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Central Chamber’s Medical Board Of Governors Leads The Way On Healthcare Issues

Central Chamber’s Medical Board Of Governors Leads The Way On Healthcare Issues

Nearly a decade ago, the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce established its Medical Board of Governors, a group of leading medical specialists, hospital administrators, and key executive leaders in the healthcare and medical sector in Palm Beach County, with a specific mission: “To lead the way as a healthcare organization, to advocate, explore, integrate, develop, promote, mentor and inspire.”

This unique group discusses and gets behind issues that involve the latest advances in science, patient care and operational innovation. It has addressed healthcare issues and provided recommendations that require the expertise of the medical leadership to the county’s business community, schools and local government.

Some issues that the board has taken a stand on in the past several years include: continuity of patient care, the opioid crisis, and a proposed free-standing emergency facility that would have had an unintended negative impact on healthcare jobs and on the community.

“We have a very large healthcare presence in our footprint,” explained Mary Lou Bedford, CEO of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber. “We are fortunate to have medical leaders who are willing to give their expertise to weigh-in on the issues that can impact the community.”

Chairing the group since 2017 is Dr. Lori Lane, a podiatric surgeon with offices in Wellington and West Palm Beach. Certified by the American Board of Wound Management, Lane has developed a passion for wound healing. She is involved in advanced treatments, including several clinical trials for the development of wound healing products and medications.

Lane believes that the Medical Board of Governors is a unique asset to the greater community.

“On it are physicians and prominent healthcare professionals with a combined 300-plus years of service to our community,” Lane said. “We live here, we work here, we raise our children here, and we experience the same community health issues as do all Wellington and central Palm Beach County residents. That is why we feel obligated, as well as honored, to provide professional insight into key community issues.”

Recently, the board took action on the critical issue of opioid addiction.

“Last year, we offered an educational luncheon to the community on the opioid crisis — an issue we as professionals experience first-hand daily,” Lane said. “Statistically, we know that most employers will have employees or employees with family members compromised by addiction. We want our board to be a resource on where to find help.”

A closely related issue will be the focus of an upcoming luncheon.

“This year, our healthcare luncheon, scheduled for Sept. 13, will center around mental health and the effects it has on our communities,” Lane said. “We know that so many of the tragedies happening in communities are rooted in mental health issues, especially around disparities in diagnoses, stigmas and treatment programs.”

This is a particularly timely issue, given recent events.

“School and workplace safety, increasing rates of suicide and the ongoing opioid epidemic are a few timely examples,” Lane said. “We are currently working with [Palm Beach County] Sheriff [Ric] Bradshaw and his agency to help provide awareness of his objectives and be a vehicle to help find solutions.”

Dr. Daniel Ghiragossian chaired the Medical Board of Governors from 2015 to 2017 and remains an active participant.

“Besides the mission, the board seeks to provide a medical destination of community-based medical and wellness information,” Ghiragossian explained. “We try to develop strategic partnerships of physicians and non-physicians to ingrain in the community a practice of excellent services, with our only interest in the community welfare, and no interest individually. We want to establish a recognition that Palm Beach County is the place to come to be well.”

Dr. David Soria led the board from 2012 to 2015 and is proud of the great work it has done.

“The board has rigorous objectives and a very specific mission statement,” Soria said. “The chamber has a huge medical community, but there was a void between patients and medical communication and education. We provide cutting-edge news and bridge the gap between the patient experience and the communication aspects. The board provides a value-added benefit for residents of the community.”

Dr. Jeffrey Bishop, a longtime healthcare leader in the western communities, was the first person to chair the Medical Board of Governors.

“Our mission statement really says it all. The purpose of forming the board, which is made up of varied physicians and other medical business leaders, was to be an avenue or conduit of medical information, whether it be the latest medical news or medical political changes, and to be able to share it with chamber members and the other businesses of the community,” Bishop said. “We, as a group, have been influential in effecting some positive changes in our community. We are in collaboration alongside some special task forces to improve the needs of our community, whether it be education, serving the underserved or input into the opioid epidemic.”

Bishop added that the Medical Board of Governors is always welcoming new initiatives, and Lane agreed.

“The Medical Board of Governors is an asset to the community unlike any other,” Lane said.

To contact the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce’s Medical Board of Governors, call (561) 790-6200 or visit www.cpbchamber.com.


Wellington Chamber Committee Puts Focus On Health And Wellness

Wellington Chamber Committee Puts Focus On Health And Wellness

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce Medical & Wellness Committee aims to educate the community while promoting local health and wellness professionals. This is a mission that is very important to Lisa Banionis, a health and wellness industry professional who serves as the current chair of the committee.

She uses her expertise to provide leadership as the business and marketing director at Palm Beach Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine and Florida Interventional Pain Management.

“I’ve worked professionally in marketing, education, and the health and wellness industry,” Banionis said. “As a certified health coach and with my master’s degree in education, I am able to follow my passion for health and wellness and provide health coaching to patients.”

She has made education a key focus of her work with the chamber. “Chairing the committee gives me the opportunity to educate the community through the various outreach programs and events that we do every year, along with helping these businesses showcase their services,” Banionis explained. “I am passionate about functional medicine, knowing the ‘why’ you feel sick versus ‘what’ you have and just giving a prescription. Educating people how to take care of themselves the right way has been my mission for many years.”

