Bay Pines director recognized

BAY PINES – Paul M. Russo, director of the medical center at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, is among this year’s winners of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 2022 Secretary's Award for Excellence in Nursing and Advancement of Nursing Programs. During a live award ceremony May 6 in Washington, D.C., Russo was recognized for his servant leadership and for tirelessly advocating for his nurses and their role in veteran care in addition to his commitment to excellence and quality. 

“Veterans are always the ones who step up for our Nation when we need them most. But these past couple years, you’ve stepped up for them in the time when they needed you most,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said of Russo. 

Over the past year, Russo has raised salaries for registered nurses, offered retention pay and incentives for staff during the pandemic, championed a robust Nursing Shared Governance program, advocated for staff driven evidence-based systems redesign projects, and fostered an open, just culture through a commitment to being a High Reliability Organization.

AdventHealth adds sites' mental health services

TAMPA – AdventHealth announced May 17 it was adding access to mental health services at Express Care offices at 10 Walgreens locations around the Tampa Bay area.

Mental health clinicians will be available for same-day care via telehealth.

Currently, physicians at AdventHealth offices in New Tampa connect patients with expert mental health clinicians to receive same-day behavioral health treatment, via phone or video visit, from the privacy of their home.

In the past year, AdventHealth has screened more than 107,000 patients for mental health; 7,000 of the screened patients met requirements for next steps in care. More than 2,000 people required longer term mental health services.

Woodie’s Wash Shack adds locations 

TAMPA –Woodie’s Wash Shack announced it has acquired three NASCAR Car Wash locations in Seminole, Largo, and St. Petersburg. These locations will increase the number of wash shacks in this area from two to five. 

Woodie’s Endless Wash Club members can wash their vehicle unlimited times each month at any Woodie’s location.

Woodie’s was recently voted the “Best Car Wash in South Tampa” by the readers of Tampa Magazine. 

 Christian Hardigree to lead USF St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG – University of South Florida President Rhea Law announced May 18 that Christian Hardigree will be the next regional chancellor of the USF St. Petersburg campus. Hardigree, who most recently served as the founding dean of the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University of Denver, will start her new role at USF on July 1.

Hardigree led the transition for the MSU School of Hospitality to become a free-standing school, implementing departmental structures, a strategic plan and other initiatives. She secured more than $3.7 million in external funds to support the school, which is the largest hospitality program in the region, and led faculty through curriculum redesign of six degrees and majors, eight minors and nine certificates. 

She also developed and oversaw a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that helped to increase the Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) student population by more than 8%.

Hardigree will replace Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock, who after five years of leading the campus will be returning to a teaching role in the USF College of Education.

Mainsail Lodging partners with USF hospitality program 

TAMPA – Mainsail Lodging & Development, a Tampa-based hospitality company, has entered a multi-year partnership with the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business, and Aramark, the on-campus food service and catering service, to boost experiential learning and student fellowships with USF’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

The fellowships will give hospitality students an opportunity to learn day-to-day operations with lifestyle, boutique hotels, including Epicurean Tampa, Epicurean Atlanta, Fenway Hotel in Dunedin, Luminary Hotel & Co. in Fort Myers, Hotel Forty Five in Macon, Georgia, and Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina in the British Virgin Islands. Mainsail’s corporate office in Tampa will offer additional experiences in sales and marketing, reservations, revenue management and corporate housing.

USF announced a partnership with McKibbon Hospitality in November that creates hotel learning labs where students can shadow hotel industry professionals and learn valuable on-the-job professional experience.

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