South Floridians Honored For Community Impact
Healthcare Awards Reward Excellence, Service, Commitment, Generosity and Leadership
Five individuals and a couple married for more than 60 years were recently honored by the Memorial and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundations at the 20th annual Circle of Friends luncheon held at the Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood.
“Santa” Ed Braxl, Dr. Allan Greissman, Anthony Krayer, Chantal Leconte, and Dr. Scott Oxenhandler were named “Spirit of Healing” award winners for professional excellence, community service, and a commitment to the Memorial Healthcare System. The contributions of Judith and Robert Cornfeld were recognized with the “Wasie Philanthropic Leadership” award for fundraising generosity and guidance.
“Our award winners are difference makers in the community,” said Stu Siegel, board chair of the Memorial and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundations. “They have consistently dedicated their efforts to making South Florida a better place.”
- “Santa” Ed Braxl, a Plantation resident, has been greeting kids and families at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for more than 25 years. He collects toys, hosts events, and was the Broward Sheriff’s Office “Humanitarian of the Year” in 2016. “I have six kids and seven grandchildren. Other than when the babies were born or routine stuff, not one of them has ever been in the hospital. Not for one night. So I’m driven. I have to do this,” the Santa Claus lookalike says of his volunteer work.
- Lighthouse Point’s Allan Greissman is a pediatric critical care physician and administrator of the Division of Hospitalist Medicine at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. He says working with critically-ill kids provides the opportunity to have the greatest impact. “You see everything in every age group and every day is different. We’ll have a two-day-old with a congenital heart defect who needs open-heart surgery, an 18-year-old with bad scoliosis, a seven-day-old with breathing problems, and a 16-year-old who’s been diagnosed with leukemia. You have to be able to take charge and have no fear.” During a professional career in South Florida that spans nearly 25 years, Dr. Greissman has held numerous leadership positions at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, been chief of the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Hospital West and attending physician at Plantation General Hospital.
- The Memorial Healthcare System is one of the largest (by revenue) public healthcare systems in the U.S., thanks in no small part to the efforts of Tony Krayer. The Hollywood resident spent more than 15 years serving MHS in a variety of capacities, including executive vice president and chief administrative officer, interim CEO at two hospitals, and chief corporate affairs director. In each position, Krayer was dedicated to ensuring that the healthcare system rested on a firm foundation, one that enabled it to create its nationally recognized culture of transparency, teamwork and trust. “You have to have a revenue stream to support anything you do. Once our financial stability was achieved, we shifted from financial to quality and cultural issues and the rest fell into place.”
- Chantal Leconte, of Boca Raton, came to the Memorial Healthcare System in 2011, after a long career as a nurse and administrator at hospitals in New York and Florida. Beginning her MHS career as an associate administrator at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, she then moved to the CEO’s role at Memorial Hospital Pembroke before returning to the children’s hospital in the same capacity. In each position, she followed the advice of one of her mentors, Dr. Harry Moon. “He said, ‘Chantal, to be a good leader, you don’t have to know everything. You just have to support other people and create an environment and a vision to help them be the best.’" Leconte is retiring this summer but plans to stay involved in healthcare. “I want to teach young leaders at the university level how they can contribute to the healing process. I believe that healing is holistic, and it goes beyond a patient’s condition itself. Even if you’re not at the bedside, if you can support the people who touch the patients, you’re helping others to heal.”
- Dr. Scott Oxenhandler, of Cooper City, has always had a passion to serve people and improve the practice of medicine. A recent example involved Memorial Healthcare Systems transition from paper-based to electronic health records, a project Dr. Oxenhandler was instrumental in helping physicians with as chief medical information officer from 2010 to 2016. “The flow of information is critical for patient care,” said the specialist in internal medicine. “You get the full picture of everything happening with each patient and because the system presents physicians with the latest evidence-based care recommendations, it helps them keep up with the information they need to make decisions about treatment plans.” Since 2016, Oxenhandler has served as medical director for the Memorial Physician Group’s Division of Internal Medicine and he is also assistant program director of the internal medicine residency program that is part of the healthcare system’s Graduate Medical Education initiative.
- Judith and Robert Cornfeld celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary by cutting the ribbon on the Judith and Robert Cornfeld Emergency Department at Memorial Regional Hospital. “Judy and I could think of no better way to honor our 60 wonderful years of marriage than by giving back to our local hospital, Memorial, which has powerfully served our family and community for decades,” Dr. Cornfeld said at the dedication. The Hollywood residents have generously supported a variety of healthcare-related causes and their philanthropic spirit has always focused on the improving the quality of life in South Florida. “My parents believe that a community is only as healthy as its people,” said Susanne Cornfeld Hurowitz, one of the couple’s three children. “Our family has always been proud of our association with Memorial because it makes tremendous contributions to the well-being of the citizens of Broward County. Its mission to heal the body, mind and spirit of everyone it touches is firmly intertwined with our values of family and health, which, as my parents say, are the two most important things in life.”