SPCA Florida Receives Banfield Foundation COVID-19 Grant



Lakeland FL – SPCA Florida was awarded a $5,000 Banfield Foundation COVID-19 Grant for “veterinary assistance expenses”. The Banfield Foundation believes every owned pet deserves a forever home with continued medical care.


The Banfield Foundation Grant will save the lives of owned and loved animals who would otherwise not receive medical care. Funding will be used for owned pets whose families qualify financially for the veterinary assistance program. Qualifying criteria include valid proof of government assistance in the form of food stamps, WIC, Disability, or SSI. SPCA Florida is grateful for the opportunity to give our communities animals a long life of unconditional love with the families who care for them.


For more information, visit SPCA Florida Animal Hospital at spcamedical.org or call 863/646-4647.


About Banfield Foundation

At the core of the Banfield Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the belief that all pets deserve access to veterinary care. In support of this belief, the foundation funds programs that enable veterinary care, elevate the power of the human-animal bond, provide disaster relief for pets, and advance the science of veterinary medicine through fostering innovation and education. It also leverages the expertise and passion of Banfield Pet Hospital associates to care for pets in need. At the Banfield Foundation, we are committed to making a better world for pets because they make a better world for us.



About SPCA Florida

Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Lakeland, serving all of Polk County and the surrounding communities. Dedicated to improving the lives of pets and people, SPCA Florida provides caring, compassion and hope to more than 4,300 homeless animals entering our doors each year.

 Open to the public, our Reva McClurg Animal Medical Center is a state-of-the-art veterinary facility that heals and helps 50,000 patients annually. Thousands more pets and people are served through our community outreach and education programs.

 Simplistically, every $100 donated to SPCA Florida, or essentially the cost of an average adoption, equates to $3,000 worth of positive economic impact throughout Polk County, Central Florida, and the state.  Additionally, we are proud of the fact that 92% of every dollar goes to program resources and helping homeless animals.



Achievement Academy Honors Staff Members

LAKELAND, FL (May 26, 2020) – Achievement Academy staff members were honored by their colleagues Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Grace Doran, a Lakeland teacher, was honored as Teacher of the Year.  Doran has been a teacher for 34 years, the past 11 years employed at the Achievement Academy.  This recognition was especially memorable as she recently announced her retirement scheduled for the end of this school year.  Doran’s classroom consists of ten students and two paraprofessionals. The small class size is important as a large number of her students are considered medically fragile.  Some of her students have frequent seizures and a few of her students are fed through a gastrostomy tube (G-tube).  Through it all, the unflappable Doran manages her classroom with calm and grace.  “Achievement Academy’s mission and commitment to children and their families, has been my passion throughout my teaching career, and the rewards I gain are from seeing these children blossom,” states Doran.

The Development Department, including Stacy Williams-Myers, CFRE, Development Director, Ashlee Cofer, Development Coordinator, and Marivette Aguilera, Development Assistant, was awarded the Support Department of the Year.  The recipient’s dedication to “go above and beyond” with such optimistic attitudes are recognized and celebrated.

About the Achievement Academy

The Achievement Academy serves children from birth through age five with various developmental delays and disabilities. The Achievement Academy offers two programs, each provided at no cost to the child or family. The first program is a Charter School that offers specialized instruction by certified teachers; small class sizes; individual speech, occupational and physical therapies; and assistive technologies that enable each student to reach his or her full potential at one of the Achievement Academy’s three campus locations (Lakeland, Winter Haven and Bartow). The second is a Birth to Three Program that provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers who are “at-risk” for developmental delays and/or have been identified with a specific delay. Professional Early Interventionists serve these children and their families.




LAKELAND (May 20, 2020) – Florida Southern College will implement a test-optional admissions policy for students who are considering enrolling for the spring and fall 2021 terms. This move is intended to assist students facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the cancellation of standardized testing dates.

“Given the uncertainty of when and how testing may be administered, we think this is appropriate to meet students’ needs,” said John Grundig, vice president for enrollment management. “Additionally, strong academic talent and potential may not always be reflected in standardized test scores. Students who perform well inside the classroom and demonstrate strong involvement and character outside of it are frequently just as likely to be successful in college.”

As an alternative to submitting test scores, applicants will instead submit a written response to an essay question related to their academic strengths, personal and professional development, unique skills and talents, and the overall impact they believe they can make as a part of the Florida Southern community. Additional factors to be considered for admission to FSC include recommendations, co-curricular activities, community involvement, writing ability, and other academic and personal achievements.

Florida Southern will provide equal consideration for students who choose not to submit standardized test scores as it does for those who do. In both cases, the review process is a holistic one, with a student’s high school transcript being the most important part of any evaluation.


About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, nursing, and physical therapy. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the top 10 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; and is included in The Princeton Review’s 385 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2020, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society. FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.


Lakeland Regional Health Team Member News

Lakeland, FL – Lakeland Regional Health has the following good news to share:


Monasmith_GloriaGloria Monasmith, LCSW, joins Lakeland Regional Health as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, seeing patients at the Grasslands Campus. Ms. Monasmith sees children above 8 years old, adolescents, adults and families for individual or group counseling services. Most recently serving as a Family Therapist for NAFI in Lakeland, Ms. Monasmith has significant experience working with adjustment disorders, mood disorders, addiction, trauma, parenting and grief. She also is specially trained to assist first responders with resiliency and behavioral health coping strategies. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Southeastern University in Lakeland and her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Florida in Tampa.


Davis_EllenEllen Davis, PA-C, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Trauma and Acute Care Physician Assistant at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. She earned her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa. Ms. Davis is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.


Wazzan_OmarOmar M. Wazzan, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Neurologist. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Aleppo Medical School in Aleppo, Syria. Dr. Wazzan completed his Residency in Neurology at University Hospital & Clinics, University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. He completed his Fellowship in Electromyography at Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. He most recently served as a Neurohospitalist for Advent Health in Ocala, Florida. Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Neurology, Dr. Wazzan sees patients at the Pablo Campus.


Trivedi_DipaliDipali Trivedi, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Hematologic Oncologist, seeing patients at the North Campus/Hollis Cancer Center. Dr. Trivedi earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. She completed her Residency in Internal Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and her Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, both located in Atlanta, Georgia. She most recently served in private practice in Volusia and Seminole counties in Florida. She is certified by the Board of Internal Medicine in Medical Oncology and Hematology.


Weisman_MarkMark Weisman, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Psychiatrist seeing patients at the Grasslands Campus. Dr. Weisman earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and completed his Residency in Psychiatry at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He specializes in treating patients experiencing mood disorders, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress and dementias. Dr. Weisman is also an expert in the field of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for the treatment of depression.


Hsu_Kevin_2Kevin Hsu, DO, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, seeing patients at the Grasslands Campus. Dr. Hsu earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. He completed his Residency in Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/Drexel Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. He also completed Fellowship training in Rhinology at St. Elizabeth Medical Center/Tufts University in Brighton, Massachusetts. He most recently served as the Section Chief of Otolaryngology at Elliot Hospital Medical Staff Services in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Otolaryngology/Facial Plastic Surgery and specializes in comprehensive evaluation of child and adult nasal/oral airway obstruction using the latest minimally invasive sinus techniques.