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CLEARWATER - A year and a half ago Lori Tietz moved to Clearwater from New Hampshire. She had just retired and wanted warm weather to be sure, but she wanted more than that. She wanted to work out and keep fit. It was something she just had to do.

“I’ve been exercising most of my life,” she said.
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Suncoast Hospice and its parent organization, Empath Health; and Tidewell Hospice and its parent organization, Stratum Health System, are the founding partners of a new strategic alliance to be known as Pontus Health Inc.

Suncoast Hospice provides services to Pinellas County residents and Tidewell Hospice serves residents of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Together, they serve more than 16,000 patients a year.
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Tuesday, February 14
SEMINOLE - Cancer is a great equalizer, said Zena Bond, producer of an annual musical variety show that raises funds for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

“It touches everyone’s life in one way or another, no matter who you are,” she said, “whether someone is diagnosed with it or their loved one is.”
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Wednesday, January 25
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SAFETY HARBOR - When Sue Velott, a nationally ranked CrossFit Masters competitor, was looking for a way to stay in shape in the offseason after she suffered serious back and shoulder injuries the past two years, her coach suggested she “do something fun” to prepare for the upcoming CrossFit season.

So the North Clearwater Beach resident decided to enter the powerlifting competition at the 2016 Florida Senior Games, which were held at various venues in the greater Clearwater area in early December.
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Those of you who have visited a dermatologist at some time in your life have probably heard the term “keratosis” more times than you can count. The word keratosis translates to a localized horny overgrowth of skin and there are several different types, categorized by their etiology or appearance. These include actinic, arsenical, lichenoid, seborrheic and stucco, just to name a few. Here we will focus on the actinic keratosis, considered a potential precursor to skin cancer, and discuss known causes and risks factors, warning signs, treatment options and prevention guidelines.

An actinic keratosis, also known as a solar keratosis, is typically a raised, scaly or crusted growth on the skin. They often begin as small, rough spots that are more easily felt than seen, with a texture compared to that of sandpaper. Early on, they may also seem to disappear only to reappear later in the same spot. With time, most grow to be 310 millimeters in size and become red in color, although some will be light tan, brown, pink or any combination thereof. They are found most frequently on sun-exposed parts of the body including the scalp, face, lips, ears, forearms, backs of the hands, shoulders and neck. Chronic sun exposure is the major cause of nearly all actinic keratosis. Even brief periods of sun exposure add up over time, contributing to a person’s cumulative or lifetime total of sun exposure, making individuals 50 years of age and older more likely to develop actinic keratosis. Other risk factors include fair skin, proximity to the equator and outdoor occupation. Occasionally, extensive exposure to other types of radiation (i.e. X-rays) and harsh industrial chemicals may contribute to evolution of actinic keratosis.
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LARGO - The Healthy Pinellas Consortium will meet Thursday, Feb. 16, 1:30 p.m., at the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County's Mid-County location in the Dharamraj Education Health Center, 8751 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

The meeting is open to the public and community feedback is welcome.
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PINELLAS PARK - Dental exams, X-rays, cleanings and any needed services such as fillings will be offered to children and teens through the age of 18 during the annual Give Kids a Smile! event on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.

Services will be provided at the Pinellas Park location, 6350 76th Ave. N. The clinic will open at 8 a.m.
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ST. PETERSBURG - St. Petersburg General Hospital recently announced the appointment of Paulina Tam, MBA, as chief operating officer.

Tam comes to St. Petersburg General Hospital from Tampa Community Hospital where she was vice president of operations. Previously, Tam served as director of performance improvement for surgical services at HCA West Florida Division. Prior to that, she served as a senior management engineer as well as a management engineer in HCA’s South Atlantic Division with focus on case management. Tam held a variety of different managerial positions in her career as well as that of administrative fellow at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.
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DUNEDIN - The Laufer Institute of Plastic Surgery in Dunedin recently welcomed Tom Kosowski, M.D., plastic surgeon, to its team.

