Matt Werd

Polk County Healthcare Professional News


Matt Werd

Matt Werd, DPM, FACFAS, was a featured sports medicine speaker at the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management National Meeting held Nov. 3 in Fort Lauderdale. The AAPPM meeting attracts foot and ankle specialists from across the United States and abroad. The topic of Werd’s talk was “Pre-Made AFOs (Ankle-Foot Orthoses) to Keep Athletes Active”. He was also an expert in a question-and-answer session on lower extremity sports injuries. Werd is co-author of two editions of the medical text “Athletic Footwear and Orthoses in Sports Medicine” Springer Publishing 2017.


By Aishia Burgess

Registered Nurse Practitioner By Aishia Burgess works alongside a certified pulmonologist Naem Shahrour, from Watson Clinic Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland. Burgess earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Polk State College in Winter Haven and her master’s degree in nursing from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. 863-680-7190.

Amanda Porter

Assistant doctor Amanda Porter serves patients of a board-certified orthopedic surgeon Obafunto Abimbola from Watson Clinic Main at 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. She received a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a master’s degree in physical education from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a master’s degree in health sciences from George Washington University. in Washington, DC. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Physician Assistants of Orthopedic Surgery and the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants. She is certified by the National Certification Commission for Physician Assistants. 863-680-7214.

Nicole Hamlin

Registered Nurse Practitioner Nicole B. Hamlin works alongside a board-certified otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon Raam S. Lakhani, MD, of Watson Clinic Bella Vista Building, 1755 N. Florida Ave., Lakeland. Hamlin earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of South Florida in Tampa and her master’s degree in nursing from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 863-904-6296.

Brandi Ray

Registered Nurse Practitioner Brandi C. Ray sees patients from a licensed internal medicine physician Augustin Tavares of Watson Clinic South, 1033 N. Parkway Frontage Road, Lakeland. Ray earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of South Florida in Tampa. She is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Alumnus. 863-680-7190.

Julian Rios, RN  in the center, holds his PEER award plaque.  Also pictured are Watson Clinic Chief Executive Officer Jason Hirsbrunner, right, and Watson Clinic Senior Emergency Care Specialist Dr. Rajendra K. Sawh, left.

Julien Rios, a registered nurse at Watson Clinic Urgent Care Main, was recently named the recipient of the November Program Award for Employee Excellence and Recognition. Rios has been at the Watson Clinic for 14 years. Throughout his career, whether caring for urology patients or as a health care nurse employed in our human resources department during COVID, Rios has been admired for his laid-back, friendly nature and for being a member outstanding from the team. Rios received a plaque, dinner at a local restaurant, a reserved parking spot and a gift certificate from Watson Clinic’s Medical Spa.

David Graham

David Graham, a board-certified radiation oncologist at Watson Clinic Cancer and Research Center, is the first specialist in Florida to be named a Center of Excellence for his expertise in the use of SpaceOAR hydrogel, an injectable spacer that minimizes the side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer patients. This recognition was presented by device manufacturer Boston Scientific. Radiation therapy can produce unwanted side effects. SpaceOAR Hydrogel is a soft injectable spacer that gently separates the prostate from the rectum, greatly minimizing the possibility of side effects. Graham received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. He completed a general surgery fellowship at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, Pennsylvania. He completed radiation oncology residencies at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago and Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. He is certified in radiation oncology by the American Board of Radiology. Graham is a member of the American Medical Association, American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, Cyberknife Society, and Radiosurgery Society. 863-603-4717.


mohamed elballat

mohamed elballat specializes in pulmonology, intensive care and sleep medicine. He is certified in internal medicine, pulmonology and intensive care. Elballat has experience in sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, parasomnias and the management of complex surgical patients and critically ill neurosurgical patients. Elballat graduated in General Medicine and Surgery from Tanta University, Egypt. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Miami/JFK Consortium in West Palm Beach. Elballat completed his fellowship in Pulmonary Critical Care at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, Tennessee, and his fellowship in Sleep Medicine at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Elballat cares for patients at our Prairie campus and medical center.

Sydney Pate

Sydney Pate recently joined Lakeland Regional Health as a Senior Surgical Assistant. She is a Certified Physician Assistant with extensive clinical experience in Plastic Surgery, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and OB/GYN. Pate earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Butler University in Indianapolis. Pate sees patients at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.

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