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9291: Physician may winds up with state appointment (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <email@example.com>
Physician may winds up with state appointment after attending meeting
By Gregory Lewis
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
"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
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4203.
Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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