New executive director
The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind (LVIB) of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus Counties has named Stefanie Pontlitz as its new executive director. Pontlitz will succeed Jonathan Fister, upon his retirement.
Pontlitz joins the Lighthouse after serving as vice president of development for Youth and Family Alternatives, and prior to that, COO (chief operating officer) of the United Way of Pasco County.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank Jonathan Fister for his years of service and wish him well in his retirement. We are thrilled that Stefanie has agreed to be the new executive director of the Lighthouse. Her extensive leadership and fundraising experience will enable us to expand our services to the blind and visually impaired community,” said Jennifer Selk, Lighthouse board chair, in a news release.
Pontlitz is a Pasco County resident and has held multiple positions in the community, including president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; president of Leadership Pasco; founder and president of Business Networking International – Outlook to Success Chapter; president of Junior Service League; president of Trinity Rotary; and others.
She also was named Hometown Hero in 2017, by It’s Your Home Trinity magazine.
“I am incredibly excited to join the Lighthouse. I’ve seen the dedication and passion the staff have for their clients, and I look forward to working with them and the board of directors. By empowering those with visual impairment and blindness, we provide members of our community with the chance to achieve their goals and live independent lives. A mission I am proud to be a part of,” said Pontlitz.
For information about the Lighthouse, visit LVIB.org.
Lung cancer awareness
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Medical Center of Trinity wants to share its comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program. Through Incidental Findings and Scheduled Low-Dose CT Screening, the hospital is finding lung cancer before it becomes symptomatic, according to a hospital news release.
“A dedicated Lung Cancer Program provides great benefit to the community through early detection and with an established goal of a reduction of mortality from cancer. Our team of caregivers work together to identify cancer, establish the best course of treatment and provide ongoing support throughout the cancer journey” said Dr. Mathew Ninan, thoracic surgery and director of Thoracic Surgery and Lung Nodule Program, HCA West Florida.
Incidental Findings: Utilizing innovative technologies to detect suspicious lung nodules by analyzing CT exams, which include the lungs, in any of the hospital’s emergency departments (Trinity, Citrus Park, Lutz, Palm Harbor), outpatient imaging and inpatient services.
Scheduled Screening: Low-Dose CT Lung Screening is referred through a physician, is quick and painless, requires no needles or dye, and uses less radiation than traditional CT scans. Studies have shown screening those at high risk with Low-Dose CT scans before symptoms are present can find lung cancer early, when it is easier to treat and more likely to be cured.
Early Detection is Key: Lung cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate at only 18%. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer drops dramatically from a stage 1 diagnosis (68-92% survival) to a stage 4 diagnosis (0-10% survival).
First program graduate
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point announced that on Oct. 31, Dr. Katie Groff became the first graduate of the hospital’s Cardiology Fellowship Program. She began the program on Nov. 1, 2017, after being the first resident to start with the hospital’s graduate medical education (GME) Internal Medicine Residency Program.
Groff is continuing her GME training in the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program, which she is scheduled to complete on October 31, 2021.
The Cardiology Fellowship Program is a three-year program and is in Continued Accreditation status from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
Cardiology Fellowship is one of the 11 programs that is offered at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, for a total number of 119 residents and fellows that occupy these programs.
The hospital congratulated Dr. Katie Groff on her outstanding accomplishments, and thanked all its caregivers and attending physicians who have contributed to supporting the GME programs and future physicians’ education and training.
The third annual Charity Casino Night to benefit Gulfside Hospice has been rescheduled to Jan. 30, due to the current pandemic. The event will take place at the Heritage Springs Golf & Country Club in Trinity.
All proceeds will provide patient care and bereavement support in Pasco County through Gulfside.
For tickets and sponsorship information, visit CharityCasinoNight.org.
New board members
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) affiliate in Pasco County (NAMI Pasco) has announced its 2020-2021 Board of Directors.
“The pandemic has created an increased need for mental health support in our community” said Debbie L. Proulx, executive director. “I have faith that this new board will help us expand our reach and meet the need.”
NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. The nonprofit provides free mental health support, advocacy, outreach, and education to those with mental health conditions and support to their loved ones.
Loni Aurbeck, Pasco Outreach Diversion and Prevention supervisor for Metropolitan Ministries, will assume the role of board president.
Also joining the board as vice president is Marie Macher, an active NAMI Pasco volunteer and peer leader for the past seven years.
Completing the Executive Board are Meghan Shattuck as secretary and Dr. Eddie Williams as treasurer.
Additional board members include past president Stephanie Centella, Shawna Levondosky, Sylvia Escala-DeRosa, Lucy Miller, Christine Pringle, Ken Delaney and Elaine Sabra.
For information on NAMI Pasco, visit NamiPasco.org.
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