In addition to chairing the Medical & Wellness Committee, Banionis is on the board of Women of Wellington, an arm of the Wellington Chamber. “I have become involved in giving back through the many charities that Women of Wellington support,” she said. “One such charity is Place of Hope, an organization caring for abused and neglected children, where I counsel girls on nutrition and health.”

The Medical & Wellness Committee includes a diverse group of individuals who share the common goal of informing and educating the community.

“Our committee provides valuable resources regarding health, wellness, spiritual and safety issues as it pertains to quality of life matters in Wellington,” Banionis said. “We differ from most other health and wellness committees in that we strive to bridge the gap between eastern and western modalities and incorporate wellness into people’s daily lives. Committee members range from physicians and orthodontists to acupuncturists and holistic healers.”

Banionis said that people today are seeking innovative approaches to healthcare. “We have seen it in our own practice with our patients, hence the reason we added platelet rich plasma, stem cell therapy and, most importantly, functional medicine,” she said.

People can find such innovative approaches locally. “The medical and wellness industry in Wellington is aware of these trends and are incorporating them into their practices — from adding high-tech equipment and services such as three-dimensional imaging, minimally invasive robotic surgery, laser surgery, neonatal intensive care units, platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapy to preventative measures such as physical therapy, chiropractic services, acupuncture, health club memberships, yoga, Pilates, barre, boxing, CrossFit and boot camps, just to name a few,” she said.

Banionis explained that medical and wellness businesses have doubled in the last few years due to the demand for such services. “Wellington is a health-conscious community, and the people are all about taking care of themselves,” she said.

Also on the committee is Dr. Howard Shullman, an orthodontist with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and a doctorate in dental medicine, both from the University of Florida. He also served as chief resident in the Department of Orthodontics at Nova Southeastern University.

Shullman has been serving the Wellington community for more than 13 years and treats patients of all ages. He feels that a benefit of the committee is that he and his staff brainstorm with other committee members. He commented that his involvement directly impacts how he educates his patients.

By participating in the various committee events, Shullman has been able to address orthodontic concerns that many families share throughout Wellington. He believes that patient education is the key to understanding treatment, and through the committee efforts, he is able to provide that education to a broader audience.

Shullman said that his involvement with the committee has opened his eyes to what other like-minded health and wellness business owners are doing in the community.

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, which will open a new Pediatric Specialty Center in Wellington next year, also has a place on the committee. Amanda Millman, director of business development, has found the committee an important factor as the hospital grows its presence in Wellington. “The committee has been a true asset in developing relationships with fellow health and wellness professionals in the Wellington community,” she said. “Being part of the committee has given us the opportunity to get to know other healthcare organizations within Wellington.”

Through this organization, she has come to know many others in the local healthcare industry. “As a committee, we meet monthly to discuss new projects and initiatives, as well as travel to fellow committee members’ facilities. We have the opportunity to see their organizations firsthand and experience the wonderful work that they do,” Millman said. “We are excited to be part of such a health-driven community and look forward to providing specialty care for the children and their families.”

To contact the Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s Medical & Wellness Committee, visit www.wellingtonchamber.com or call (561) 792-6525.


Specialized Cardiac Care Saving Lives At Wellington Regional Medical Center

Specialized Cardiac Care Saving Lives At Wellington Regional Medical Center

Hypothermia in Florida? Unique specialty treatments such as hypothermia therapy at Wellington Regional Medical Center make a big difference in cardiac care.

Steve Calia, 63, had just returned from a walk with his dogs when he collapsed to the floor. His wife, Jill, and their son, Kevin, rushed to help him.

Kevin was the hero, said Jill, recalling how the 911 operator helped coach him through providing CPR, as they waited for the ambulance to arrive. The 911 operator was also excellent, Jill noted, describing how she provided detailed instructions as they listened to everything through the speaker phone. If it weren’t for her help, there might have been a different outcome, Jill said.

Paramedics took Steve to Wellington Regional Medical Center, an accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation. This means that the hospital is equipped to deal with cardiac cases and administer specialty hypothermia care for select patients.

“Mr. Calia was very critical at the time he arrived,” explained Dr. Sreedhar Chintala, medical director of critical care services.

Chintala explained that the CPR was key to Steve’s emergency treatment and helped keep his brain alive, but he had not had enough blood supply and oxygen to his brain. There were two major blockages and very low heart function, Chintala added. The patient also suffered from ventricular fibrillation, which is a serious disturbance in the heart rhythm. This led to cardiac arrest — an extremely dangerous condition that causes the heart to stop beating.

For select patients, cooling the body temperature with hypothermia therapy can offer effective treatment. Patients whose heartbeat has returned, but who are still unconscious, may be candidates for this therapy. The brain has a high metabolism and needs a lot of oxygen, Chintala explained. Cooling the body slows the brain’s metabolism and can help to reduce neurological damage. It can also increase the chance that the patient will wake up.

Jill recalled waiting anxiously with their three sons for her husband to regain consciousness. Then, while she was standing by his bedside with their son Tommy, he opened his eyes.

“The first thing I remember was my son telling me to squeeze his finger,” Steve recalled. “I still didn’t really grasp the situation. In my mind, it wasn’t real.”

He then got to know the hospital team that had been supporting and caring for him. “The staff was great,” he said.

“It’s not just being good with the patient, they were also very helpful to the family,” Jill added.

Chintala noted that Steve also received antioxidant therapy to support his recovery. This involved providing a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10) to help protect the neurons in the brain from getting damaged.

Steve improved significantly. After 20 days in the hospital, he returned home, with a plan to begin outpatient rehabilitation. Rehab after cardiac arrest, such as mind-stimulating exercises, can have significant long-term benefits, Chintala said.

