SFHEF Announces Board of Directors Election Results
The votes have been counted. The South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum is pleased to announce that the following healthcare professionals have joined the 2015 Board of Directors:
President – Elect
Rene Zipper, FACHE
Rene Zipper has been with Press Ganey and Associates since 2009, as the National Director of Mid-Market. Rene has had other leadership roles in the healthcare industry with companies such as Hill-Rom, Johnson and Johnson and General Electric (GE) Medical division.
Rene’s undergraduate degree is in Finance and Marketing from the University of Miami and she has her MBA in Healthcare from Florida International University.
Rene is a published contributing author of a book titled: “Corporate Bold.” Rene also has her Six Sigma Green Belt certification. Rene is a Fellow Designate of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Rene is the founding president of the Miami chapter of the National Association for Female Executives. Currently, Rene is the past President of the Women Healthcare Executive Network. Rene has been active with the South Florida Healthcare Executive Network for the last 6 years, and is on the board as the chair of the Education Committee. Rene is committed to serve our local healthcare community.
Rene lives in Weston, Florida with her husband Adam and her 15 year old son Jacob and Miniature Labradoodle, Blaze.
Thomas Sebastian is a determined healthcare professional committed to enhancing the quality of care given to patients receiving services from healthcare organizations. His devotion and will to excel has always encouraged others to have a positive influence over the outcomes they produce in the workplace.
During Thomas’ collegiate years, he volunteered at the VA Outpatient Clinic and several Assisted Living facilities. Thomas’ experiences allowed him to explore many career prospects in the healthcare field; however, he did not make a career choice during college until he met Dr. Dennis Palkon, Director of the Health Administration Graduate Program at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Palkon is an incredible academician who taught Thomas about the non-clinical dimension of healthcare where professionals can improve efficiency within organizations by using interpersonal skills, analytics and business acumen. After this life changing realization, Thomas finished his Bachelors in Biological Sciences from Florida International University and decided to join the Masters of Health Administration program at Florida Atlantic University as well as the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Immediately after joining this Master’s Program, Thomas began an internship at the Palm Beach County Medical Society (PBCMS) where he focused on researching the “Triple Aim” Care Model. The “Triple Aim” is a healthcare model that promotes population health by focusing on three goals: improving patient outcomes, the patient experience and reducing costs. After graduating with his Masters, Thomas was hired full-time by PBCMS to develop a Care Team at JFK Internal Medicine and the HealthCare District Clinics for the purposes of identifying their high-risk diabetic patient group and coordinating two-hour Diabetes Education Sessions at these Clinics. Thomas made several mark achievements during his employment at this organization including: (1) designing a Patient Flow Model that allows patients to navigate through a “Triple Aim” Care Model at these Clinics (2) recruiting 35 high-risk diabetic patients to provide motivational interviewing so patients feel empowered and instill behavioral changes within themselves to improve their health, and (3) training other Care Coordinators on how to show health metric improvement trends by extrapolating information from discharge plans, clinical summaries and lipid panel results.
Moving forward, Thomas would like to receive the ultimate credential in healthcare management by becoming a Fellow of The American College of Healthcare Executives. This prestigious credential will allow Thomas to gain a position where he can influence other healthcare executives who share the same passion he does. This credential will serve as the stepping-stone in Thomas’ professional career and life, allowing him to change the lives of people for the better.
Ramona Lacy, CPA, FACHE
I have been a member of ACHE for nine years as I find it the single best organization for my continuous education. I was recently inducted as a Fellow with ACHE in March of 2013. Over the past two years, I have really enjoyed acquainting myself with the other Board and Chapter members, as I have learned the ins and outs of how the organization is run.
