Straight Talk

November 19, 2015
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
"My dream is that we get as good at preventing disease as we are at treating it."
These challenging words from America’s Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy were very much in evidence this past Saturday in southwest Florida.   The kickoff event of the Blue Zones Project to create a healthier community, with one of the largest crowds ever assembled for a single local event, underscored “prevention.”  And in the evening, NCH’s 57th Annual Hospital Ball, benefiting the stroke program, focused on “treatment.”
Folks began to arrive at North Collier Regional Park way before 9 a.m., eager to learn how southwest Florida could become one of America’s healthiest communities over the next decade, adding years of healthy life for ourselves and those around us.   The crowd of over 1,200 enjoyed many activities until early afternoon, including cooking demonstrations (among them, Greek Gourmet and Russell’s Clambakes), fruit stations sponsored by Naples Beach Hotel and Edible Arrangements, a juice bar by Delicious Raw, massage stations by NCH, outdoor yoga by Parks and Recreation, a “Kids’ Garden” by Sunshine Ace Hardware, kids’ games by University of Florida IFAS Extension, Silver Sneakers, Zumba, and Tai Chi, and a Bike Blender shared by the Naples Pathways Coalition where pedaling a stationary bike created the energy for a blender making smoothies.
A model Blue Zones Community featuring a supermarket checkout lane from Wynn’s Market, a restaurant setting with Blue Zones items on the menus, and a worksite vending machine from Well Vending containing healthy options displayed current and coming choices for southwest Florida.  The Collier County Domestic Animal Service featured “Grace” a Boxer mix available for adoption as pet owners add years to their lives.  Collier County United Way introduced “Volunteer Opportunities” as volunteers also add years to their lives as they help others.    
The morning’s highlight was Blue Zones originator Dan Buettner, who expertly, entertainingly and passionately shared the experience which has brought 27 American communities together, as residents improve their health, outlook on life, and life expectancy, while decreasing the need for costly healthcare.  The audience was engaged, optimistic and ready to carry the message to their friends, neighbors, colleagues at work, and all those with whom they interact.  It was all very inspiring.
The day concluded with an emphasis on “treatment” at the NCH Hospital Ball, with 500 supporters assisting the North Naples Hospital’s new bi-plane vascular unit to care for stroke victims on both hospital campuses.  We have had about 700 stroke patients cared for this past year at NCH, at the only Agency for Healthcare Administration-designated Comprehensive Stroke Center in Collier County.  Our 16 neurologists, six neurosurgeons, six teleneurologists and two interventional radiologists at the Brookdale Center for Rehabilitation and Aging are committed to treating strokes and optimizing outcomes.  Co-Chairs Jan and Kim Ciccarelli Kantor summarized the spirit of the evening with a quote from George Bernard Shaw, “My life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.”
As is our custom at the NCH Ball, we recognized our 2015 Nurses of the Year, Imelda Terwilliger, North Naples Hospital, and Carolina Gibertoni, Downtown Naples Hospital, selected by their nursing leaders; Compass Award winner Dr. Harry Moreau, Neonatologist, selected by NCH employees; and Physician of the Year, selected by peers, which was a tie between Dr. Carolyn Walters, Emergency Physician, and Dr. Tuan Nguyen, Hospitalist.  Other most deserving nominees included Drs. Daniel Kaplan, Pia Myers, Sobia Najm Masoud, Kenneth Plunkett, Carlos Quintero, and James Talano
Assisting our community by being a supporter or volunteer in the Blue Zones Project, a member of the NCH Ball Committee, a caregiver in the Comprehensive Stroke Program, or serving in another capacity, is what makes this community so special.  Our goal, through a combination of prevention and treatment, is to become the healthiest community in America, enabling all of us to live longer, happier, and healthier lives.       

Allen Weiss, M.D. Signature

Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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