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  July Local Life  
  Community happenings in and around Central Florida.  

New Name, New Mission

During National Be Kind to Animals Week, the almost 80-year-old SPCA of Central Florida unveiled its new name and brand, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. The new name, along with a new logo and the tagline “We Speak. We heal. We care.” were all introduced at the first-ever Humane Heroes Luncheon.
The new collaborative direction for the organization follows changes in leadership that occurred late last year, with the announcement of a new executive director by the organization’s board of directors.
“We have a new mission at Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando,” says Executive Director Kerri Burns. “That mission is to save more animal lives in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, and we cannot do it alone. We need everyone who loves animals as our partners – our allies – in the welfare and well-being of dogs and cats.”
The organization is transforming the historical role of the animal shelter by more actively engaging the communities surrounding its Orlando and Sanford animal shelters and veterinary clinics with the responsibility of caring for animals.

Strengthening Families
In order to help children succeed and to make Central Florida a better place for families, Walt Disney World Resort and Heart of Florida United Way created Children’s Summit 2.0: Discover Together.
Hundreds of community leaders from various Central Florida non-profits and community service groups flocked to this event to analyze national and local research in order to strengthen the families in the community and prepare children for the future. The event was hosted at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
The day included presentations from the keynote speakers, which included Dr. Helen Hadani, lead research strategist for the Center for Childhood Creativity, and Dr. Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, vice president of research and development for the Search Institute, and small group discussions as well.

Local Center Making Advances in Robotic Surgery

Florida Hospital Nicholson Center is one step closer to making long distance surgery possible thanks to military-funded research. Several years ago, a $4.2 million grant was funded by the Department of Defense in order for the Nicholson Center to work on changing the way surgeons are learning how to perform robotic surgery.
The grant included funding not only telesurgery experiments but also the creation of the world’s first standardized robotic surgery curriculum, called the Fundamentals of Robotic Surgery. The Nicholson Center team gathered 30 robotic surgery experts from around the world, representing 17 different medical societies to create the curriculum, which after three years of collaboration, is finally published.
“The Florida Hospital Nicholson Center is taking a leadership role in a revolutionary new robotic surgery curriculum,” says Dr. Richard Satava, Professor Emeritus of Surgery at University of Washington. “Their participation in this scholarly course is a major contribution to the quality of healthcare and improving patient safety on a national and global scale."

Painting the Town Charitable
The creative hands-on art venue Painting With A Twist allows guests to create their own unique masterpiece under the direction of an artist in one session. Although this studio is focused on giving every aspiring artist a creative, fun experience, they are not losing sight of giving back to the community at the same time. Once a month Painting With A Twist hosts Painting With a Purpose, an opportunity to raise money for a local charity through painting.
“Every month, we host a fundraiser in partnership with a local charity. Painting With a Purpose allows us to give back to our own community. It’s a little bit of paint, a little bit of wine, and a whole lot of fun,” says Anne Perez, co-owner of Painting With A Twist Orlando.
During May’s Painting With A Purpose, the Conroy-Windermere studio raised $1,050 for Florida Abolitionist and Shed Light District’s Rescue Backpack Campaign. The money is going to be used to purchase backpacks containing essentials for victims of human trafficking in Central Florida. 

Keeping Central Florida Healthy
Healthy Central Florida has done it again. The organization is offering $25,000 in health innovation grants for the second year in a row. This year, grants will focus on projects that promote healthy food access, connect consumers to healthy food, and encourage availability and consumption of healthy food. The primary communities targeted for these grants is the service area of Healthy Central Florida: Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park.
“We want to help improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables and healthier food options throughout our communities,” says Jill Hamilton Buss, executive director of Healthy Central Florida. “The goal is to make the healthy choice the easy choice in every environment. For kids at school, adults at work or for people at church or shopping in their community, we want to see healthy options available at every turn, and this grant is designed to promote that.”

Last year, Healthy Central Florida focused on encouraging physical activity. A bike check-out program at the Winter Park Public Library, a WalkSafe program to help kids walk and bike to school safely, and marked walking paths in Maitland, are just few of the grant-funded projects that came out of last year’s workshop.

Out of This World
A 3-D printer for space developed by a UCF alum will fly on a commercial research flight on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShiptwo. Selected for the mission were 12 other university experiments, two industry-developed technologies, and two NASA projects.
Leading the UCF experiment is Joshua Colwell, a UCF physics professor and assistant director of the Florida Space Institute. The focus of the UCF experiment is to examine how a projectile launched into simulated moon dust or asteroid material will behave in weightlessness. Learning about this behavior will aid in understanding future operations on low-gravity for scientific study.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to fly our experiment aboard the first commercial research flight chartered by NASA,” Colwell says. “It is important that scientists have access to these kinds of flights that don’t require deep-space travel. What we can learn will have a significant impact in how we plan for those deep-space missions.”

One of the Best
Arnold Palmer Medical Center is one of the best children’s hospitals in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-2015 Best Children’s Hospital rankings. This includes Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.
The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings highlight U.S. News’ top 50 U.S. pediatric facilities in cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.
The hospital was ranked among the best in eight pediatric specialties, which is the most it has ever received. It ranked #41 in cardiology and heart surgery, #41 in diabetes and endocrinology, #36 in gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, #22 in neonatology, #47 in neurology and neurosurgery, #17 in orthopedics, #26 in pulmonology and #27 in urology.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as one of U.S. News’ Best Children’s Hospital, and this year is even more special because of the number of specialties included in the rankings,” says Kathy Swanson, president of Arnold Palmer Medical Center.

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