I have a Bachelors of Science degree from Louisiana Tech University, a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) from Emory University and I am a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). My professional career over the last 20+ years as a Healthcare Consultant has been helping hospitals improve their financial performance by reducing expenses in workforce and non-labor/supply chain, and enhancing net revenue. I was a Partner at Arthur Andersen until their demise and then had the opportunity to join a boutique firm, Wellspring Partners, as one of the owners. We sold to a larger company a few years ago and I remained with the new firm for several years. Since January 2013 I have been with Prism Healthcare Partners LTD as one of the founding Managing Partners. Since inception we have had nearly 50 projects so far with hospitals and health systems. Our focus is on financial and clinical performance improvement.
Juan Awad is the Administrative Project Manager of South Miami Hospital with responsibilities over physician contracts, physician relations, concierge cervices, the hospitalist group, and administrative projects pertaining business operations.
By working in the health care industry for over seven years, Juan has had the opportunity to experience and be exposed to different health systems, to escalate within the various organizations, and to take on greater responsibilities, from clinical to administrative areas.
In 2011, Juan was awarded by the local chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives for his outstanding service and dedication as a Program Committee Member. In 2012, he was appointed member-at-large to represent this prominent chapter. He is now a member of the Advisory Council for the Barry University Faculty of Health Services Administration.
Juan is a graduate of the Florida International University with a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration. He completed his Administrative Fellowship and training at Baptist Health South Florida in 2009. Additionally, he attended the Dynamic Management Executive Program at Duke University in 2011.
Hugo A. Ramirez was born in San Jose, Costa Rica and came to the United States in 1987. Mr. Ramirez has always had a passion for healthcare and a knack for business. This is the reason he chose to study Health Service Administration. Hugo attended Florida International University from 2006 to 2008. During his educational career, Hugo had the opportunity to be taught by reputable leaders in healthcare such as, Dr. Nancy Borkowski, Alexandra Johnson, Ralph Rios, and Salvador Barbera. During this time he was lucky enough to work in a solo practitioner’s office where he was able to apply and understand first hand administrative methods in healthcare. After graduating from Florida International University in 2008, Hugo continued to work at the same practice until the physician retired in 2010. At that time Hugo decided it was time to go back to school and continue his education. In 2011 Hugo enrolled in Barry University Andreas School of Business where he pursued an MBA with a specialization in Health Service Administration. Due to his deep interest and passion for healthcare and business, Hugo believed this would be the best approach for higher learning and preparation. At Barry University, Hugo took classes in International Business, Technology, Information Systems, Entrepreneurship, Economics and Health Care Law to name a few. During his time at Barry University, Hugo had the honor of being published in Miami-Dade Health Department “Healthy Stories” book and became a member of Delta Tau Alpha Honor Society. Currently Hugo continues to work on increasing his business skills by attending the Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate Program at Florida International University, while being employed as Practice Manager for a multi-doctor corporation.
Alexandru Visan, MD
As the Founder and CEO of Executive Cortex Consulting, Dr. Alexandru Visan is dedicated to the development and implementation of progressive healthcare solutions for modern medical practice, based on hybrid healthcare and business administration analytics.
His major areas of interest are strategic business development, application of six sigma techniques to improve revenue cycle management and provision of innovative professional development programs suited for modern healthcare delivery.
Dr. Visan believes in highly customized, creative and efficient strategic plans for his business clients that wish to radically improve their practice delivery models and revenues. He is well known to be a promoter of sustainable long-term business solutions, which demand continuous quality improvement programs and training providers to become adapted to a dynamic healthcare economics environment, as well as delivering high quality medical care.
During his previous tenure as Medical Director of the Regional Anesthesia Division at University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Visan was actively involved in developing a well-organized regional anesthesiology and acute pain management program, as well as improving operating room workflows and clinical enterprise efficiency.
Dr. Visan has served as Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology on the faculty of University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Miami.
He earned his Executive MBA, with a specialization in Health Sector Management and Policy at the University of Miami Business School, as well as his Six Sigma certification. He completed his residency and a fellowship in regional anesthesiology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. His medical degree was completed in Europe, while serving as the President and Co-Founder of a private company, with focus on commercial and industrial real estate analysis, as well as business and project development.
