Posted in Community

My Conversation with Dr. Weiss, the president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare

Dr. Weiss, the president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare, was very kind to speak with me on the phone and answer few questions. Below is a brief recap of our conversation. Dr. Weiss

Question: Being a president and CEO of the NCH Healthcare system sounds like an overwhelming job, what made you go for it?

I spent 23 years in private practice, last 17 years in administration. I made transition to administration in 2000. I had to learn the business side of the healthcare system. I spent 6 years as president, 11 years as CEO and president. I went for the job because it was an inspiration. I wanted the opportunity to make a difference. It is a serious job, it has challenges, but I love it. I think we are making progress.

Question: What are the challenges facing NCH Healthcare system today and how are they different from the challenges 5-10 years ago?

We are facing huge uncertainty from Washington and Tallahassee. We try to provide high quality care to everyone.  5 years ago, our situation was more stable. Today state and federal government are running out of money. Health care costs 18 % of GDP and it is growing.

Question: NCH Healthcare system is one of the largest job creators in our community. How can we make sure it continues to be so?

We do employ a great number of people, using 2015 numbers, we employ 4,300 folks working with us either full- or part-time, seasonally or year-round. Indirectly, we have created 13,275 additional jobs because we buy services and supplies from others. Of course, school system is number one employer in the county. We have a goal – keep our community healthy. Competent and compassionate healthcare, while providing peace of mind to a community, adds economic benefit and other “non-traditional” contributions and liaisons.

Question: What our politicians need to do to make health care more affordable?

We should not exploit sickness to make a profit. Health insurance is a big business. 20% of person’s monthly health insurance premium goes to  the insurance company to cover operating costs and generate profit. That is a lot of money. But they are not the only ones who benefit. Think tobacco industry. How much money did the tobacco industry make and how many people did it make sick? We are all paying for it. We could take care of our national debt if we didn’t have to pay for all the sick people numerous big businesses create. What politicians can do is to make it harder for businesses to make money if the product they sell makes the public sick. We should spend more money on prevention. Big companies, big pharma have lobbyists and their interests are very well protected. We need to push our politicians to do the work on our behalf, work for our vote.

Question: What do you think about the universal care?

An efficient single payer focused on prevention takes a big insurance business out of the equation. It is a step towards stopping the businesses from making money out of sickness. We need to focus on prevention, keep our population healthy in the first place.

Posted in humor

Beauty and the Beast or Why Women Should Not Chase After Men

This is for all my ladies. We achieved equal rights with men, we can do everything men can do, sometimes we can do it better :), but for as long as it is us, who bear children, few things we need to leave to men. One of them is courting a lover. I will demonstrate my point with the help of our favorite children’s story – Beauty and the Beast.

Gaston is the hottest guy in the village. Many women desire him, they follow him, they swoon, but Gaston is not interested. What is available too readily is rarely appreciated. There is only one woman who makes Gaston work for her affections – Belle. Gaston wants Belle and he would do anything to have her as his wife. Gaston thinks Belle secretly loves him and that is all the encouragement he needs.

Belle pays little attention to Gaston; she wants to achieve her dreams. Belle thinks there is more to life than being Mrs. Gaston.

Belle’s adventures begin when her father gets kidnaped by the Beast. The unfortunate event turns into a blessing in disguise. Belle and the Beast begin their relationship by being rude to each other. There is mutual mistrust. Then, slowly, Belle becomes sweet to the Beast and he is enchanted by her. He is encouraged by her tenderness. The Beast does the impossible for Belle, sacrifices everything. That is when Belle realizes his love is true and chooses to be with him.

Now imagine Belle saw Gaston at the bar, was intrigued, came up and asked for his phone number. What do you think would happen? What if Belle never gave the Beast opportunity to prove his love, perhaps he was never interested in her in the first place. What if Belle kept pushing herself onto the beast and “sacrificing” herself just in case he changed his mind one day and took her “seriously”.

Ladies, always play it smart. Never put yourself at disadvantage.

Posted in Health

Healthy Foods to Keep Weight Off

It is hard enough to keep the weight off in our 20s. After 40 years of age, the metabolism slows down, the hormones change making it so much harder to keep the figure. The more weight we have the harder all our organs have to work to keep us functioning. Let us pick the most nutritious and healing foods and incorporate them in our daily diet.


Pick avocado for healthy fats. Avocado can help us control hunger. After 40, we tend to eat more. Even if we eat exactly the same amount of food, our metabolism slows down and we put on weight.

Avocados are very nutritious, they contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. Avocados are rich in Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E. Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monosaturated fatty acids. Avocados are rich in fiber and antioxidants.

