A Message From The President and CEO

As we head into the holiday season, I reflect on gratitude for good health. I am thankful to be healthy and thankful to our team for their dedication to maintain the health of our patients and our community. Recently, we received high recognition for the quality of care provided at CHI. In fact, we were ranked as one of the highest performing health centers nationwide due to significant quality improvements over previous years.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded CHI with bronze status as a “Health Center Quality Leader.” That means we are ranked in the top 21-30 percent overall in clinical performance among patient-centered medical homes in the United States! CHI received an Access Enhancer award for increasing the number of patients served by 5%, and an Advancing Health Information Technology (HIT) for Quality distinction for best usage of services such as technology and increased patient positive outcomes. HRSA awarded CHI based on a comparison of CHI’s clinical quality measures to more than 1,400 other health centers across the nation.

This is a testament to the team here at CHI, their expertise and compassion to give the best care to everyone. I am so proud of their work and accomplishments.

As you count your blessings this season, I encourage you to take ownership in the mental healthcare of children in our community. Buy a Brick of Hope for yourself, loved ones or friends as a present. It’s the gift that lives on forever as it supports the building of a Children’s Crisis Center to provide overnight intensive mental healthcare for kids. Your bricks will line the entrance to the new center and remind kids in crisis that you and many others care for them. You can do so on our website at chisouthfl.org/bricksofhope/.

Finally, I want to mention two big events we are planning for December. On December 3rd, we will host our World AIDS Day walk to raise awareness for lives lost and highlight prevention and testing. It will take place at JL and Enid W. Demps Park in Goulds from 7:30 am to 1 p.m. Also, make sure you don’t miss our big Holiday Festival outside of the Doris Ison Health Center on December 17th. We will be watching the movie The Grinch, there will be entertainment and best of all, we will be giving away toys! ‘Tis the season for family fun.

Yours Truly,




Blake Hall

CHI Works to Combat Monkeypox Outbreak

Dina Orellana, Medical Assistant at CHI, receives her Monkeypox vaccine.

The 2022 outbreak of Monkeypox has reached South Florida. Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) is dedicated to combating the disease by providing quality medical care and is now offering the Monkeypox vaccine to high-risk individuals.

Monkeypox, a viral disease, commonly shows up as a rash on the skin, flu-like symptoms, and headache, is now classified as a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. Although the virus is not an epidemic currently, CHI doctors are warning the community to take precautions.

“The numbers are significant, and they present concern,” said Dr. Saint Anthony Amofah, Senior Vice President, and Chief Medical Officer.

As cases continue to rise in South Florida, CHI providers encourage patients to turn to them with their questions and concerns. Dr. Amofah answers some frequently asked questions:


How is Monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox is transmitted most through prolonged and direct skin to skin contact. This may be through hugging or kissing, sex, as well as touching bedding or clothing that has been contaminated with the virus. The virus can also be transmitted by respiratory droplets through face-to-face interactions.

When should you be concerned that you’ve contracted Monkeypox?

If you have been exposed to the virus or traveled to an area with a high transmission rate, you should be concerned. Additionally, if you are experiencing rashes or flu-like symptoms, you should self-isolate and contact your primary care physician.

Who qualifies for the Monkeypox vaccine?

The vaccine is available to patients at CHI who are at a high-risk for developing severe disease. That includes patients with immunocompromised conditions such as cancer, HIV, or Lupus. The vaccine is also available to CHI staff.

How can you protect yourself against Monkeypox?

Avoid situations where you are exposed to prolonged direct contact with others. If you are going to be in those situations, try to be fully clothed and wear a mask. It is better to make the presumption that the person next to you is infected.

New eConsult Program Connects CHI Patients with Specialists Across the Country

Dr. Saint Anthony Amofah discusses a patient’s condition with a cardiologist online.

