing and it’s big — not good for traveling. So many patients prefer an oral appliance, which is like two mouth guards. It keeps the lower jaw forward so the muscles in the neck don’t collapse when they’re sleeping, which improves the airway.”

Lopez-Belio also has a Cerec machine — a computer that allows her to do a crown in one day. “You don’t lose time from work getting a temporary crown, and you don’t have to worry about the temporary falling off when you’re eating dinner,” she explained. “We design, mill, stain and glaze the crown, put it in the oven to harden it, then bond it to the tooth.”

A picture is still worth a thousand words. See some of Dr. Marisol Lopez-Belio’s success stories for yourself at

The Wellington Center for Laser Dentistry is located at 1200 Corporate Center Way, Suite 101, in Wellington. For more info., call (561) 791-8184.