by Mike Vogel
Updated 6 yearss ago
Lisa Witherspoon was an All-American in basketball at Virginia Tech. "I enjoyed a great deal of success as an athlete," she says appreciatively. That success seems to have attuned her to kids who haven't enjoyed the same. She taught P.E. in schools and in 2006 found herself in New York working with a gym using technology-based interactive games for kids.
Exergaming is a hot field, whether it involves Konami's Dance Dance Revolution, Panasonic's Core Trainer or Cateye's GameBikes. In New York, Witherspoon met Stephen Sanders, director of USF's School of Physical Education, Wellness and Sports Studies, who was consulting at the same facility. Both were struck by the potential that games held for improving the health of children in a society where too many kids are overweight, with betterconditioned thumbs than bodies. Both also were struck by the lack of authoritative research on whether the technology games and devices make for fitter kids and improve them academically and socially.
"Traditional exercise is not getting it done with this generation."
-- Lisa Witherspoon
In short order, Witherspoon became a doctoral student at USF to focus on those questions. She contacted Denver- based game-facility design and setup company iTECH Fitness and with Sanders got the company and game manufacturers to provide $50,000 in gaming equipment to establish the XRKade Research Lab. "I think we're definitely going to see it's beneficial," says Witherspoon, 30. "Traditional exercise is not getting it done with this generation."
Sanders, 54, says that in addition to research, the lab provides a place for university students to learn how to use the machines in teaching. A website will be a resource for teachers around Florida. He sees the technology as having particular benefit for the type of kids who aren't active in sports or engaging in unstructured play but, he cautions, "Please don't misunderstand that this exergaming is the cure-all."
A Handle on Healthcare
"You can't control healthcare costs without controlling healthcare."
That maxim is offered by Todd Keller, CEO of a Jacksonville workplace healthcare company, in explaining how his 21-year-old company has grown from an industrial medicine onsite care company providing injury diagnosis and minor treatments at a power plant under construction to a 135-employee, $14-million revenue a year provider of wellness, prevention, disease management and primary care for employer clients in 12 states. Keller, 53, assigns registered nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to client job sites. Finding and controlling diabetes or hypertension early can reduce treatment costs by $1 million over a patient's lifetime, Keller says.
Creating a Memorial
Bio: Ohio native, graduate of a Miami-Dade high school, Miami Dade College, Florida International University (master's, healthcare management) and University of Miami (bachelor's).
Years at Memorial: 33.
Years as CEO: 20.
What it is: A tax-supported system with hospitals, a nursing home and day surgery and outpatient centers.
Significant community service seed: Took over pediatric and obstetric primary care from the state health department 15 years ago.
Unique: A myriad of community programs. One example: Memorial worked with law enforcement and community groups to start neighborhood associations in troubled areas. Through diversion programs started at faith-based centers, Memorial works with 8,000 to 10,000 at-risk youths a year.
Future: "It's just kind of pyramid-ed -- our passion to make this a better community to live in. It's like a rodeo now. We're just trying to ride this bronco."
Lately: The recently acquired and renamed Memorial Regional Hospital South, cancer and breast cancer centers, and expansions in western suburban facilities.
Next up: A freestanding building for Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Goal: "The legacy and passion I have now as I go into the final phase of my career is to make the Memorial Health Care System and its hospitals the safest in the country."
Dean of Elder Care
As a child, Kelley Rice- Schild helped pass out medications at a Miami nursing home. As a teen, she volunteered. After high school, she worked in every department. She had her administrator's license when she was 21.
She was born to it. Her great-grandmother, Florence "Flori" Dean, founded the Floridean Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in 1944. Her grandfather was the first president of the Florida Health Care Association. Rice-Schild, 44, is a past president of the association and is one of only 15 members of the national American Health Care Association's elected board, where she speaks for independent owners like herself.
She is helping with a state association effort this legislative session to eliminate what operators see as redundant requirements. "I love the business, but I also like the advocacy part," she says.
At 60-bed Floridean, which she owns with her three siblings, revenue last year was $5 million, "and the expenses are right there with it." Hurricane insurance quadrupled in the last year.
A mother of three, Rice- Schild says it's too early to say whether her children or her nieces and nephews will carry on the business for a fifth generation. But all have been volunteers. "They all do the same thing I did."
› Cancer biologist Nisha M. Broodie, 23, University of Miami biology senior, won a Gilliam Fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which provides underrepresented minorities with financial support toward a Ph.D. in the life sciences.
› Pioneering and award-winning emergency medicine doc Richard Slevinski, 58, president, Emergency Medicine Learning and Resource Center, is working to build in Orlando a $6-million home for the center with classrooms and simulation labs for training care providers from firefighters to doctors.