Cabbage and Kale

Cabbage and Kale are the most nutritious healthy foods you can find, they provide in abundance alpha-lipoic acid, powerful antioxidant, which is needed to transform glucose to energy and keep the blood sugar stable. The research at the university of Maryland demonstrated that alpha-lipoic acid reduces the risk of diabetes, ictus, glaucoma and other pathologies.

Cabbage is excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate, copper, choline, phosphorus, vitamin B2, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, pantothenic acid, protein and niacin.

Kale is high in iron, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, antioxidants (flavonoids, carotenoids), rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both are great for detoxifying the body and keeping liver healthy.


After 40 years of age, we tend to have more problems digesting fiber (especially women). Raspberries is a great alternative to fruit. According to the USDA data, it is enough to consume small cup of raspberries to supply our body with 8 grams of fiber. Red raspberries contain strong antioxidants such as Vitamin C, quercetin and gallic acid that fight against cancer, heart and circulatory disease and age-related decline.


Lentils have plenty of fiber. Lentils and beans help to reduce blood cholesterol. Lentil helps to stabilize blood sugar. It is rich in protein.


Harvard School of Public Health discovered that polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are plentiful in walnuts, reduce the risk of diabetes. Walnuts improve metabolism. The polyphenolic compounds and phytochemical substances found in walnuts reduce the effect of inflammation in the body. Melatonin, a hormone that helps induce and regulate sleep is available in walnuts in a bio-available form. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 and are an ample source of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Olive oil contains large amount of antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil has anti-bacterial properties.

Cooked Tomatoes

A study published by International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment showed the importance of lycopene and beta carotene which are abundant in tomatoes, carrots, also red fruits and vegetables to combat cancer. In tomatoes, lycopene and beta carotene are extracted better if tomatoes are cooked.


The Mediterranean diet, rich in seafood, reduces cardiovascular diseases. American Heart Association suggests eating more salmon. Salmon is excellent source of Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and selenium. It is a good source of niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus and Vitamin B6. It is also a good source of choline, pantothenic acid, biotin and potassium.

Posted in Community

My Conversation with Commissioner Andy Solis

Andy Solis was very kind to meet with me and answer few questions, below is a brief recap of our conversation. I learned a lot! AndySolis

Question: Does collier county “live within its budget”? How important is it to have a balanced budget?

Collier County lives within its budget. It is very important and we are conservative in our spending. We fully paid our debt during the recession years of 2007-2008. Of course, debt is necessary to fund our many important projects and we pay it as we go.

Question: What is your position on the off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?

I do not support the off shore drilling. We don’t need it at this point. There are plenty of alternatives and better ways to extract oil.

Question: How important to you is to protect our environment? There are more harmful chemicals allowed in the drinking water.

It is very important to protect our environment. Our beautiful beaches and nature bring tourism to Collier County. The quality of Collier County’s tap water is very good. In fact, we won several prizes for best tasting water in the state.

Question: What is your position on the big farm polluters and the ensuing red tide problem?

We have to address Lake Okeechobee problem; we waited too long. We need to protect our biggest asset- the water, the beaches. We are building the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to address that problem.

Question: What do you do to create more jobs in Collier County?

We have several business accelerator programs in Naples. The Naples Accelerator headed by director Dr. Marshall Goodman provides small businesses with mentorship from industry leaders, networking opportunities, access to investors and sales leads. The Naples Accelerator also provides small businesses with offices and conference rooms. Many European businesses migrated to Naples with the help of Naples Accelerator.

We also have Collier County Culinary Accelerator. Christian Le Squer, a Michelin-rated chef who runs Le Cinq restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, has agreed to work with the Immokalee Culinary Accelerator to help our chefs and to raise money.

 Question: If the small businesses are the largest job creators how do we protect and encourage small business growth?

We need to create a business friendly environment in Collier County. For example, make permitting easier and less expensive.

Question: The rent keeps getting higher, the salaries are not keeping up. How do we insure affordable housing for the workers in Collier County?

The problem of housing affordability can be solved by making it more profitable for landowners and builders to develop multi-apartment housing vs. single-family luxury homes. We need to address density issue- how many housing units are allowed to be built on a certain property.

 Question:  How do we reduce crime in Collier County?

The crime rate in Collier County is very low, and it keeps decreasing despite our fast growth. The major problem we are facing today is the opioid addiction. We have educational programs in place and I am actively involved with the program to help people get the necessary information and support to fight the opioid addiction.

Andy Solis was very helpful and he definitely has my vote!