Michelle Foris Marsh is the vice president of strategic planning for Broward Health. In her role, she provides strong operational leadership through the development, execution and maintenance of a comprehensive strategic planning process to achieve system goals. Her responsibilities include administration and communication of short- and long-term strategic plans, business and market development and market research and planning.
Ms. Marsh received a Bachelor of Science from Penn State University with a major in Health Policy and Administration and a minor in Business. She has a Masters of Health Services and Administration from George Washington University with a focus on Strategic Planning and Marketing.
Her professional memberships include the American College of Healthcare Executives, where she currently is a Board member of the local chapter – The South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum, Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, and Florida Society for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing.
Ms. Marsh involves herself in many charitable organizations such as March of Dimes, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Hispanic Unity of South Florida, Gilda’s Club of South Florida, Alzheimer’s Association and Susan G. Komen.
Karina LaConcha-Perez has worked within the Memorial Healthcare System for over 11 years of combined healthcare setting experience in Medical Records, Health Information Management, Physician Practices, Patient Grievances, and Representation of the Administrative Department. She received an MBA in Healthcare and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification from Florida International University. Karina has been active with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) since 2011 and currently volunteers on the Program Committee for the South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum (SFHEF). She also is a member of the Board of Directors 2013, Elect-Chair, Education Committee for Women's Healthcare Executive Network (WHEN).
Karina cultivates and maintains excellence by communicating openly and building strong relationship and remaining approachable at all levels. She demonstrates commitment by seeking out and embracing all learning opportunities to strengthen efficiency and effectiveness within the organization and community.
Eli Karlin, MD
Dr. Eli H. Karlin is an accomplished, goal-driven professional who is also the founder of Elixer LLC; an international healthcare consulting and analytics company. Eli’s professional background includes hands on involvement with near field communications technology, high net worth investor relations and multiple healthcare publications. Eli received his M.D. from AGU School of Medicine and in the process of completing his Healthcare MBA at Florida International University.
While actively pursuing opportunities in the advancement of healthcare, he also volunteers his time working to empower youth and their families through physical activity and nutrition education as well as guest lecturing on the business of healthcare.
Ronald J. Goff, FACHE
With more than 25 years experience, Mr. Goff has developed and held high-level operating, sales, and marketing positions with a variety of high-growth healthcare businesses across the U.S. and Europe, including MDexchange, NES Healthcare, PhysicianOne Medical Management, and Andrx Pharmaceuticals. Throughout his career he has been noted for his success in building both product and contract service businesses with multi-state locations, managing multiple sales teams and marketing initiatives and building strategic partnerships with large hospital systems, multi-specialty practices and outpatient centers. Mr. Goff graduated from the University of Maryland and earned his Master's in Business from the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Goff is also a former U.S. Marine.
In more than 4 decades of achievement, Mr. Felix has demonstrated a wide-ranging expertise that includes business strategy, corporate finance management, labor relations and negotiations, management development and leadership, commercial real estate management, brand and image development, and government and regulatory affairs.
Charles Felix is the owner and publisher of South Florida Hospital News & Healthcare Report, a publication he founded in 2004. Within just one year of operation, the 40-page monthly newspaper quickly established itself as the premiere chronicle of the healthcare industry in South Florida. It now represents the only monthly healthcare newspaper available in South Florida.
A certified public accountant (CPA) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF). Mr. Felix earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in public accounting, from Bernard Baruch College in New York City. Mr. Felix’s early career focused on commercial real estate management, specializing in multi-family construction and management in the Southeast.
Active within both his profession and community, Mr. Felix has participated in numerous organizations and activities, and is presently on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association and the South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum, and is the President of the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale.