Today, Steve continues to work on getting better. He was able to celebrate his granddaughter’s birthday recently and is excited about soon being a grandfather for the second time. Also, he and Jill, who breed goldendoodle puppies, welcomed a new litter this past year. His family reminds him that recovery will take time, which he thankfully has. “I’m grateful that I’m alive,” he said.

To learn more about cardiology services at Wellington Regional Medical Center, visit www.wellingtonregional.com/cardiac.


Children’s Hospital At Palms West Now Offering Advanced Concussion Treatment

Children’s Hospital At Palms West Now Offering Advanced Concussion Treatment

Emergency room visits for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries in children ages eight to 19 topped 200,000 nationwide last year. As these statistics have more than doubled in the last decade, parents can be reassured that the Children’s Hospital at Palms West is now prepared to quickly evaluate and provide Advanced Concussion Treatment (ACT) for sports-related injuries, falls or accidents.

“When we were kids, there wasn’t really a big focus on it, but now with enhanced awareness of concussion, return-to-play protocols, and just the fact that being in Wellington with such a high amount of sports activities, people are becoming aware,” said Krista Hawkinson, director of emergency services at the Children’s Hospital at Palms West. “There’s a lot of activity here that can contribute to increased concussions due to the fact that we are in a perpetual state of summer year-round.”

Children who sustain a concussion almost always recover completely in a relatively short period of time. “Young athletes — some as young as five or six — their brains are still developing. We want to ensure that, first of all, we are providing testing for any children who are playing sports in Palm Beach County,” Director of Pediatric Services Caren Bock explained.

The best way to achieve a good outcome from an incident is to ensure that a child is evaluated and assessed by experts with special training in brain injuries.

“That’s so important to us because their brain is developing. To have continuous baselines, at least once a year or every two years, is so helpful if they do feel the effects of a concussion,” Bock said. “With children’s smaller heads, there could be more problems than the parents or the physicians can know from observation alone. As children do naturally bounce back quickly, it’s helpful to have a comparison of a baseline, over time, so you can compare any injuries throughout their childhood.”

Concussion symptoms to look for include: temporary loss of consciousness, balance problems with unsteady walking, dizziness or “seeing stars,” double or fuzzy vision, confusion or feeling “foggy,” slurred speech, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light or sound, headache or a feeling of pressure in the head, nausea or vomiting, memory problems, irritability, crankiness or fatigue.

Left untreated, concussions can lead to severe brain injury, and while the majority of young athletes recover from concussions, athletes who are not fully recovered from an initial concussion are at higher risk for receiving a second. When a child has a second concussion before the first is fully recovered, significant cognitive and behavioral changes can occur.

This can leave the child at risk for Second Impact Syndrome, a rare condition with often catastrophic results. Second Impact Syndrome can result from even a mild concussion that occurs days or weeks after the initial one.

Many concussions go unrecognized. It has been estimated that more than half of the concussions occurring at the adolescent and high-school level are never recognized or diagnosed by the team coach, trainer or physician. It is extremely important that these injuries are recognized and treated immediately.

“The Advanced Concussion Treatment program has been in the planning stages for a year now,” Bock explained. “We wanted to make sure that it was a comprehensive program, so we worked with teams from all the disciplines to ensure that we are providing education to patients and families in the field about sports-related injuries. We have an outpatient center that residents can come to as well.

Collaborating with local schools and recreational sports teams, Palms West Hospital is providing ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) baseline assessments for athletes, prior to suffering a concussion. “This is the national gold standard for concussion screening,” Hawkinson said.

“The National Football League uses this baseline test,” Bock added. “The child sits at a computer and what it is looking at is neurocognitive.”

Student athletes are given these computerized neurocognitive tests before the sports season begins, showing their normal, healthy level of cognitive function. Memory, information processing and reaction time are all objectively measured.

If the athlete sustains a concussion, then neurocognitive tests are given again, which will help to determine the impact of the concussion and provide important information about managing the concussion. “We can see if there’s any changes after a concussion or if it’s just a small injury,” Bock said.

This process allows each athlete to have an individual plan for their safe return to playing sports.

“What they do is provide baseline testing to the child for their cognitive abilities,” Hawkinson said. “This allows us to see where we need to target their treatment plan, and physical therapy is based upon that screening tool.”

With the fall sports season just around the corner, it’s important for parents to learn about the signs of a concussion and get a baseline concussion test done for their young athletes. In some areas, the $25 assessment is mandatory.

If you think your loved one has had or is suffering from a concussion, or for information on pre-injury preparations for an objective baseline, visit the Children’s Hospital at Palms West or call (561) 345-7009. Visit www.palmswesthospital.com to learn more.


Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Bringing Specialized Pediatric Care To Wellington

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Bringing Specialized Pediatric Care To Wellington

Wellington provides a unique quality of life filled with an abundance of parks, quality schools, charming neighborhoods and engaging equestrian interests. Joining the community will be Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, with its first pediatric specialty center in Wellington set to open its doors in early 2019.

The new center will be the largest specialty center outside of the four-floor freestanding children’s hospital. Known in South Florida as one of the region’s leading pediatric hospitals, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital offers a comprehensive scope of healthcare services and programs in a child-friendly environment. Located in Hollywood, the pediatric hospital has several satellite physician offices throughout Broward County and southern Palm Beach County.

