Our Compassionate Team Serving You

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Senior Deputy Chief of Security, Alfred Parker, outside the Doris Ison Health Center

Alfred Parker is CHI’s Senior Deputy Chief of Security and is otherwise known as “Chief Parker.” He began his career at CHI 21 years ago as a security officer. For two decades, he has dedicated his efforts to protecting staff and patients, creating a safe environment for all who walk through CHI’s doors. As Senior Deputy Chief, his duties include overseeing his security staff and reporting findings to the Chief of Security. Chief Parker thrives amidst the unique challenges of his job, finding joy in teamwork. With years of security experience, his role feels like second nature to him now. His primary goal is to advance CHI’s security department to better safeguard patients and staff members. Chief Parker enjoys working out, fishing and relaxing during his free time.

Alexander Guzman, RN, at the Doris Ison Health Center

Alexander Guzman, RN, serves as a registered nurse at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI). He has worked at the Doris Ison Health Center for 4 years, initially starting as a volunteer. Guzman began his nursing career in 2018 after retiring from the hotel industry for 6 years. As a young child, he always had a desire to pursue nursing. He made that dream come true when he attended nursing school at Florida Career College and obtained his nursing license. Guzman is fulfilled knowing that he is working for an organization that takes care of the community and hopes to continue the mission that Doris Ison started more than 50 years ago. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Guzman spent a few years in New Jersey when he first immigrated to America. He enjoys traveling, skiing and being with family and friends.

 

Breaking the Chains: CHI’s Mission to End Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the second most common criminal act in the Unites States behind drug trafficking.

Giving Back: CHI’s Annual Event Provides Free Dental Care to Kids

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CHI dental hygienist, John Palacios, smiles with young patient Maggie Carrillo after her dental cleaning appointment .

CHI centers buzzed with excitement as children and parents eagerly awaited their appointments for Give Kids a Smile Day. This annual event offers free dental care to children ages 1-16 and this year 38 children received a range of dental services including cleanings, oral screenings, sealants and more. Since 2019, Give Kids A Smile Day has provided young patients with comprehensive care for their oral health needs. By offering these essential services free of charge, CHI proves its dedication to improving the well-being of the South Florida community.

CHI dentist, Dr. Malena Fernandez, saw firsthand the positive impact of dental education on these families.

“Many parents that come in are unaware that their children’s teeth should be flossed,” she said. “They are grateful for the information that we provide. We have a real opportunity to educate parents on improving their children’s oral hygiene.”

Dr. Fernandez also notes that about 90% of children and parents that come to this event are first-time patients of CHI. This creates an opportunity for patients to become familiar with CHI services and to consider it as their medical home.

“In the 5 years that I have participated in this event I always see patients return to CHI,” said Dr. Fernandez. “I just feel so grateful and happy that we could help these children with their oral health.”

President / CEO Message

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I am a patient here at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI). In fact, my wife and kids are also patients. When I think about the care that my family receives from the team at CHI, sometimes I get emotional. Our doctors, nurses and care team have watched my children grow from birth until now: at the ages of 11 and twins aged 9. They have been part of our lives through good times and bad, all the milestones and then some. The words “medical home” mean a lot to us. Oftentimes, as I’m out in the community, people approach me to tell me stories about how the team at CHI has made a difference in their lives and their families. It’s why I have built a career here as I know I am investing myself in changing lives. It’s a mission the team here believes in, and it shows in the care they provide.

March 29 is Doctors Day and it’s a time when we celebrate all our talented and dedicated physicians. Their path has not been easy to obtain all the knowledge and experience necessary to care for the rest of us. I hope you will take the time to thank your doctor for the high-quality, compassionate healthcare they provide to all of us.

Finally, you can be a part of ensuring access to care. I am hoping you will hit the green with me on April 8th at the world class, Deering Bay Yacht and Country Club for our annual golf tournament. You can register to play at chisouthfl.org/golf. It’s an event that you don’t want to miss as you can swing with celebrities and it’s all for a worthy cause. The money raised from the tournament will help us fund the Children’s Crisis Center, a place to treat kids with severe mental illness. We are already building this special place, and I’m enthusiastic about the progress and support. Let’s build together. We are investing in young lives. Little ones who will grow with us just as my family has and will continue to do thanks to the team at CHI.

Yours Truly,

 

 

 

Blake Hall

CHI Introduces Dental Residency Program

Dr. Richard Lipscomb, Jr. joins CHI as Dental Director for the Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center.

A new chapter unfolds for the Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center with the introduction of a dental residency program. Leading the way is Dr. Richard Lipscomb, Jr. who was introduced as the new dental director for the program. With a vision for excellence and commitment to nurturing the next generation of dental practitioners, Dr. Lipscomb, Jr. brings more than 23 years of experience, elevating the program to new heights. This marks an exciting new chapter for Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) and aspiring dental professionals alike.

“I am excited to join this new dental residency program,” said Dr. Lipscomb, Jr. “I worked previously as a dental director in Washington, D.C. and my desire is to pass on what I have learned throughout my career to these residents.”