CHI patients will soon have highly-qualified medical specialists contributing to their care. Thanks to a grant-funded program, CHI primary care providers will be able to connect with specialists across the country who can provide guidance and direction in treating a patient. The new program is called the eConsult.

When a patient is referred to a specialist, such as a cardiologist or a dermatologist, they might face delays. It can be challenging to set up an appointment—sometimes waiting months to see the specialist. Other times, a patient may be uninsured and cannot afford to see a specialist, or doesn’t have the means to travel long distances to the nearest specialist’s office.

“We realized that all we need to bridge that gap is guidance on how to manage the patient,” said Dr. St. Anthony Amofah, CHI’s Chief Medical Officer. “The eConsult program allows us to get that guidance from a specialist through even a simple phone call.”

A CHI clinician will be able to consult a network of specialists when they need guidance on a treatment plan or to review test results. What would normally take several weeks, the CHI care team can receive feedback from the specialist in as little as two days.

Not only does this benefit the patient, but having readily-accessible guidance offers clinicians a unique opportunity to expand their own skill set and improve patient care.

“Providers get educated and learn from it,” said Dr. Amofah. “It’s a powerful learning experience that allows you to be a better clinician for other patients as well.”

Dr. Amofah adds, “Technology in the healthcare industry has the potential to make way for patients to receive all-encompassing care by their primary care provider. Patients are more likely to remain consistent in receiving the care they need with their primary physician.”

“These are the leading-edge technologies that make a difference across the board,” said Dr. Amofah.

The eConsult program is set to launch this summer.

New Remote Patient Monitoring Service Helps Patients and Doctors

CHI will give patients devices to take home
and assist with monitoring their health.

A new remote patient monitoring service will give patients and their providers better control over their health this summer.

CHI’s free remote patient monitoring service allows patients who are managing diabetes, high blood pressure or are on a weight management plan to use technology in their own homes to track their progress with their provider—at no cost.

In partnership with WithMyDoc, CHI will send patients home with medical equipment like a blood pressure cuff, blood glucose meter or a body composition analysis scale. That means patients can frequently check and report their health data between visits with their providers.

“This gives providers more real-time information,” said Peter Wood, CHI’s Vice President of Planning and Government Affairs. “If the condition is getting worse, then the provider will know immediately as opposed to two months later when the patient comes in.”

Because the service allows for more real-time reporting, patients don’t need to travel to their health center as often. This is a relief for some patients who cannot arrange transportation as easily as others.

“It’s going to make their appointments more effective and create a partnership with their doctor,” said Carine Astree, a CHI care coordinator. She said the service will encourage patients to take a more active role in their treatment. “It helps the patient own their care.”

Patients will get proper training on how to use the equipment. They will also learn how to send reports using a Bluetooth-enabled tablet, which is also provided free of charge through the program.

“Patients are communicating more often with their care team which will improve patient outcomes,” said Wood. “This technology is allowing us to provide care more continuously.”

The remote patient monitoring service will be offered in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole this summer and eligible patients will be invited to enroll.

CHI’s CEO and President Blake Hall

A Message From The President and CEO


CHI’s CEO and President Blake HallTime flies when you’re having fun! It seems like the school year just wrapped up and here we are already starting to look at heading back to school. As always, we want to be your one-stop shop for healthcare for the whole family. Community Health of South Florida, Inc. (CHI) has discounted school and sports physicals. School and sports physicals without an EKG are just $40 and $50 with an EKG. Schedule it today, along with your child’s dental exam and cleaning. Don’t forget about vision too. Make sure you have their eyes checked and glasses made with us before the school bell rings again.

Did you Know CHI is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations for ages 6 months old and up. Your entire family should be protected by getting everyone vaccinated and boosted. This is year three of the pandemic and we are not out of the woods yet. Yes, things are improving, but we must remain vigilant. It is critical that we keep up to date with our vaccinations because it’s simple—they save lives.