The Wellington location, which has already broken ground, is located on State Road 7, north of Lake Worth Road and south of Forest Hill Blvd. The new specialty center is a 30,000-square-foot facility and will house board-certified pediatric specialists, an outpatient surgery center, pediatric rehabilitation services and comprehensive imaging services with state-of-the-art technology.

The Pediatric Specialty Center in Wellington will provide services such as pediatric otolaryngology/head and neck surgery (ENT), pediatric general surgery, pediatric orthopaedics and U18 sports medicine, pediatric pulmonology, pediatric endocrinology and pediatric neurology. In addition, there will be pediatric rehabilitation services, including pediatric physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and sports physical therapy as part of the U18 sports medicine program.

The Pediatric Specialty Center was designed to foster collaboration with area pediatricians, as well as other healthcare providers, by extending the hospital’s highly specialized pediatric services closer to home for patients and their families in the Palm Beaches. This will be the third pediatric specialty location in Palm Beach County for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, with the other two located in Boca Raton.

“We are excited to expand our services into Wellington and meet the growing and diverse needs of Palm Beach County,” Vice President of Palm Beach Operations Dawn Quaranta said. “Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital understands the importance of becoming a community partner. Our specialists provide high quality comprehensive care for children in the region.”

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, part of the Memorial Healthcare System, is a freestanding, four-story, 226-bed facility. The hospital showcases an overall “Power of Play” philosophy with each floor displaying themes of sports, arts, games and dreams. Patients, families and visitors experience a whimsical world in which treatment and healing intertwine with medical expertise to provide an experience like no other in the Florida healthcare landscape. This patient and family-centered care culture will be incorporated into the Pediatric Specialty Center in Wellington.

“Since opening our doors, our culture of patient-centered and family-centered care has been consistent. It means that families and healthcare professionals are true partners, working together to serve in the best interest of the patient,” said Chantal Leconte, administrator and chief executive officer of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

This practice has earned the hospital a world-wide recognition as a “Planetree Designated Person-Centered Organization.” It was the first children’s hospital in the world to receive this accreditation. This provides the hospital and its facilities a unique commendation for the compassion and care provided to patients beyond the clinical treatment, and places them in a distinguished network of only 86 other healthcare organizations worldwide with the same designation.

On the clinical front, the hospital has more than 650 physicians on staff, the region’s largest diversity of board-certified pediatric specialists. It has developed into a premier, specialized, quaternary care facility qualified to treat some of the most complex and critical medical conditions. Hence, it has been ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report among the best children’s hospitals in the nation for five consecutive years.

“From its beginnings, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital was designed to stand out as a strong advocate for children’s health and wellness,” Leconte said. “As we extend our services to areas where patients need us, we look forward to further developing our partnerships with pediatricians in the Palm Beach community.”

Through the years, its clinical expertise has grown to offer programs from rehabilitation to dialysis, as well as oncology, cardiac surgery, intensive and emergency care, to name a few. In 2010, the hospital received federal approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to launch a pediatric heart transplant program, clearing the path for the first heart transplant in the hospital’s history. Since then, the cardiac surgery team has performed 45 pediatric heart transplants. The hospital is now preparing to launch a pediatric kidney transplant program.

Established in 1992, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital combines advanced technology and the expertise of the largest, most diverse group of board-certified pediatric specialists in the region. With its 2011 expansion, the hospital now has 226 beds and is South Florida’s newest freestanding children’s hospital. It is part of Memorial Healthcare System, one of the largest public healthcare systems in the country. The hospital has pediatric specialty practices in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Miramar, Weston and Hollywood.

For more information about the Memorial Healthcare System, visit www.mhs.net. For additional information about Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, visit www.jdch.com.


Take A Trip Into The Wild At Lion Country Safari

Take  A Trip Into The Wild  At Lion Country Safari

For 50 years, Lion Country Safari has proven to be a roaring good time across its four-mile drive-through safari and 55-acre walk-through adventure park. Five decades later, it’s still as wildly popular as ever — a Palm Beach County gem that continues to shine, especially in the summertime.

“Every visit is a different experience,” said Haley Passeser, public relations associate for Lion Country Safari. “People can drive at their own pace in the comfort of their own vehicle and stop and take pictures when they would like. We’re really the only one people can drive through themselves.”

Florida’s only drive-through safari includes 1,000 animals. It has recently been ranked as one of the 10 best wildlife parks in the nation, and one of the best savanna exhibits in the world. The park is a destination for many residents and out-of-town visitors alike, where they experience up-close animal encounters within inches from their vehicles — similar to being on an African safari, where animals roam freely like they do in the wild. It’s also home to the country’s largest herd of zebras and one of the largest herds of giraffe in North America.

“It’s really naturalistic, not only in the landscape we provide and the habitats we have here, but also the manner in which they’re in the social groups,” Passeser said.

And the animal families are expanding. “When you drive through, there’s a bundle of babies running around,” she said. “It’s really cute.”

Since last September, six babies have been welcomed, including two water buffalo, as well as four giraffe calves. With the world’s giraffe population going through a silent extinction — a 40 percent decline of the wild population over the past three years — Lion Country Safari has partnered with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Giraffe SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) program, and also supports the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

“Coming in to hang out with the babies is a great opportunity while they’re still young,” Passeser said. “They all hang out like a giraffe daycare around their moms.”

For those who want a wilder experience, there are several tour options available for an additional fee, including a one-hour guided walking tour through Safari World that includes an encounter with three different animals.