The residency will be recognized as an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program and will accommodate four dental residents, including two first-year residents and two second-year residents. During this two-year residency, there will be a blending of curriculum learning with hands-on clinical experience, making sure that residents are equipped with the skills and knowledge for success in their careers.

“They will be learning everything from oral surgery, extractions, root canals, and more,” said Dr. Lipscomb, Jr. “I want to make sure that they receive a great education, and I envision that they will see patients, really getting into the grind of dentistry.”

Dr. Lipscomb, Jr. notes that dentistry has its unique challenges compared to family medicine and behavioral health. The profession demands physical endurance, with dentists often spending long hours performing procedures using drills and other tools that can put strain on the body. He plans to reinforce to residents the importance of monitoring their health and practicing proper techniques when on the job.

“This is just the beginning of their journey,” Dr. Lipscomb, Jr. said. “If you want to work in dentistry for a long time, the biggest thing is focusing on your well-being. I try to instill these details so that their career will be less stressful on the body for them.”

The program’s mission is to expose residents to every detail of providing dental care in a community health center setting, particularly for underserved populations. By immersing them in diverse clinical environments, they will gain invaluable experience and develop a deep understanding of oral health care.

“There is a need for more providers in underserved areas,” said Dr. Lipscomb, Jr. “If we can make residents aware of that need and their heart desires to go in that direction, that is great!”

 

Our Compassionate Team Serving You

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Dr. Jorge Exposito, pharmacist at the Doris Ison Health Center

Dr. Jorge Exposito is a pharmacist at the Doris Ison Health Center and Martin Luther King Jr. Clinica Campesina Center. Dr. Exposito started his career at CHI as a pharmacy tech 14 years ago. In last few years, he graduated from Florida International University and Larkin University and received his pharmacist license. Becoming a pharmacist has brought more responsibility for Dr. Exposito as he sees about 300 patients in a day. But it is an incredibly rewarding job in which he enjoys interacting with his patients and taking care of their needs. He appreciates that CHI provides options for patients to have access to affordable medication. Dr. Exposito takes pride in being a first-generation pharmacist. In his free time, he likes to go out, travel, and attend sporting events.

 

Environmental Service employee, Patricia Salazar, at the Doris Ison Health Center

Patricia Salazar is a dedicated member of the Environmental Service Department at CHI. She has worked with the organization for seven years and says that the best part of her job is being on the move and seeing different faces every day. She travels to four different CHI centers throughout the week, which has allowed her to build strong relationships with fellow staff. Salazar is responsible for keeping CHI centers sanitized and managing the inventory of supplies. She is dedicated to her role at CHI and is happy to contribute her efforts to the organization’s success. Outside of her professional responsibilities, she finds joy in unwinding and spending quality time with her beloved family.

Beyond Medications: CHI’s Warfarin Clinics Prioritize Health and Community Ties

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Dr. Rolando Caldrin and patient Karl Mills at one of CHI’s monthly Warfarin clinics

Throughout the years, Rosa Jackson Sneed has become well acquainted with Warfarin, an anticoagulant medication that she has relied on since 1999 due to a longstanding history of blood clots. The medicine prevents her blood from clotting, which could lead to death. Understanding the crucial part that Warfarin plays in maintaining her overall health, Sneed turns to Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) for healthcare support. For more than ten years, CHI has had monthly clinics for patients taking Warfarin and other anticoagulants. These sessions provide education and create a sense of community among the patients. Actively participating in these clinics at the Doris Ison Health Center, Sneed ensures her well-being through ongoing participation.

“I have been with CHI for years and coming to this clinic for the longest,” Sneed said. “It has been a help. We get our blood checked at the same time and come to class. It has been very beneficial.” 

At the November session, Sneed was among a handful of patients in the room who completed lab work and took to their seats for the education portion of the program. CHI pharmacists and pharmacy students addressed their concerns and provided information for treatment options.

Patient laboratory results are then closely monitored by pharmacists and doctors. The goal is to check patients on the spot and adjust their treatment plans immediately. “If their test shows us that their levels are high, they will have bleeding issues,” said Dr. Rolando Caldrin, a CHI pharmacist. “If their levels are low, they will have blood clots. That’s why we adjust it on the spot.” 

CHI Director of Pharmacy Services, Dr. Samuel James, who has played a role in this initiative, recognizes that although this is a challenging time for the patient, he is grateful that they have access to services like these. 

“They come to this class for us to help them stay healthy and we adjust their treatment based on what levels are on the test,” he said. “It has become a small little community. It gives some of these patients who have nobody to talk to, an opportunity to talk to each other and feel better about their situation.” 

Dr. Caldrin reflected proudly on more than a decade of collaboration between CHI clinicians. A program that started as a mere concept, has now expanded to 50 patients in the group. 

“We have a whole policy and procedure that was created just for this class,” Dr. Caldrin said. “The idea is both compliance and education, so the patient can—to a certain point—fend for themselves. It has been successful!”