This time of year, we are also getting ready to celebrate National Health Center Week! It is an exciting time when we highlight the important work that community health centers like CHI do to keep our communities healthy. Check out our rundown of events and recognition at chisouthfl.org/NationalHealthCenterWeek. I hope you all will join us on August 9th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the health fair at our Martin Luther King Jr. Clinica Campesina Health Center, 810 W. Mowry Dr., Homestead, FL 33030. It’s free and promises to be both fun and beneficial. We will have health screenings for the whole family, and we have a host of resources there such as housing assistance, home buying assistance, financial assistance and more. You can also enjoy food, games and more! Plus, the first 100 school-age children will receive a backpack with school supplies.

Until then, treat yourselves well. Focus on your mental and physical health. It’s your ticket to success and greater happiness in life. If you ever need mental health assistance, there’s a new Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to help anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Just dial 9-8-8 to reach a national hotline that will connect you with a trained mental health professional. We are so proud to serve as your medical home.

Yours Truly,



Blake Hall

CHI Celebrates Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center Class of 2022 and Incoming Residents

Class of new residents stands together after their white coat ceremony at the Doris Ison Health Center.

June was an eventful month at the Brodes H. Hartley, Jr. Teaching Health Center as the Class of 2022 graduated on June 11, 2022, after years of dedicated service to CHI and its patients.

Three family medicine and five psychiatry residents walked proudly across the auditorium to mark the end of their residency at CHI and the beginning of their remarkable journey as physicians.

The graduation ceremony was live streamed on CHI’s YouTube channel so family and friends could tune in for the special occasion.

Keynote speaker Dr. Cheryl L. Holder is a founding member of the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

“Medicine is a gift that we fortunate physicians practice with gratitude,” said Dr. Holder. “We need a community—that feeling of fellowship with others in sharing common attitudes and goals.”

Graduating psychiatry resident, Olaoacha Okwuadigbo, MD addressed her fellow graduates with a piece of advice from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Today we graduate and take a big step into the great responsibility of applying our training,” said Dr. Okwuadigbo. “Dr. King said ‘Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.’”

Teaching Health Center graduates for the class of 2022.

On June 19, 2022, CHI welcomed 12 incoming medical residents with an intimate white coat ceremony. It was CHI’s 8th white coat ceremony, live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook and presented by Dr. St. Anthony Amofah, CHI’s Chief Medical Officer.

CHI’s CEO and President Blake Hall addressed the families and new residents.

“You will spend time and learn from our leaders,” said Hall. “I’m excited about being a participant in your journey.”

Dr. Elizabeth Philippe, Chief of Family Medicine, Associate Director of Medical Education, and Program Director for Family Medicine, described the symbolism behind the white coat and how it represents the medical profession.

“You come here to serve people in need,” said Dr. Philippe. “The white coat reminds us of our duty. It’s a powerful symbol of compassion, trust and humanism.”

Dr. Philipe joined Hall to present six family medicine residents with their white coats. Dr. Moises A. Riveron, joined in to present seven psychiatry residents with their white coats.

“This is a program that is designed and intended for people who have a heart for community health,” said Dr. Amofah, as he directly addressed the residents. “You will get comfortable with the types of patients you see, the difference you get to make in their lives and how good you feel about the impact you make.”

Dr. Jany Mesa and Dr. Mary L. Kewin

CHI Residents’ Research Gain National Attention

Dr. Jany Mesa and Dr. Mary L. Kewin

Dr. Jany Mesa (right) and Dr. Mary L. Kewin (left) stand in front of Dr. Mesa’s poster at the Florida Psychiatric Society. Dr. Mesa is the 2022-23 co-chief resident for CHI Psychiatry and Dr. Kerwin is the upcoming co-chief

Community Health of South Florida, Inc. medical and psychiatry residents are shaping the future of patient care and improving people’s lives through their research. In fact, their research is so compelling they have been asked to present at both state and national levels for organizations such as the Florida Psychiatric Society and the American Psychiatric Association.