Visitors looking to capture some great moments on camera can take the 90-minute guided photo tour that brings animals to you while driving through the preserve with vehicle windows rolled down.

The newest tour is geared toward the youngest of animal lovers. Kids age five and under can take the toddler tour, where they go behind the scenes to see prehistoric animals or a personal experience at the petting zoo.

“We wanted to develop something more geared toward them that’s kid-friendly to keep their attention, not run too long, but also still fit in interaction and information,” Passeser said. “We have some animals that aren’t typically on the petting zoo floor like our mini zebu cows or our donkeys, so we try to include our encounters or feedings with those animals as well.”

Kids who dream of becoming a zookeeper can have their chance at one of the safari’s summer camps. The safari day camp for kids ages 6 to 13 is a huge draw. Campers get to learn about conservation, in addition to special interactions. “They get to do behind-the-scenes activities regular visitors don’t get to do, so it makes it extra-special for them,” Passeser said. “Anything from one-on-one time with the keeper, like making diets, to up-close and personal encounters. For example, during rhino week, they meet the rhino keeper and get to touch the rhinos before they go out first thing in the morning.”

On hot summer days, the two water slides at Lion Country Safari are a perfect way to cool off, including a 108-foot-long freefall slide, as well as a 214-foot-long loop water slide. There’s also the water wars water balloon challenge and a 4,000-square-foot water spray ground, complete with newly resurfaced padding. Many umbrellas dot the seating area to keep families cool. Several refreshment stands serve up cool drinks and snacks, or for a meal, try the African-themed restaurant with its revamped menu. Be sure to visit one of the several gift shops as well.

There are dozens of animal exhibits in the walk-through park, including animal theater, giraffe feedings, flamingos and reptiles. Or hop on a ride, like the carousel, dry slides, an elephant amusement ride, mini-golf or paddle your way by boat near islands filled with monkeys and chimpanzees. Visitors can also view the animals in action aboard the Safari Queen pontoon boat tour.

“Our chimp habitat island setting is really special and unique to us. In the wild, chimpanzees are naturally nomadic, as they move around and forage for food and build new nests every night. They like to be on the move quite a bit, so we like to simulate that and make it as natural as possible,” Passeser said. “We’ll create giant popsicles, throw a bunch of produce in a bucket and freeze it, and provide the chimps with a great snack on a hot day.”

For a more rustic adventure, the nationally ranked KOA Campground is next door, where campers can hear the nighttime sounds of Africa. Lions can be heard first thing in the morning within a five-mile radius.

Rain or shine, visitors are welcome every day of the year from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $26 for kids; those 2 and under are free. For a discounted rate, buy online.

For a substantial savings, check out the Summer Savings Pass. It’s $58 for adults and $48 for children 3 to 12. It includes four parks, with unlimited visits to Lion Country Safari, the Miami Seaquarium, the Museum of Discovery & Science and Zoo Miami until Sept. 30. With huge savings like that, it’s time to get wild!

Lion Country Safari is located at 2003 Lion Country Safari Road, off Southern Blvd. For more information, call (561) 793-1084 or visit www.lioncountrysafari.com.


Dr. Kate Brazzale Treats Vulnerable Patients With Compassion And Understanding

Dr. Kate Brazzale Treats Vulnerable Patients With Compassion And Understanding

Dr. Kate Brazzale still makes house calls. However, as director of pediatrics for Trustbridge, a nonprofit hospice organization serving Palm Beach and Broward counties, Brazzale is probably the last physician parents want to see coming to their door — and the compassionate Brazzale understands the dilemma.

“I’m not a savior, I’m not an angel,” the English-born Brazzale said. “There are so few resources for terminally ill children outside of the hospital. While hospice and children shouldn’t be in the same sentence, the limited time that a terminally-ill child has left should be spent at home with their family.”

Her territory where she makes home visits includes all of Palm Beach County, and she can go from trailers to multi-million-dollar mansions in less than an hour. It’s not the house that matters to Brazzale, it’s the family inside. She holds the child in her arms. She sees them deteriorate.

“I’m the last person they want to see,” said Brazzale, who has lived in Wellington for more than 10 years. “I’m a doctor first; my instinct is to improve upon possibilities. Contrary to what people may think, I’m here to try to carve out some positive time for people and families in dire situations. I don’t want people to be suffering and merely waiting for death — I want them to be living right up until they die.”

But it takes a toll on Brazzale. A regular cozy movie night with her husband and two young children at their home surrounded by trees becomes a welcome respite from particularly arduous days.

Dr. Faustino Gonzalez, chief medical officer of hospice services at Trustbridge, is extremely proud of Brazzale. He trained her, and she was the first graduate of their fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine program in 2009.

“She set the bar,” Gonzalez said. “She is the yardstick that we measure other graduates by. She has a visceral understanding of what it takes to care, the empathy, the ability to put herself in the shoes of the patient and the patient’s family.”

Brazzale took a meandering path to becoming a physician. Both her parents are doctors in England, but she opted to try other professions. At first, she wanted to be an architect, attending the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture in London. That lasted a semester. She opted to switch courses and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree with honors in human sciences at University College London. During that time, Brazzale had multiple temporary jobs at Whittington Hospital, working with oncologists and palliative nurses. Immediately following her undergraduate years, she worked in pharmaceutical sales before deciding to study further, returning to medical school at the very same university at age 24. “Everything seemed to pull me that way,” Brazzale recalled.