The 2015 Board of Directors will be installed at the South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum's Annual Dinner on January 22 at the Signature Grand in Davie.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 13:51
Message from Your ACHE Regent: Fall 2014
The year has truly flown by and healthcare continues to reshape itself in the various marketplaces in Eastern Florida. Our chapters have also been very active this quarter and offering our members educational face to face hours and a lineup of excellent speakers and topics. We also are in the window for elections in committees and officers. As you read this please engage your chapter if you have interest in any of these positions. Your talent and expertise are much appreciated as we all grow professionally and build our relationships and networks to get the job of healthcare done. Well done. I want to congratulate all of our Eastern Florida members for your commitment to ACHE, chapters and our communities.
At the annual Florida Hospital Association meeting, we recognized several members for their hard work and contributions to the chapters. John Martin from the ACHE of Central Florida Chapter has been a mainstay in building strong relationships between the chapter and the University. He stepped up to the plate and forged new opportunities for our students and the chapter members. Cami Leech Florio, FACHE from the Treasure Coast Healthcare Executive Network Chapter has worked tirelessly in the astute planning and execution of programming events. We have a couple more Regent's Awards to present for our South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum members in January 2015.
I also want to recognize the ACHE of Central Florida Chapter for earning one of ACHE’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion. The training, scheduled events and contributions of its diverse group has promoted diversity for the chapter and ACHE. Thanks to the ACHE of Central Florida members and to all of our chapters for promoting greater awareness and diversity among members and in our communities.
Just a few weeks ago we celebrated Veterans' Day. I want to thank all of veterans for your service to our nation and in protecting and safeguarding our way of life. Thanks Veterans! And we celebrated Thanksgiving Day around family and friends. What a great country. Please remember to be safe and to enjoy your families. All the best for the upcoming holiday seasons and a new year, 2015!
Keith W. Gallagher, FACHE
Regent for Florida - Eastern
Memorial Hospital Pembroke
Last Updated on Friday, 05 December 2014 15:52
Annually, SFHEF awards two $500 Scholarships to Healthcare Management students, one Graduate and one Undergraduate. The application for the scholarship to eligible students is available during the Spring of every year.
Congratulations to this year's Scholarship Recipients!
In the graduate category, the recipient is Dawn de la Vega, a student in FAU's Graduate Nursing Program working towards her MSN in Administrative and Financial Leadership
In the undergraduate category, the scholarship awardee is Marlie Garcia, also a student at FAU, who will be receiving her BS in Healthcare Administration.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2014 08:39
The American College of Healthcare Executives’ Job Center is a complimentary online resource designed to bring together the right candidate and the right job. It is a member only resource for job seekers, but is open to both member and non-member employers interested in listing positions. The Job Center features more than 2,300 position listings with nearly 4,000 active job seekers and was enhanced in early 2013 to include many new features.
Job seekers now benefit from improved search functionality, new job notification options, enhanced job detail pages, and a mobile-friendly version. Employers can utilize new job activity information reports, options to upload a company logo to appear on job listings, and resume alerts to notify you when new candidates meet your criteria.
We hope you make use of this popular ACHE resource. We are especially interested in increasing the number of early careerist opportunities, as launching a career in today’s competitive healthcare management marketplace presents challenges for many of our early career members.
To take a look at the ACHE Job and Resume Bank click ACHE-JobBank.
If you have further questions, contact Marisol Santiago at
or (312) 424-9446.
Last Updated on Friday, 18 July 2014 11:19
Benefits of Membership with South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum
As a member of South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum, you will have access to important resources such as:
- Online membership directory
- National job listings
- FACHE study group
- ACHE category I education credit
- Educational programs on timely healthcare topics
- Online discussion forum
- Interaction with community healthcare leaders
- Networking with peers and colleagues
If you are not a current ACHE affiliate, we encourage you to JOIN TODAY.
Non-members are welcome to attend chapter events. If you would like to be added to the chapter's non-member mailing list to be notified of future programs and events, please send an email to the
Check us out on:
Last Updated on Monday, 19 May 2014 10:25