Since graduating from the Ivy League medical school at Dartmouth, Kosowski has made a name for himself as an innovative and accomplished plastic surgeon. Kosowski attended his hometown college, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he graduated with three degrees, including a bachelor’s in music (guitar performance), a bachelor’s in biochemistry, and a master’s in biomedical sciences. He then moved to New England where he attended Dartmouth Medical School, serving as the President of his class.
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Wednesday, January 18
The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County recognizes January as Cervical Health Awareness Month, a time to educate, encourage and empower women to visit their health care provider for information and screening for cervical cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. In Florida, there were 914 new cases and 345 deaths from cervical cancer in 2013 (Florida Cancer Data System). Most cervical cancer cases occur in women who have never been screened with a Pap test or have not been screened in the past five years.
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ST. PETERSBURG - Health professionals will learn and share resources to promote vaccines for adolescents at the 2017 Florida annual Immunization Summit, running Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 2-4, at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Hotel, 333 First St. S.

The event is presented by the Florida Department of Health Immunization Section with other partners. The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County worked on local coordination of the summit and some of its staff will present during the event.
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SAFETY HARBOR - A worldwide initiative advocating breastfeeding has once again recognized Mease Countryside Hospital as a “Baby-Friendly” facility that promotes and supports that practice.

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund and is a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding. The Maternity Center at Mease offers breastfeeding mothers the information, skills and support needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
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CLEARWATER - The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers recently recognized the high quality and broad spectrum of breast health services available at both Morton Plant and St. Anthony’s hospitals by re-accrediting their respective breast care programs.

Both programs are the only two in Pinellas County with the NAPBC accreditation. Breast centers so accredited are “held to the highest standards of care for patients with diseases of the breast,” according to the accrediting body’s website.
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Wednesday, January 11
The Florida Department of Health encourages people heading off to college to be sure their vaccines are up to date.

Heading to college is a major life event for young people, especially if higher learning also involves dorm life far from home. Before packing suitcases, books and bedding, parents should make sure their child’s vaccines are updated.
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ST. PETERSBURG - The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System recently achieved Exemplar status for the third straight year for its Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders program.

The NICHE program is the premier designation indicating a hospital's commitment to excellence in the care of patients age 65 years and older. Exemplar status recognizes the Bay Pines VAHCS’s ongoing dedication to geriatric care and system wide interventions and initiatives that demonstrate organizational commitment to the care of older adults.
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CLEARWATER - The American Institute of Plastic Surgeons recently recognized the performance of Dr. Eric Egozi on its 2016 10 Best Plastic Surgeons for Client Satisfaction list.

The American Institute of Plastic Surgeons is a third-party rating organization that publishes an annual list of the top 10 plastic surgeons in each state. Surgeons who are selected to the 10 best list must pass AIPS’ rigorous selection process, which is based on patient and/or peer nominations, thorough research and the organization’s independent evaluation. The list was created to be used as a resource for patients during the surgeon selection process.
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CLEARWATER - Board certified family physician Melissa Torres, D.O., recently joined BayCare Medical Group and is accepting new patients at Palm Harbor West Family Medicine, 2939 Alt. U.S. 19, Palm Harbor.

Torres received her undergraduate degrees in biology and Spanish from Michigan State University in East Lansing. After earning her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Lakewood Ranch, Torres completed a family practice internship and residency at the University of California at San Diego.
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Narconon reminds families that an intervention can be the difference between life and death.

Interventions are powerful tools that can be used when an addict refuses to get help or seek treatment. To learn more about how to conduct an intervention that could potentially save a life, visit www.n­arcon­on-su­ncoas­t.org­/blog­/the-­power­-of-a­n-int­erven­tion.­html.
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Wednesday, January 4
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CLEARWATER - BayCare Health System was recently recognized by The National Center for Healthcare Leadership and named a 2016 BOLD Organization of Distinction for using evidence-based leadership development practices to prepare leaders to transform health care.

Best Organizations for Leadership Development is NCHL’s signature platform promoting sound leadership development practices as a critically important responsibility for health care providing organizations. The organization helps identify, celebrate and disseminate leadership development practices that can benefit other health care organizations.
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Tuesday, December 27
For New Year’s Day, OneBlood encourages area residents to resolve to donate blood. Blood donations will be collected on the Big Red Bus from Sunday through Wednesday, Jan. 1-4, at select locations.

All lifesaving donors will receive a special gift, along with a wellness check-up of blood pressure, pulse, temperature and iron count, including a cholesterol screening.
 ... Read More 
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