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A Passion for Healing and Leadership: Award Winners Recognized at Circle of Friends Luncheon

The Memorial and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundations recently recognized five individuals and a family foundation at its 24th annual Circle of Friends luncheon. Each was honored at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for professional excellence, community service, and a commitment to Memorial Healthcare System.

 

Melida Akiti, Daniel B. Chan, Yochanon Klein, Diana Martinez, and Juan C. Martinez were presented with Spirit of Healing awards. The Levitetz Family Foundation was honored with the Wasie Philanthropic Leadership award.


Daniel B. Chan, Yochanon Klein, Melida Akiti, Diana Martinez, and Juan C. Martinez

 

“All the award winners have had a positive impact on their profession, our community, and Memorial Healthcare System,” said Kevin Janser, president of the Memorial and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundations. “Their unselfishness and generosity have improved more lives than can be counted.”

 

  • Melida Akiti, a Davie resident, was a leader within Memorial Healthcare System for 12 years, most recently as chief community officer. She was a driving force in the transformation of its primary care initiative and championed delivering the same high levels of service and care for all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Akiti also helped establish programs to provide individuals the resources to overcome social determinants of health, increased access to maternal health services for women in black and brown communities, and was instrumental in creating the “One City at a Time” initiative to bring healthcare directly to underserved communities at locations convenient for them.


Melida Akiti


  • Dr. Daniel Chan, of Fort Lauderdale, is chief of the Memorial Orthopaedic Institute, chief of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, and medical director of Orthopaedic Trauma Services at Memorial Regional Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center. He is also the medical director of Joint Replacement at Cypress Creek Outpatient Surgical Center, the highest-volume orthopaedic ambulatory surgical center in South Florida. Dr. Chan was also responsible for the establishment and subsequent growth of Memorial’s orthopaedic surgery department. “What gives me the most satisfaction is seeing patients back in the office after surgery and witnessing the dramatic change in their quality of life,” he said. “Whether they are recovering from an accident or joint replacement surgery, seeing that improvement and the change in their overall disposition, hearing about how they can now play with their families, return to work, and do all the activities they love, that makes my day.”


Dr. Daniel Chan


  • Yochanon Klein, along with his wife, Esther, founded Hollywood-based Healing Hearts, a nonprofit that helps families during times of medical crisis by providing meals, housing, referrals, counseling, and other support services. The organization was born after the Kleins faced cancer in their own family and saw how overwhelming those circumstances can be. Additionally, Rabbi Klein volunteers as a chaplain at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Miami Children’s Hospital, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Mount Sinai Hospital.


Yochanon Klein


  • Diana Martinez, MD, a Pembroke Pines resident, joined Memorial Healthcare System in 2013 and became chief of Pediatric Neurology two years later. Since that time, she has more than doubled the number of full-time physicians in the department and added five advanced practice providers. “I have an amazing team of professionals, and there is not one person that I would not trust with my own child,” she said.


Dr. Diana Martinez

 

Under Dr. Martinez’s leadership, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has opened an epilepsy program with three epileptologists dedicated to caring for children, especially those with intractable epilepsy, through monitoring, medications and/or surgical procedures. She has also hired a pediatric neurologist specializing in fetal neonatal neurology, a rare specialty many children’s hospitals don’t offer, and is currently focused on developing a neurodevelopmental program for children with autism and other developmental disorders.


  • Juan C. Martinez, MD, has dedicated his career, including the last 21 years at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, to caring for children with lung-related ailments and conditions, striving tirelessly to enhance the comprehensive care they receive. The Davie resident is the pediatric facility’s chief of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, medical director of its sleep disorder and cystic fibrosis centers, and chief of staff. Under Dr. Martinez’s leadership, the cystic fibrosis center has earned national accreditation, and its pulmonary team continues to care for patients as they transition into adulthood. The program was twice awarded the Outstanding Partner Award by the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is active in CF research. For more than a decade, the native of Cuba has also been an affiliate clinical assistant professor of Clinical Biomedical Science at Florida Atlantic University.


Dr. Juan and Theresa Martinez


  • The Boca Raton-based Levitetz Family Foundation was founded in 2011 to make a difference in the lives of people around the world. Today, the foundation works with more than 50 local, national, and international nonprofit organizations to support children, families, veterans, athletes, and animals.


Drs. Daniel Chan, Diana Martinez, and Juan C. Martinez

 

The Levitetz Family Foundation has provided philanthropic support to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation as it expands the Conine Clubhouse, a home away from home where families can stay for free while a child is hospitalized. In addition to helping children and families in times of medical crisis, the nonprofit assists with dog rescues and adoptions, supports local food banks, contributes to scientific research, provides scholarships and mentorship to students, built eight schools in Jamaica and Honduras, and flown veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor. It has donated more than $12.5 million to support the missions of organizations that include the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, ARC Broward, Humane Society of Broward County, Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, USA Wrestling, and the United States Paralympic Team, among many others.


Kevin Janser, Brett Rose, Yochanon Klein, and Scott Wester

 

The Memorial Foundation (www.mhs.net/about/foundation) and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation (www.jdch.com/about/foundation) raise funds philanthropically to assist patients, families, and to underwrite the cost of programs, facilities, and equipment within the Memorial Healthcare System.

 

To learn more or make a donation, please call 954.265.3454 or visit them online.


By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Michael Hopkins Photo

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