Making Their Mark
A Healthy Outlook
Miami Dade College provides a superior foundation for graduates in any field, including those who have been meeting South Florida’s health care needs through their outstanding leadership skills and passion for helping others.
Health care executives from some of the region’s top hospitals proudly claim MDC as the place where they took the first steps on their paths to success – the place where a new world of possibilities became available to them.
Vehicle For Success
“Right after high school, I was very unclear on what path my career would take,” said Doctors Hospital CEO Nelson Lazo. The Coral Gables hospital is an affiliate of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest nonprofit, faith-based healthcare organization in the region. “MDC was a vehicle for me to enter college life and gave me the opportunity to understand what my passion was going to be.”
Lazo, a 2010 inductee in MDC’s Alumni Hall of Fame, credits involved professors and advisors with helping guide him in the right direction to pursue a business degree.
“If I had gone into a four-year school, I might have spun my wheels,” said Lazo, who originally thought he wanted to study marine biology. “It could have been very discouraging for me and not given me the amount of insight I needed to pursue the right path. MDC was a stepping stone into business and my future career goals.”
The diversity of students and experiences offered at MDC gave him confidence and opened his eyes to different ways of thinking, he said.
“Never in my wildest imagination when I was 17 years old did I think I was going to be the CEO of a major hospital in South Florida,” Lazo said. “The groundwork was laid at Miami Dade College. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Another alumnus grateful for opportunities offered at MDC is Albert Maury, president of Leon Medical Center Health Plans.
“I did not have the opportunity of going away to school,” said Maury, who was already a dad and working full time. “I knew at MDC I could get a great education at an affordable price, at times when I was free to attend classes, in locations that were convenient.”
Having the greatest impact on his career was the real-world learning he experienced in his courses, with lessons he could relate to and textbook examples he then actually encountered outside his classes. He also remembers fondly his speech professor, who provided him with skills he would need the rest of his life.
“He taught me how to be better at any public-speaking engagement,” Maury said. “At the time, I had no experience in this, but later on in life, his teachings have helped me a great deal.”
Over the years, an MDC education has become a family legacy, with both his wife and eldest daughter pursuing education degrees at the College. “Miami Dade College gave me the foundation that was needed in my life,” he said, “and I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to attend MDC.”
Maury also tips his hat to MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, whom he credits for making the College the successful and nationally renowned institution it is today.
“He’s had a lot of help, but if it hadn’t been for his vision, his tenacity to get things done, I don’t think Miami Dade College would be what it is,” Maury said. “MDC’s footprint is his. As a community, we should be very grateful to him.”
Proven Track Record
Like her colleagues, the decision to attend MDC was a no-brainer for Ana Mederos, CEO of Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah. She remembers being grateful for the flexibility and convenience offered when she enrolled as a student. It gave her the ability to work full time and still pursue her degree without having to be a “traditional, Monday-through-Friday student.”
Mederos was considering a future in accounting until a professor in her anatomy class offered life-changing advice by suggesting that she consider MDC’s nursing program.
“It was the best decision of my life,” said Mederos, who climbed the industry ladder and has since been recognized with the Health Care Provider of the Year Award from the Hialeah Chamber of Commerce as well as the Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Public Services.
Her fondness for MDC extends to both the classes and instructors. “They were excellent,” she said. “They really engaged the students and gave you the opportunity to ask questions and be interactive.”
There’s no question in her mind that Miami Dade College turns out highly skilled graduates prepared to become leaders in any industry.
“Just look at all the people who have graduated over the years from MDC and what they have achieved – from neurosurgeons to bank presidents,” Mederos said. “MDC has proved over and over that it provides a wonderful foundation for success.”
Health Care Leaders
Numerous distinguished health care executives began their successful careers at MDC, including:
- Marcio C. Cabrera, Managing Director, MBF Healthcare Partners
- Cheryl Coleman, CEO, Abundant Living Health and Wellness Services
- Joseph L. Caruncho, CEO and Co-Founder, Preferred Care Partners, Inc.
- Georgina Díaz, Chief Operating Officer, Palmetto General Hospital
- Hugo González, Chief Medical Officer, Sister Emmanuel Hospital
- Marisel Losa, President and CEO, Health Council of South Florida Inc.
- Dr. Jack J. Michel, President and Chairman of the Board, Larkin Community Hospital
- Carlos A. Migoya, President and CEO, Jackson Health System
- Anthony Palumbo, CEO, Hospice of Citrus County
- Justo Luis Pozo, President, Preferred Care Partners, Inc.
- Paul A. Rothman, President, Prestige Health Choice
- Frank V. Sacco, President and CEO, Memorial Healthcare System