“There are a lot of quality improvement projects in progress here at CHI,” said Dr. Mary Kerwin, DO, the upcoming co-chief resident of CHI’s Department of Psychiatry. “Everyone is doing impactful work, like practice-based research, to help the community beyond direct patient care.”

Dr. Kerwin conducted her own research, along with other residents in the program. It explores telepsychiatry and how effective it can be within Black and Brown populations. During the pandemic, many patients moved to telehealth services. Now appointments are offered both in-person and virtually. Dr. Kerwin and her colleagues are determining how telepsychiatry can impact patient care and how it can help CHI serve more patients. The aim is to create the greatest impact on their quality of life while conserving resources.

“Our residents have the opportunity to do practice-based research with real-world impact,” said Dr. Saint Anthony Amofah, CHI’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Academic Officer. “These are activities that make a difference in the lives of the patients we take care of. They’re ideas that have the potential to make a difference across the country. That’s powerful.”


CHI resident researchers have shared their noteworthy findings with important professionals in the industry and were awarded for doing so. Residents Dr. Stefanny Santana and Dr. Ashely Fleuristal won 2nd place for their presentation. They were also recognized for the impact of their research on weight loss in family medicine.

“This is what sets us apart—the practice-based research that makes a huge difference in the lives of the patients we care for,” said Dr. Amofah. “And it’s gaining attention.”

These opportunities improve quality patient care and attract first-rate residents nationwide.

It also offers residents practice-based learning, development of new skills, networking opportunities and recognition.

CHI residents are well-positioned to excel and shape the future of their careers.


Family Medicine:

Stefanny Santana Rivera, MD
Arshely Fleuristal, MD
  • 2nd Place Winners for Poster Presentation
  • 2021 Family Medicine Cares Resident Service Award for your service project, “Community Health Weight Loss Initiative.”


Yeily Hernandez Mato
  • “Optimization of Statin Therapy in CAD in Community Practice”



  • “Is Telepsychiatry Effective for Racial-Ethnic Minorities in a Community Healthcare Setting?”


Tamara Fuerra, MD
Jany Mesa, MD
  • Neuropsychiatric Presentation of Temple Lobe Epilepsy: A case study


Olaocha Okwuadigbo, MD
  • Disparities in dementia care at US mental health care facilities: Analysis of US nationwide data from 2010 to 2020


Upcoming poster presentation on May 20-25, 2022
at the American Psychiatric Association
Somto V. Enemuo, MD
  • “Exploring the Association Between Electronic Wearable Device Use and Levels of Physical Activity Among Individuals With Depression and Anxiety”
Dr. Abiona Redwood

Dr. Abiona Redwood Wins Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award From FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

Dr. Abiona Redwood

Dr. Abiona Redwood receives local award.

Dr. Abiona Redwood, a Core Faculty of CHI’s Family Medicine Residency Program at the Brodes H. Hartley Jr. Teaching Health Center, has received the Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award by the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

The award recognizes a clinician-educator who excels in clinical teaching in family medicine, is a role model as a physician and educator, is available to students, cultivates lifelong learning, and is community-based faculty at FIU HWCOM.

At CHI, Dr. Redwood is responsible for the education and training of residents, medical students and allied health professionals through the implementation of a curriculum that addresses the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s core competencies.

Dr. Redwood graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina before moving to Miami and completing her Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency at the University of Miami Hospital/Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she was a Resident Clinic Director.
Dr. Veronica Alvarez-Galiana

Dr. Veronica Alvarez-Galiana Recognized With National Emerging Leader Award

Dr. Veronica Alvarez-Galiana

Dr. Veronica Alvarez-Galiana wins prestigious national award

Dr. Veronica Alvarez-Galiana always wanted to work at Community HeaIth of South Florida, Inc. (CHI). Born in Miami to Cuban parents who fled their country, Dr. Alvarez-Galiana knew she wanted to work with migrant populations and in underserved communities.