Currently, Brazzale treats approximately 130 patients in hospice care, all based at home, and sees them in order of need.  She also does some work on inpatient hospice facilities, as well as palliative consultations. “Children are always less predictable and need closer supervision,” said Brazzale, who usually spends about an hour visiting with each patient and their family.

Her goal is to visit about 25 patients per week when making house calls. However, when doing rounds on various inpatient hospitals and facilities, that number swells greatly. The paperwork involved with each case accounts for almost doubling the work load.

“I have some great nurses,” Brazzale said. “Motivated, enthusiastic nurses make a team. We all share our ideas. Hospice is physician-lead, but nurse-run. There’s no room for any egos.”

Gonzalez marvels at Brazzale’s skills, especially for her calm demeanor and empathy toward patients nearing the end of their lives.

“She’s a whole person, a classic physician, someone who’s well-rounded… there’s more to them than their clinical skills,” Gonzalez said. “Therapeutically, she’s an excellent physician. Taking care of people [in hospice] requires the ability to empathize without taking it home. She’s kind, she’s smart.”

After a day on the road, Brazzale completes her work in her home office, dictating notes, writing prescriptions, sending out e-mails and texts, and organizing herself and the team for the next day. But she always tries to make time for her family.

“Having children made me more confident,” said Brazzale, who describes herself as an introvert. “My children ground me and help me value core life principles. Many times, they inadvertently offer me wisdom via their ability to verbalize exactly what is on their minds in straight talk.”

Brazzale loves to read and said that for her, running is “incredibly therapeutic.” She also plays the cello and piano, and enjoys art and sculpture, so much so that she often puts large canvases flat on the front lawn and, together with the children, gets creative, artistic and messy, resulting in several “masterpieces” that grace the wall of the family home.

“I have yet to conquer my kid’s homework — the curriculum is very different from the way I learned,” said Brazzale, who also admitted to working on her cooking skills, creating new dinners together with her enthusiastic seven-year-old daughter every Wednesday night.

Brazzale believes curiosity about people and their lives can lead to helping a great deal.

“I get to hear so many amazing stories,” Brazzale said. “I am privileged to be shown so many wedding photos, vacation photos, family snapshots — it reminds you that each encounter is with a whole person who has touched many others. I truly believe it is very important to all us clinicians to see the person as they were in their prime — before they became ravaged by sickness and exhaustion. The simplest way this can be done is perhaps with a beautiful, typical portrait-type photograph or cheerful snapshot displayed near their bed, whether they are home or in a facility. All those involved in their care are grateful to be reminded of their humanity and appreciate the ability to relate.”

In addition to her position at Trustbridge, Brazzale has been a clinical assistant professor at the Department of Family Medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale since 2012 and an affiliate assistant professor of medicine at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami since 2013.

She believes the most important teaching lessons happen during the discussions that take place during brief car rides in between patient visits. Her first directive — don’t wear a white coat to home visits, because most people are more comfortable having medical personnel in their home without this typical, more formal apparel.

She also teaches the students that they must blend in and respect the family and household within minutes of walking through the door. They must be able to pick up on cues, and echo the environment, setting the tense family and patient at ease. She believes that without making the family and client feel comfortable, there is no way to invite the trust necessary to enable any form of team work.

“I love teaching, I want to re-enthuse them, remind them why they got into the job,” Brazzale said. “I am passionate about what I do. Every child I am privileged to care for teaches me more; every parent I encounter humbles me further.  Every day I hope my knowledge and awareness continue to grow. I cannot imagine doing anything else.”

Learn more about hospice services through Trustbridge at www.trustbridge.com.


Binks Pointe Luxury Townhome Community Now Open To Residents

Binks Pointe Luxury Townhome Community Now Open To Residents

Years in the making, the new Binks Pointe community has arrived, and residents can finally purchase these high-end, luxury townhomes located off Binks Forest Drive, just across the street from the prestigious Wellington National Golf Club.

As the original families of Wellington look to downsize and new couples seek homes in the family-friendly community, Binks Pointe couldn’t have found a better time for its grand opening.

Perfect for families or the semi-retired, each of these three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath homes comes with a two-car garage, impact doors and windows, and use of the 4,750-square-foot clubhouse with its spacious Grande Hall, bistro bar area, fully equipped fitness center, game room, catering kitchen, heated swimming pool, sundeck, putting green and horseshoe pit.

Priced from the $370,000s, each of 90 units has an open plan, quality finishes and high ceilings.

“We’re a very small, intimate builder,” Mike Smolak of Schickedanz Builders Group explained. “We’ve been in South Florida since 1981. We make every effort to make our homes as quality-minded as possible, and that goes not only from the structure itself, in meeting — and exceeding — all the building codes, but to our service. If you’ve got a problem, we’re going to be there to take care of it. You don’t have to call an 800 number somewhere. We’re accessible.”

Sales agent Teresa Appelgate stressed that it is a family-owned builder business with the highest of integrity and quality.

“Our clients are never disappointed when they close,” she said. “I meet the buyers, help them with their color choices and so on. We’re getting young families that are here specifically for the schools — Binks Forest Elementary School, for instance — and many current Wellington residents from the Binks Preserve and the Binks Estates, who know the value of the Binks Forest area. They want to downsize, so they can lock and leave without worrying about mowing the grass, putting up hurricane shutters and dealing with a pool. We are also getting some seasonal equestrians looking for a second home. It’s a very nice neighborhood for people — and they still get a new house, not a re-sell.”

Schickedanz Building Group chose Wellington carefully, even as the community approached the maximum build-out for new construction. They liked its “hometown character.”