Posted in Self- improvement

Risk, Reward and Stupidity

Higher-level of reasoning vs. lower level of reasoning, how do we make decisions? Every day we make thousands of decisions both major and minor. Sometimes we make decisions without even realizing it. When facing a choice our brain determines the overall reward and risk, then our feelings get a vote (depending on how much power we give it, it may have a bigger sway) and for better or worse, we make a decision.

Think last time you were at the grocery store with a firm determination to buy only healthy food. At home, you were firm. Once in the grocery store, surrounded by the temptations and distractions of the most delicious junk foods, you made a new decision and you sealed it with the action – you bought a shopping cart full of unhealthy stuff. So what happened?

Our brain assigns everything a value based on that value we make decisions. Depressed people have difficulty assigning value, everything seems unappealing, the resulting decision – better stay in bed. Hoarding is caused by overvaluation of certain possessions. We have to make sure we assign right value to things. Things that are good for us should always have a higher value.

Why do we engage in reckless/dangerous behaviors? At some point of our lives, we all engage in behaviors that are risky or unwise. We do it because these behaviors bring pleasure, excitement and are temporarily rewarding. Maybe we want to spoil ourselves just this once. The problem is these behaviors can very quickly become addictive to the point that one day we lose any conscious control over the behavior.

Human beings are different from any other animal in that we are able to think and control our behavior.

Posted in Self- improvement

About Life Satisfaction, Happiness

What does everybody want? Happiness. More than simply positive mood, happiness is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life with a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction.

If we want to be happy, we have to work for it. If we are unhappy, we have ourselves to blame.

To do list (to find that elusive, everlasting happiness):

  1. Have a peace of mind. Whatever drives you nuts – get rid of it, or distance yourself from it.
  2. Think positive thoughts and you will have positive attitude.
  3. Find your passion/interesting challenge in life.
  4. Start using your brain. Learn to think. Solve the problems yourself.
  5. Be the master of your emotions.
  6. Keep the body healthy. Healthy foods consumed in moderation will maintain a balanced chemical level in the brain and the whole body. Good food and exercise will ward off mental issues like depression, attention deficit disorders and myriad of other physical and mental ailments.
  7. Stay away from addictive substances.
  8. Have strong, good relationships.
  9. Make sure you have enough money. Money buys freedom from worry about the basics in life—housing, food, clothing.
  10. Be helpful!
Posted in Community

Interview with Naples Mayor Bill Barnett

Bill Barnett, the mayor of City of Naples, FL was very kind to meet with me and answer few questions, below is a brief recap of our conversation. BillBarnett

But first, a lesson in politics. The City of Naples occupies about 16.4 sq. mi and has population of 20,000 full time residents. The larger Naples Metro Area is managed by county commissioners.

The City of Naples was incorporated in 1925.  An incorporated town in the United States is a municipality and has elected officials, as differentiated from an unincorporated community, which is governed by the county or state.

In the council-manager form of government, the city council is the governing body elected by the citizens.


The council hires a city manager to serve as the chief executive of the city government. With some exceptions that vary from city to city, the city manager oversees all city staff. The city manager advises the council on their decisions but has no formal authority to vote on laws enacted by the council.

Now back to my conversation with Bill Barnett.

Question: Naples is a great place to live. It is clean, safe and we have good schools. How do we make sure our quality of life does not deteriorate?

I lived in Naples for 44 years. I have been in politics for 25 years, and I can tell you we have a system in place to insure our city is exactly what we, the residents, want it to be: no bill boards, no big advertisements. We want to have a lot of green space and good zoning. The mayor and 6 council members work hard to protect our quality of life.

Question: Is it important to attract big businesses and more people to Naples, or do we want to remain a small town?

We can attract corporate headquarters to Greater Naples Metro Area, and it would be a good thing for the community. It will not happen in the city of Naples, we just don’t have the space anymore.

Question: Bill, you were elected mayor of Naples in 1996 to 2000 and again from 2004 to 2012, and again in 2016. What are the challenges facing Naples today and how are they different from challenges we faced in 1996, 2004, 2008, 2016?

The biggest challenge we face today is our tremendous growth. Collier county is being built too fast. The growth is the challenge, we don’t build the beaches, we build housing, yet people want to come here to enjoy the beach and the nature. Another problem we face – how can we efficiently manage the increasing traffic?

Question: What is your vision for Naples, what do you want Naples to be, let’s say, in 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I want to see Naples very much like it is today. In the future, with advanced technology we will be able to manage traffic better. Our residents will reuse water, so we will conserve drinking water. The old houses eventually will be replaced with new energy efficient homes. We are moving in that direction.

Question: Have you ever considered running for a Governor of Florida post?

No. I never considered it. Why should I? I like to be a local politician. I know people in Naples and people know me. I like what I am doing. I like where I am and most importantly I like our people.