“It was a calling,” said Dr. Alvarez-Galiana, who started at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at CHI three years ago where she is now the OB/ GYN Medical Director. “The culture at CHI is very inclusive and like a family. So, I was really happy when I got the job.”

For many leaders at CHI, it was no surprise when the National Association of Community Health Centers honored Dr. Alvarez-Galiana with the prestigious Geiger Gibson Emerging Leader award for her commitment to developing the OB/GYN department, growing the number of providers and making innovative changes to the department in service of her patients.

Under her leadership, pregnant patients began making appointments earlier on in their pregnancies, the department instituted group prenatal care to promote education and build stronger support systems, the department hired and trained registered nurse-midwives, and partnered with FIU to train medical students. Dr. Alvarez-Galiana also initiated partnerships with INVITAE to provide non-invasive prenatal and breast cancer gene testing to patients, and with FIU’s Mammogram Van which provides mammograms to uninsured patients with transportation issues in South Dade.

She also led the expansion of the department to new locations in Marathon and Key West. Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Dr. Alvarez-Galiana quickly switched gears into telehealth services and instituted safety precautions for all patients, including a number of steps to keep pregnant patients safe.

“Certainly COVID-19 was one of the biggest challenges,” Dr. Alvarez-Galiana said. “There was a lot of fear among the patients and staff. I had to think on my feet.”

Dr. Alvarez-Galiana’s leadership and achievements were just a part of why Dr. Saint Anthony Amofah, CHI’s Chief Medical Officer, nominated her for the Geiger Gibson Emerging Leader award.

“It was very refreshing to see that she was able to pick this up without batting an eyelid,” said Dr. Amofah. “She was able to pick up the reigns and run with it and quickly earned the respect and influenced members of her department. She is a visionary for such a young woman.”

Dr. Alvarez-Galiana says it was nice to pause and take in the recognition and is forging ahead on building out her vision for the OB/GYN department at CHI.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” she said. “But it’s really about doing the right thing even when nobody is watching. I want to continue being of service to the community.”

Driven by CHI’s motto, “Patient care comes first,” Dr. Alvarez- Galiana said she hopes the next phase of her work might implement new and innovative cancer screenings, and more.

But there’s another order of business Dr. Alvarez-Galiana is seeing to this year: the birth of her second child this summer. She is expecting a baby girl and currently receiving her own prenatal care at CHI.

A Message From the President & CEO

New innovations are blooming at Community Health of South Florida, Inc. CHI. We have implemented EPIC as our new electronic health record and are excited about all thetools that it will provide us to better care for our patients. Initially, as we get accustomed to the new system, there may be some challenges, however, we hope and expect that it will be a major improvement in how we provide care in the long term. Please be patient with us as we get through this learning curve and move on to bigger and better services for you. We will also soon roll out remote patient monitoring to help better care for those who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Technology will help us assist patients to live healthier, happier lives.

What’s more? I’m proud to tell you that our new Key West Health Center is well embraced by the Florida Keys community. We are so happy to see new patients coming in for primary care, OB/GYN, pediatric and
behavioral health care since its inception late last year. In addition, we are excited about pushing forward with construction and renovation projects, including the expansion at our Coconut Grove Health Center on Grand Avenue, and the construction of the Children’s Crisis Center on the campus of our Doris Ison Health Center.

I hope you will join us on the golf course on May 16 at the Deering Bay Yacht & Country Club for our annual Glen Rice Celebrity Golf Tournament. You can swing with the pros to help us reach the finish line of our capital campaign to fund the Children’s Crisis Center.

Finally, never before has the impact of community health centers been more evident than our response to the pandemic and our dedication to keeping our communities safe and healthy for more than 50 years. CHI leaders have joined other community health centers across the nation to meet with members of Congress. It is important that they are aware of the critical work that we do so that they can help provide more support for community health centers and the patients we serve. We hope you will continue to help us advocate by contacting your member of Congress.





Blake Hall