“For the people who want to live in Wellington, the schools may be important for them, the Wellington lifestyle would be important to them,” builder Garry Schickedanz said. “There aren’t that many opportunities in Wellington to buy a new home.”

Wellington has been named among the “Top 100 Best Places to Live” by Money Magazine based on it having more than two dozen neighborhood parks and its reputation as the international epicenter of equestrian sports. The community’s newly renovated, world-class Wellington National Golf Club is within walking distance of Binks Pointe.

The townhomes of this small gated community feature walking trails with numerous gazebos, a nature preserve with a boardwalk and lookout, and abundant guest parking.

“When you walk into this townhome, it feels and lives like a home,” Smolak said. “You’ve got volume ceilings on both the first and second floors — it just gives you a feeling of expansiveness. We’ve incorporated a covered patio on the first floor, and above it, off the master bedroom suite, is a covered balcony. You’ve got a huge master bedroom area, along with two very large walk-in closets, over 12 inches of vanity top with two sinks. You’ve got a shower that is just magnificent. You’ve got to come see that to believe it. It has frameless doors and two showerheads.”

Appelgate agreed that the homes are surprisingly spacious.

“That’s one comment that we do get frequently,” she said. “When people come in, they say it doesn’t feel like a townhouse. The volume ceilings, the downstairs open area, there aren’t a lot of chopped-up areas.”

When designing the Binks Pointe townhomes, Schickedanz Building Group took into consideration what is of primary importance to families today:

  • The main living space offers 8-foot-tall doors, LED lighting and oversized tile. The carpeted stairway has a red oak handrail with black ornamental balusters. The entire home has been pre-wired for telephone, cable television, high-speed internet and entertainment system speakers, and has a built-in security system.
  • The eat-in kitchen features solid quartz countertops with a backsplash, maple cabinetry with soft-close drawers and doors, under-cabinet xenon lighting, a stainless-steel appliance package, crown molding, recessed lighting and a separate breakfast bar.
  • The powder room has polished chrome fixtures and a pedestal sink, while the second bathroom offers maple cabinetry and a quartz vanity. The master bath offers maple cabinetry with soft-close drawers and doors, a quartz vanity top with a dressing table and two sinks, that awesome shower and a linen closet.
  • The master suite has an elegant coffered ceiling, 8-foot-high double-entry French doors, two spacious closets with 8-foot mirrored sliding glass doors, and a covered second floor balcony with a railing.

“In today’s world, there’s nothing more important than quality,” Smolak stressed.

By mid-June, eight units had been completed. One was being used as a model, one buyer was moving in at the end of the month, and three families were already firmly ensconced in their new luxury townhomes. A seven-unit building will soon be move-in ready, and a second model is being prepared to show an interior unit.

The new Binks Pointe development will have only 17 buildings at close-out, making it a rather friendly little neighborhood. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, you may want to hurry.

Binks Pointe is located at 15700 Binks Pointe Terrace, just off Binks Forest Drive. Model tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit www.binkspointe.com or call (561) 508-1324.


European Wax Center Brings Unique Expertise And Stellar Customer Service To Wellington

European Wax Center Brings Unique Expertise And Stellar Customer Service To Wellington

After practicing law for 24 years, Lisa Monica Schiller was looking to own her own business. She was a regular guest of the European Wax Center, so she was familiar with the company’s product and quality of service. When she discovered that EWC had a prime franchise territory available, it was a match made in Wellington.

“I couldn’t imagine a better opportunity for me than owning an EWC franchise,” said Schiller, whose new business opened in May near Whole Foods Market on State Road 7.

“Corporate did its research and saw a need for an EWC in the Wellington area,” Schiller explained. “I was lucky enough to be presented the opportunity. I can’t imagine a better location than Wellington’s unique hometown, family environment. Our center is the perfect addition to a community that expects and deserves the highest quality services. Where better to offer the ultimate wax experience and pampering from the moment a guest steps into the center to the moment they strut out?”

Since her grand opening, Schiller has been thrilled with the community’s initial response. “The business is seeing a rapid increase in new guests and a consistent increase in our repeat guests,” she said. “Our scheduling books are getting busy, and our guests seem to be thrilled with the services.”

Schiller said that EWC’s success can be attributed to exceptional customer care, premium quality services and products, and the belief that luxurious waxing should be attainable to anyone seeking beautiful skin. Regular waxing, she noted, ensures that hair grows back softer, finer and sparser, making ongoing maintenance much more comfortable.

Her new location has been steadily building clientele with her local marketing.

“This includes our refer-a-friend program — for every friend referred, the guest receives $10 on their account — our advertising, our e-mail and local mail campaigns, meeting people out and about in Wellington, partnering with neighboring businesses, and our involvement with the local chamber of commerce and the community.”

The focus, however, is on providing the ultimate guest experience so that existing clients are so happy with the experience that they tell others.

“One of our first acts as a new business was to join the Wellington Chamber of Commerce,” said Schiller, adding that she and her manager are members of the chamber’s Medical & Wellness Committee. “Additionally, we were the host business for the Women of Wellington’s Luau Summer Mixer to benefit Animal Care & Control. We are very excited to have been able to host this wonderfully successful event. We have additional events in the works throughout the second half of 2018 with local businesses and charities.”

Schiller is proud that her franchise has become an integral part of the Wellington community.

