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.