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Circle of Friends Luncheon Recognizes Memorial and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundations Award Winners

The nonprofits work together to raise funds through philanthropy.

At the 24th annual Circle of Friends luncheon, the Memorial and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundations acknowledged five individuals and a family foundation for their professional excellence, community service and dedication to the Memorial Healthcare System. Each honoree was celebrated for their outstanding contributions during the event at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

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

“All the award winners have had a positive impact on their profession, our community, and Memorial Healthcare System,” says 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, from Davie, played a pivotal role at Memorial Healthcare System for 12 years, holding the position of chief community officer most recently. During her tenure, she significantly impacted the transformation of the primary care initiative, advocating for equal levels of exceptional service and care for all patients, irrespective of their financial situations. Akiti also played a crucial role in establishing programs to provide resources to address social determinants of health. Moreover, she worked to enhance access to maternal health services for women in black and brown communities. She spearheaded the “One City at a Time” initiative to bring healthcare services directly to underserved communities in convenient locations.
  • Dr. Daniel Chan, based in Fort Lauderdale, holds the positions of 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. Additionally, he serves as the medical director of Joint Replacement at Cypress Creek Outpatient Surgical Center, which is the highest-volume orthopedic ambulatory surgical center in South Florida. Dr. Chan was pivotal in establishing and expanding Memorial’s orthopedic 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 says. “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.”
  • After experiencing the overwhelming impact of cancer within their own family, Yochanon Klein and his wife, Esther, established Healing Hearts in Hollywood. The nonprofit organization supports families during medical crises by providing meals, housing, referrals, counseling, and other essential services. Additionally, Rabbi Klein dedicates his time to volunteering as a chaplain at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Miami Children’s Hospital, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Mount Sinai Hospital.
  • Since joining Memorial Healthcare System in 2013, Diana Martinez, MD, has made significant strides in pediatric neurology. In just two years, she has doubled the number of full-time physicians and added five advanced practice providers to the department. Under her leadership, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has introduced an epilepsy program with three dedicated epileptologists to provide comprehensive care for children with intractable epilepsy, offering monitoring, medications, and surgical procedures. Dr. Martinez has also brought in a pediatric neurologist specializing in fetal neonatal neurology, a rare specialty not commonly found in children’s hospitals, and is currently working on establishing a neurodevelopmental program for children with autism and other developmental disorders. “I have an amazing team of professionals, and there is not one person that I would not trust with my own child.”
  • Juan C. Martinez, MD, has devoted his professional life to caring for children with lung-related illnesses and conditions during his 21-year tenure at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. He is the chief of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, the medical director of the hospital’s sleep disorder and cystic fibrosis centers, and the chief of staff. Dr. Martinez’s leadership has led to the national accreditation of the cystic fibrosis center and the pulmonary team’s seamless transition of patients into adulthood. The program has received the Outstanding Partner Award from the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation twice and is actively involved in CF research. Additionally, for over a decade, Dr. Martinez has been an affiliate clinical assistant professor of Clinical Biomedical Science at Florida Atlantic University.
  • The Levitetz Family Foundation, based in Boca Raton and established in 2011, aims to positively impact lives worldwide. Collaborating with over 50 local, national, and international nonprofit organizations, the foundation focuses on aiding children, families, veterans, athletes, and animals. It has extended philanthropic assistance to the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation for expanding the Conine Clubhouse, which offers complimentary lodging to families while a child is undergoing medical treatment. Beyond healthcare support, the foundation also engages in dog rescues, aids local food banks, contributes to scientific research, provides scholarships and mentorship to students, constructed eight schools in Jamaica and Honduras, and organizes trips for veterans to visit memorials in Washington, D.C. Its contributions have exceeded $12.5 million and have benefited organizations such as 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 others.

The Memorial Foundation and the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation collaborate to raise funds through philanthropy. These funds aid patients and their families and support various programs, facilities, and equipment within the Memorial Healthcare System.

Photo credit: Michael Hopkins Photo

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.