“Our facility, like each and every EWC, features the highest level of professionalism, timeliness, unparalleled products and the top experts available in waxing and customer service — all in a chic and sophisticated European-inspired center,” she explained. “But the number-one reason our guests return is that they love the way we consistently deliver smooth, silky skin from the most comfortable wax experience they’ve ever had.”

The store also carries its own line of pre-wax and post-wax maintenance products that continue to work between waxes to ensure visibly smooth and hair-free skin. “The EWC product line will improve the way the skin looks, feels and responds to the hair regrowth process,” Schiller said.

Summer is a great time to try out the EWC experience, she said.

“We are offering our summer product limited-edition travel kits with some of our most popular products, as well as our back-to-school brow kit,” Schiller said. “Additionally, through the summer, we will be offering $10 off any $45 or more full-priced services for anyone who mentions that they saw our ad — or this article — in Wellington The Magazine. We will also offer, throughout the summer, our specially priced wax pass, which allows guests to buy nine services and get two free, or buy six services and get one free. Plus, we offer our 12-month unlimited bikini, eyebrow, underarm or full-face wax pass, as well as our student wax pass, which allows those with a valid student ID to purchase four services and get one complimentary.”

Schiller expects to add other promotions over the next few months.

“Guests should also check back through the summer for surprise promotions, specials and new product launches, including our newest face mask, which not only hydrates, but is the only mask on the market that contains hair growth inhibitors,” she said. “And for first time guests, we will continue to offer women their first eyebrow, underarm or bikini line complimentary, or 50 percent off their first Brazilian, and for men, their first eyebrow, nose, ears and brows treatment is complimentary.”

As a brand, EWC is dedicated to delivering an unparalleled experience, Schiller said.

“Our center offers our guests a luxurious waxing experience with our proprietary, trademarked comfort wax, in a modern environment featuring crisp, clean centers, with our private waxing suites and the most professionally trained waxing experts with exceptional service,” she said. “There are other businesses that offer wax services, but here at EWC, that is all we do, and it’s what makes us the experts in waxing.”

Founded by siblings David and Josh Coba in 2004, the EWC concept is to bring its unique waxing expertise and experience to women and men across the United States. The Wellington location is open seven days a week, with late evening hours to accommodate busy schedules.

“And with close to 700 centers open nationwide, guests can enjoy our first-class experience that is competitively priced and consistent every single time at every location,” Schiller said. “Plus, guests have the luxury of using their wax passes in any EWC throughout the country.”

European Wax Center in Wellington is located at 2557 S. State Road 7 in the Whole Foods Market plaza. For more information, call (561) 257-5099 or visit www.waxcenter.com.  


Wellington Youth Battle Blood Cancer Through LLS’s ‘Pennies For Patients’

Wellington Youth Battle Blood Cancer Through LLS’s ‘Pennies For Patients’

For 10 years, the students of Elbridge Gale Elementary School in Wellington have rallied as only the young and energetic can to battle an unlikely foe — blood cancer.

This year marked a decade of the students participating in the Student Series Pennies for Patients program, benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Palm Beach Area Chapter. In 2018, they raised more than $10,000, all while having a ton of fun.

On March 15, the students put their teachers and administrators to the test during the annual Pie Day. Students paid $10 to “pie” a teacher, $20 for the assistant principal and $30 for the principal.

“This was our fourth annual Pie Day, so our kids look so forward to this event every year, and now it runs like such a well-oiled machine,” said Nicole Martinez, guidance counselor at Elbridge Gale Elementary School and Pennies for Patients coordinator. “We all try to have fun with it, as we know what an amazing cause it supports. The kids think it’s the best thing ever when they get to pie their teachers.”

Since 2008, the Elbridge Gale students have also held dress down days, bake sales and skate nights to support blood cancer patients and their families. During that time, the students have raised more than $100,000 total, one penny at a time.

“We are truly grateful to the students and faculty of Elbridge Gale Elementary School through our Pennies for Patients campaign. Their commitment to instilling leadership and support for those fighting cancer will add tremendously to our mission to find cures for blood cancers,” said Pamela Payne, executive director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Palm Beach Chapter.

Students of other Wellington-area schools also accepted the challenge to raise as much money and awareness as they could during the month of March in small, yet meaningful ways. By collecting the smallest dominator of U.S. currency, they raised thousands of dollars. Three schools challenged each other to a “Penny War” among the students and staff of the Renaissance Charter School at Wellington, the Renaissance Charter School at Cypress and the Renaissance Charter School at Palms West.

The Renaissance Charter School at Wellington emerged victorious, collecting $2,281.82 in donations in three weeks. An award ceremony and check presentation was held on March 27 with Principal Mary Beth Greene; Karla Santiago, administrative assistant to the Principal; and teacher Jessica Fischer, the school’s Pennies for Patients coordinator. Kindergarten and first-grade students were also in attendance.

Other participating Wellington schools included Binks Forest Elementary School, which has consistently raised between $4,000 and $6,000 for the past seven years, and Wellington Elementary School, where students finished strong this year by doubling the amount they raised in 2017.

This year, the local LLS chapter was able to partner with the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center. With 138 pediatric beds, it is the largest children’s hospital in Palm Beach County. With its award-winning pediatric emergency department, special surgical care unit, prestigious pediatric cancer program and comprehensive outpatient centers, it is committed to area children. Additionally, the hospital has a dedicated team of child life specialists. These highly trained professionals use various medical play tactics and kid-friendly language to help children of various age groups understand why they need medical treatment, while also guiding parents on how they can help their child feel more relaxed during a hospital stay.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.

Founded in 1949, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.lls.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.