Elevating Patient Care: The Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center’s Expansion for a Brighter Future

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President and CEO Blake Hall, Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center residents, and CHI providers and staff, pose for a photo inside new suite

The Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) embraces growth with the unveiling of the new family medicine and behavioral health facility at the Doris Ison Health Center. The 7,000-square-foot space is equipped with 15 state-of-the-art family medicine exam rooms and seven consultation rooms for behavioral health services. This clinical expansion not only provides additional access to healthcare for CHI patients, but also serves as a great learning environment for the Teaching Health Center residents. Chief of Family Medicine, Dr. Elizabeth Philippe, highlights that the driving force behind this expansion was the commitment to elevate education for the residents and ensure proper care for patients.  

“The goal was to have an integrative space for the residents where they can see patients and be able to provide primary care,” Dr. Philippe said. “We wanted to have a bigger space with more exam rooms so we can accommodate all 35 residents on their clinic days.”

In this new facility, both teams enjoy designated spaces alongside support staff and nurses. The real advantage, however, is the emphasis on residents working closely together, promoting collaboration and opportunities for learning.

“With the family medicine and psychiatry residents working side by side, they can work in a close environment,” Dr. Philippe said. “If a family medicine resident needed to consult someone for a behavioral health issue they could, and vice versa.”

As the Teaching Health Center continues to grow and evolve, these advancements will help better prepare residents for their future as doctors. This progress not only improves the residents’ training but also promises improved patient care, reflecting a positive path for CHI.

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program at CHI Brings Staff Together

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CHI employees celebrate diversity wearing Colombian cultural attire

Ambassadors of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program took the stage during Cultural Awareness Day at CHI. This is a day that employees gather to celebrate the diversity among staff. They are encouraged to wear cultural attire and share aspects of their culture with history, food, music and more. At the start of the day, the ambassadors engaged in a workshop known as a “privilege walk.” They courageously revealed personal histories and facts about their lives as they stepped forward in response to probing questions. As CHI employees in the audience observed, they would realize that despite their differences and unique life experiences, there is common ground in their shared work environment. The goal was to stimulate a deeper understanding of unity among the diverse individuals within the organization. 

Carol Blackwood-Curry, CHI’s Director of Volunteer Services and Event Coordination and DEI Ambassador, said that activities like these offer an insight into each other’s lives that provide a valuable lesson in understanding who we are as individuals. 

“We may have varying experiences, but we need to be a little bit more empathic towards the experiences that others have that we have not,” she said. “It is an eye opener usually for everybody. It did cause some conversations afterward.” 

CHI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program was created at CHI in 2022 to create a sense of belonging among employees. The organization has a diverse staff, but leaders wanted to ensure that everyone feels understood, recognized and appreciated at work.  

“We value diversity, but figuring out how to help people feel like they belong in the environment, from the patients to the staff to the community, that’s a different thing,” Blackwood-Curry said. “You have to make some effort for that.” 

Since the start of this program, its eight ambassadors, serving as representatives of the staff and various ethnic groups at CHI, have actively launched a series of activities and events designed to connect employees. These initiatives create a space for open and honest conversation promoting a culture of transparency and mutual understanding within the organization. Among these efforts include themed “DEI Fridays” where each Friday for 6 weeks out of the year there are opportunities for staff to create “I am” videos and written narratives that showcase who they are as individuals. Additionally, the introduction of “DEI lunch and learns,” a 40-minute interactive conversation focused on DEI topics has been successful.

According to Blackwood-Curry, these efforts have already begun to make a difference among staff and have had a positive impact on the patient care approach. 

“People are talking to each other and learning from each other,” she said. “It extends what was already an empathic attitude towards our patients. It reminds staff to be mindful of how they speak to one another.”

President & CEO Message

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Happy Holidays to all of you! I hope the warmth and joy of the season are upon you and your family. As we approach the end of 2023, I want to express my gratitude for the community partnerships that support the mission of CHI and the team that works tirelessly to care for our patients and keep our health centers running at a high-quality level. I also want our patients to know that we are so thankful for the opportunity to serve as your medical home. We know you have a choice and putting your healthcare in our hands is a privilege that we take very seriously. 

The holidays are usually associated with joy and celebration, but not for some. Together we can make a difference. If you know someone who is alone, depressed, or suffering this holiday season, you can be the light to carry them through. We have a compassionate team of psychiatrists, therapists and more who are ready to help. Don’t delay in getting behavioral healthcare to change your mindset or help someone else change theirs.  

I’m very pleased with the progress I’m seeing as the construction of our Children’s Crisis Center moves forward. Crews have completed pouring the concrete slab that serves as the base of the center. Right now, they are making the steel structure. We hope the project will be complete by the end of 2024 so that we can have a special place to heal the young hearts and minds of children with severe mental health issues in our community. If you’re looking for an impactful gift this holiday season, consider buying a Brick of Hope. The bricks will line the entrance of the Children’s Crisis Center and can be personalized with your name or a loved one’s name. It’s a lasting impact that will always connect that person to the mission of helping these children. Just visit chisouthfl.org/bricksofhope or call (786) 293-5504. 

I wish you all love, happiness and good health in the New Year! 

 

Yours Truly,

 

 

 

 

Blake Hall