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9291: Physician may winds up with state appointment (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Physician may winds up with state appointment after attending meeting
By Gregory Lewis
Staff Writer

October 12, 2001

Dr. Joseph Fanfan Jr., a general practitioner in Fort Lauderdale for 18 
years, spoke up Thursday at a town hall meeting with Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan 
and may have gotten himself appointed to a health board.

Fanfan was expressing concern about the lack of Haitian doctors appointed to 
state and local health boards, especially those that deal with health issues 
that particularly affect Haitians and other Caribbean natives, such as AIDS.

At that, Dr. John Agwunobi, the recently appointed state secretary of health 
who had come from Palm Beach County with Brogan to attend the meeting with 
Haitian community leaders, rose from his seat on the Fort Lauderdale High 
School auditorium stage and asked for Fanfan's card.

"I have begun to realize if we are to improve our system, I'm going to need 
your help," he said to Fanfan. "Join me as we try to improve our system."

Brogan was more promising: "I think you've gotten yourself on a board," he 

That was probably the most direct promise that came from the state's 
second-highest elected official, but it didn't seem to matter, because the 
audience of 50-plus people seemed impressed with Brogan's presence at a 
forum geared to their concerns.

Marvin DeJean of the Haitian Community Center noted that event organizer the 
Rev. Luc Harrigan had the pull to get Brogan and other officials, including 
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle and representatives of the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service.

"It shows that the Haitian community has arrived," DeJean said.

Brogan said that making sure residents and tourists feel safe in Florida and 
boosting tourism will be at the top of the agenda when the Legislature 
convenes next month to pare about $1.5 billion from the state budget.

After he spoke, Arlene Schwartz, Fort Lauderdale High's community school 
director, told Brogan the administration should keep its hands off money for 
adult education.

"If you were here at 6 p.m., you'd see 2,000 adult education students," she 
said. "Eighty-five percent of them are Haitian."

Brogan did express concern for Haitian workers who have been hard hit in the 
downturn of the tourist industry in South Florida. In an interview, he urged 
them to go to state one-stop centers for services and programs that will 
help sustain them until the tourists arrive again.

"The one-stop centers have an array of services," he said. "Whether they 
need unemployment, child care, educational opportunities, transportation 
services. The one-stop centers are a resource of state and local programs."

Stephanie Desir, from the office of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, 
said the congressman has introduced two bills that would extend unemployment 
benefits 29 additional weeks for workers who have been displaced by the 
terrorist events. They would extend COBRA health benefits an additional 78 
weeks; with Medicare, it would be 72 more weeks.

Earlier in the day, Brogan spoke to a group of mentors who are part of Take 
Stock in Children at a luncheon at the Signature Grand in Davie.

"Recently, we've seen the gigantic nature of [Sept. 11] heroes played out on 
our television screens," Brogan said. "But there are so many unsung heroes 
who go about their business without the same celebration. They are men and 
women who are making a difference in the life of a child."

In Broward County, 475 adults participate in Take Stock, which operates 
statewide. Brogan, himself a mentor, encouraged all those at the luncheon to 
recommit to the program.

In response, a convention hall full of people filled out mentoring 
registration cards and waved them in the air for the lieutenant governor to 

Staff Writer Jamie Malernee contributed to this report.

Gregory Lewis can be reached at glewis@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4203.
Copyright  2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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