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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

Jun 21, 2018
Collier County has over 65,000 children eighteen and under whose welfare and education are a major concern for all of us. Paula DiGrigoli, Executive Director of the NCH Safe and Healthy Children’s Coalition, recently organized the 2nd Annual Health and Safety Trends meeting where eighty-plus leaders from dozens of organizations shared best practices, progress, and other ways of collaborating to help our next generation.

Dr. Carmen Ramos, NCH Pediatric Surgeon, shared her research entitled, “Update on Pediatric Trauma in Collier County.”  Tragically, Collier County experienced three fatal drownings in pre-school-aged children last year but a 33% decrease in the pediatric drowning related visits to the three NCH ERs in 2017.


Director of the NCH Pediatric Emergency Department Dr. Pia Myers, Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Dr. Deb Lopez, and NCH Nurse Manager of Labor and Delivery RN Cathy Brockman emphasized our success in taking care of kids close to home, with children now needing to travel only for cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, or other rare specialty care.  Over eighteen thousand children were seen in the Robert, Mariann, and Megan MacDonald NCH Pediatric ER, representing a 5% increase from last year. 


North Collier Fire Control and Rescue Assistant Chief Jorge Aguilera shared paramedics’ training for mental health crisis, overall practice in handling children, and responding to mass violence/active shooters.


Florida Department of Health RN Donna Breeden highlighted that Collier County continues to be the 2nd healthiest of 67 Florida Counties according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  SUIDs (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) committee, Safe Kids, and Healthy Start programs continue to educate, provide resources, and have a positive effect.


Collier County Public Schools Director of Health Services Eileen Vargo and Coordinator of K-12 Health and Physical Education Tracy Bowen, who partner with many other local groups, explained their ongoing screening for vision, hearing, dental, scoliosis, and development disorders.  With NCH’s 36 school nurses and seven trainers covering all schools, 223,022 Health Room visits were completed for services ranging from minor scrapes to tube feedings.  Hands-only CPR training is now being taught in PE classes in grades 7 to 12.


Collier County Sheriff’s Office Captain John Wohlbrandt shared that lack of self-control is the greatest predictor of criminal behavior according to criminologists Gottfriedson and Hirschi.  Self-control is principally instilled through effective parenting at the earliest stages of childhood by monitoring one’s children’s behavior, noticing problematic behavior, and effectively correcting that behavior.


David Lawrence Center served 14,631 youths last year, Naples Children and Educational Foundation supported many local programs, Physicians Regional Healthcare System ER cared for drowning victims, and the Children’s Advocacy Center focused on improving the lives of abused children.  Healthcare Network of SW Florida and Blue Zones Project of SW Florida also highlighted their progress in helping children live longer, happier, and healthier lives.    


P.S.  DO YOU HAVE A COLLEAGUE OR FRIEND WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED IN UPDATES?  Please enter their email address at, and we will add them to our complimentary mailing list.  


Allen Weiss, MD

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.