All posts by Cory Skeates


St. Leo Invites Citizens to Attend Information Sessions

Please join St. Leo University at the Lakeland Education Center Information Sessions.

The Lakeland Education Center offers flexible class schedules, affordable tuition, outstanding faculty and an environment tailored to busy adult students. Whether you’re finishing a degree or starting a new program to enhance your career, Saint Leo is where YOU belong.

Choice of Information Sessions:
Wednesday – December 13, 10am – 4pm
1144 W. Griffin Road, Lakeland, FL 33805

Thursday – December 14, 5pm – 8pm
Family Fundamentals
1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33805


Visit us at one of the information session locations to learn more about Saint Leo’s degrees of all education levels at the Lakeland Education Center:

  • FREE Cocoa and cookies for holiday enjoyment
  • 1:1 time with your Admission Counselor
  • Facts about financial aid & scholarships
  • Instant review for admission when you bring an unofficial transcript
  • Fee waiver for on-site applications

RSVP with the link above or by calling the Lakeland Education Center at (863) 337-4900.

If you can’t make our open house, I have a dedicated team of academic advisors that would love to meet with you and help make your dream of a college degree a reality.



Sejal Shah_finalSejal Shah has joined the firm of Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. as a Senior Tax Analysist and brings with her seven years’ experience in tax compliance, financial reporting and analysis.

“Sejal’s attention to detail and ability to provide thoughtful analysis from thorough tax research adds incredible depth to our capabilities.” said HPS managing partner Steve Hamic.  “She is a valuable resource who serves our clients well.”

Sejal holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Masters of Business Administration & Finance from Gujarat University in India. Sejal has passed the uniform Certified Public Accountant examination and continues to fulfill additional requirements to obtain her Florida license.

Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. is a tax, accounting, and advisory firm that has provided personalized service in a wide range of financial environments for more than five decades. Both Steve Hamic, managing partner, and James Previte, vice president and shareholder, credit the firm’s growth to providing comprehensive compliance strategies tailored to meet their clients’ financial needs. “Tax Compliance is more than preparing filings and meeting deadlines,” said James Previte. “We continually strive to provide our clients with proactive planning and customized approaches that maximize their ability to achieve their intended goals.” Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. has offices located in Lakeland and Dade City, Florida.

For more information on Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. and a complete list of financial services offered, visit or call 863.682.5151.


Community Invited to ‘Living Well + Eating Better’ Luncheon and Dinner on Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lakeland Regional Health invites residents to jumpstart their New Year’s resolutions at two free Living Well + Eating Better community gatherings on Thursday, January 18, 2018.

Special Guest Donald Hensrud, MD, Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program Director, will motivate guests as he brings to life the essentials of The New York Times bestselling book, The Mayo Clinic Diet. Each guest will receive a complimentary copy of the hardcover book to bring home for continued use.

A special nutritious lunch will be served during the afternoon program from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and a delicious, healthy dinner will be prepared for the evening program from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. – all featuring recipes from The Mayo Clinic Diet. Lakeland Regional Health dietitians, physical therapists and community health experts will be on hand to screen guests for balance, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, body mass index and weight.

In addition, Mayo Clinic Clinical Dietitian Elizabeth Bailey, RDN, LD/N, will make a special appearance to lead breakout sessions on the best ways to apply the book’s messages to everyday life and talk one on one with guests.

71.5% of residents in Polk County are obese or overweight, according to the Florida Department of Health.

“Obesity among the youth and adults in our community continues to be a concern, as does ensuring that families have access to nutritionally adequate foods,” said Timothy J. Regan, MD, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center President and Lakeland Regional Health Chief Medical Officer. “Lakeland Regional Health is committed to providing education and wellness outside of the walls of our patient exam rooms and strengthening the health of our community.”

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Lakeland Regional Health physicians have convenient access to Mayo Clinic’s respected expertise, knowledge and resources.

Dr. Hensrud is an Associate Professor of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He writes and lectures on lifestyle and nutrition topics and has written several books, including The Mayo Clinic Diet and two award-winning cookbooks.

