Palm Healthcare Foundation honors local nurses


June 1, 2016 – West Palm Beach, FL – Palm Healthcare Foundation hosted the third annual Heart of Gold Nursing Reception on Thursday, May 12 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. to honor the extraordinary work of local nurses and recognize the county’s “Nurses of the Year.” The event concludes the foundation’s six-week Thank A Nurse campaign that asks residents to show appreciation by sharing stories of outstanding nurses in the community. Thank A Nurse is generously sponsored by Tenet Health and VITAS Healthcare.

Close to 200 guests attended the Heart of Gold Nursing Reception at the Cohen Pavilion at The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Attendees enjoyed cocktails, food and entertainment, including a nurse-inspired photo booth and Heart of Gold tribute wall. In addition to the Thank A Nurse sponsors, the Heart of Gold sponsors included TrustBridge Health, E.M. Lynn Foundation, and Keiser University.

The Mistress of Ceremonies, CBS 12 News Anchor Michele Wright, helped introduce speakers Andrea Bradley, president & CEO of Palm Healthcare Foundation, David O’Brien, chief nursing officer at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Raquel Searchwell, RN, from VITAS Healthcare, and Kathy Kino, RN, MSN a recent graduate of Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and a Palm Healthcare Foundation scholarship recipient. Wright also introduced the 16 nurses recognized as Palm Beach County’s “Nurses of the Year.” Each awardee received a gift certificate for dinner for two at one of The Breakers Palm Beach restaurant properties donated by the resort.

Highlights of the evening included a special award given to Mistress of Ceremonies Michele Wright. She received the Nursing Ambassador of Distinction Award from Palm Healthcare Foundation for her personal commitment, dedication and support of the nursing profession and the outstanding nurses of Palm Beach County. The winner of the Palm Beach Post’s write-in campaign,, was also announced in the final minutes of the event. The nurse story with the most votes was that of Christina Shovick, a hospice nurse at VITAS Healthcare. She received a gift certificate for a two-night, three-day stay at The Breakers Palm Beach donated by the resort.

The 2016 “Thank A Nurse” Nurses of the Year

• Kepler Altidor, a team nurse for VITAS Healthcare
• Gayle Barbakoff, Interim Open Heart Coordinator at JFK Medical Center
• Korey Bricker, a nursing student at Palm Beach Atlantic University
• Paula Dorhout, Regional Nursing Director at Children’s Medical Services – Department of Health
• Pamela Ellison, surgical nurse at Lakeside Medical Center Outpatient Surgery Center
• Marilyn Hadley, an antepartum nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Palm Beach Children’s Hospital
• Dr. Debra Hain, Associate Professor at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner and fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
• Barbara Highland-Lee, a perinatal nurse at West Boca Medical Center
• Eileen Pantoliano, Senior Family Nurse Consultant at Alzheimer’s Community Care
• Julie Stevens, a nurse at Trustbridge Health
• Mayda Loveland Tress, a registered nurse at Good Samaritan Medical Center
• Tom Walczak, a nurse at the C.L. Brumback Primary Care Clinic at the Senator Philip D. Lewis Homeless Center and a member of the county’s Homeless Outreach Team
• Patricia “Trish” Weaver, a parish nurse at Holy Spirit Church
• Jaclyn Youngkin, Marell Gongola, and Melissa Kearns, members of a nursing team at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center

About Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. Founded in 2001, Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. is known for solving critical healthcare issues through creative community-wide collaboration. The foundation’s “Healthier Together” initiative strives to improve the quality of life in targeted neighborhoods.

The foundation is committed to finding ways for inspired giving and thoughtful funding to generate lasting change. In fifteen years, it has invested more than $10 million to support nursing advancement, including $1 million in nursing scholarships. For more information about Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc., visit or call (561) 833-6333.