“Why did we write The Mayo Clinic Diet? Because you wanted it,” Dr. Hensrud writes in the book’s foreword. “Bogus Mayo Clinic diets have been circulating for decades. These diets have no connection to Mayo Clinic, but their popularity told us that people are hungry for a diet based on Mayo’s research and clinical experience.”

Those who attend the event will receive participatory gifts and enrollment in an ongoing discussion on healthy eating and active living.

To RSVP for the events, call 863.687.1400 or visit Space is limited. Deadline to RSVP is January 10.


Creating a Culture of Health

A business’s culture plays a significant role in its success. Depending on the culture at your office, you could be on the forefront of innovation or on a fast track to growth. However, let’s talk about your employee’s health. Is the wellness of your staff embedded in your culture? Outside of the obvious moral benefit to having a “culture of health,” there is also a significant monetary benefit.

Tobacco cessation is an excellent place to start. On average, employees who smoke cost your business $6,000 per year. Here is a breakdown of exactly where that money is going:



What could you do with $6,000 more dollars every year? Now multiply that by the number of smokers at your office and dream of the possibility. Now, this transition is not going to happen overnight and you WILL need help. That is exactly why Tobacco Free Polk is the proud sponsor of the Lakeland Chamber’s Smoke-Free Business Initiative.

To begin working towards a tobacco-free workplace policy, complete the Tobacco Worksite Wellness Assessment. This is a short survey that details your tobacco policy and smoking cessation options. Once your assessment has been completed, please send it to Juli Davis, the Tobacco Policy Manager at the Florida Department of Health in Polk County, at or 863-578-2157. The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will send you 2 FREE TICKETS to the Chamber’s Business After Hours!

Please contact the Tobacco Free Polk at 863-578-2157 to:

  • Assist you with any questions regarding tobacco cessation
  • Assist you in your worksite wellness assessment
  • Learn more about policy implementation at your office
  • Learn more about the free resources to help your staff quit
  • Schedule a FREE on-site cessation program at your office.

Need additional incentive to get those policies in place? Businesses that complete the assessment AND have a strong tobacco policy will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting. Here are some of the benefits for taking on a smoke-free initiative:

  1. $6,000 per year per employee that quits smoking
  2. Healthier employees as you commit to a “culture of health”
  3. Two free passes to the Chamber’s Business After Hours
  4. Potential to receive an award (and great PR) at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting
  5. FREE quit resources or your staff, including coaching over the phone, online and face-to-face as well as free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patches, lozenges or gum). Learn more at

Developing a strong culture is critical to success. However, a culture of health is oftentimes left out of the equation. Cory Skeates, President of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, shares how he feels tobacco cessation has brought improvements in the workplace,

“Aside from the well-known health benefits that come from not smoking, from a business perspective, encouraging a smoke-free workforce reduces healthcare costs, absenteeism, lost productivity and in many cases helps reduce insurance liability premiums. These are all areas that allow a business to become more efficient and profitable.”

If you’re interested in learning more about developing a “culture of health” by implementing a strong tobacco policy at your office, please reach out to Juli Davis, the Tobacco Policy Manager, at or 863-578-2157 for more information.



Members on the Move: Lakeland Regional Health Team Member News

Lakeland Regional Health has the following good news to share:

  • Aarti Patel, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Dr. Patel earned her Doctor of Medicine degree in St. Lucia. She completed both her Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and her Residency in Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Patel sees patients at the Behavioral Health Sciences location, 500 S Florida Ave, Lakeland.
  • Jasmine Weaver, DO, joins Lakeland Regional Health as a Family Medicine Physician. Dr. Weaver earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida. She completed her General Surgery Residency at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, New York. She completed her Family Practice Residency at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, New York. Certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians, Dr. Weaver sees patients at the Lake Miriam location, 4710 S Florida Ave, Lakeland.
  • Daniel Westawski, MD, FACS, joins Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center as a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. Dr. Westawski earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Jefferson Medical College. He completed his Residency in General Surgery at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Pennsylvania. He completed a Fellowship in Plastic Surgery at the University of Utah Hospital and a Fellowship in Hand and Microsurgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Westawski is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery and specializes in female and male breast surgery and inpatient and outpatient cosmetic procedures.