Current news and updates regarding the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine Community.

National Doctors Day

The hard work and dedication demonstrated by the doctors at LVIM has always been appreciated and always will be. Today, March 30th gives us a chance to express how much these volunteers have made a difference for those in need.

It is National Doctors’ Day! The first formal celebration of doctors dates back to March 30th, 1933 to honor the physicians in Georgia. Eudora Brown Almond led the movement to mail thank you letters to physicians and place red carnations on the graves of deceased doctors to show thanks. Later in 1991, President George H. W. Bush Proclaimed March 30th is National Doctors’ Day to honor physicians for their dedication and leadership. This date was chosen because on March 30th, 1842 the first use of ether as anesthesia for surgery was done successfully. This led to many medical advancements.

We want to encourage everyone reading this to send a thank you letter to your doctor for their hard work and perseverance during these times. These men and women have dedicated their lives to improving ours.

In appreciation of the many doctors providing care here at LVIM purely for the benefit of our community, here is our letter to you:

Dear Dr. Glen Barden, Dr. Robert Chapman, Dr. Gregory Cook, Dr. Gregory Daniel, Dr. Kevin Dorsett, Dr. Robert Eanett, Dr. Raju Kotipoyina, Dr. James Magnusen, Dr. Eduardo Moreno, Dr. Thomas Oates, Dr. Jeffrey Puretz, Dr. Richard Rutherford, Dr. Fred Schreiber, Dr. Hugo Tapia, and Dr. Uzi Talit,

You all have used your brains, your hands, and your hearts to care for the people of Polk County. You all have made an astronomically valuable contribution to the patients of Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine. We want to thank you for your selfless work. Thank you for your dedication to practicing medicine in the purest form. All of your hard work has been recognized by the staff, volunteers, and patients to create a strong, healthy community.


Virtual Hat Contest

It’s time to dust off your Derby hats or make a new hat and join us in April for our first ever Virtual Hat Contest!

Swan Derby may be rescheduled for October 15th, but we are still going to have some fun in April!  We will be having a Virtual Hat Contest on Instagram throughout the month of April.

WHERE: Instagram @wearelvim

WHEN: April 1st – 30th

WINNING CATEGORIES: Most Creative, Fan Favorite

DETAILS: During the month of April, post a selfie in your Derby hat, tag us @wearelvim and use #swanderby when you post. Make sure you have your friends like your post to be considered for the Fan Favorite category!

The Most Creative winner will be chosen by a group of LVIM staff members and the person who receives the most amount of likes will be the Fan Favorite winner.

Winners will be announced and tagged on Instagram on the week of May 3rd.

Don’t worry, we are not going to miss out on the fun!  Follow us on Instagram @wearelvim throughout the month of April for selfies of our staff and volunteers in their Derby hats!


National Kidney Month

What Can You DO?
Improving Kidney Health Through Diet and Exercise

by Will Mitchell

Did you know that March is National Kidney Month?  According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it a time to raise awareness about kidney disease.  What better way to raise awareness than to discuss ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle for years to come regardless of a Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) diagnosis.  The following information and recommendations of preventative tactics for health management are meant to provide education to achieve that healthy lifestyle.

Follow The Roadmap To Success To Lower Chronic Kidney Disease Risk Through Lifestyle Modifications. (2021, February 17). NephU.

Chronic Kidney Disease – A breakdown

Roughly 37 million people in the United States have CKD which is about 15% of the population, and 90% do not know they have it.  Impaired kidney function can result in anemia, bone and mineral disorders, cardiovascular disease, hyperglycemia, diabetes, hypertension, and malnutrition.

Incorporation of Healthy Foods

Three of the hardest things for an impaired kidney to control are sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.  We have put together a list of what to avoid and the alternatives.

  • Phosphorus foods to avoid – Dairy, Beans, Lentils, Nuts, Bran Cereal, Oatmeal, Sodas, Iced Teas, Beer.
  • Lower Phosphorus Alternatives – Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Unenriched Rice Milk, Bread, Pasta, Rice, Fish, Corn and Rice Cereals, Soda without Phosphate additives like Root Beer, Home Brewed Iced Tea.
  • Potassium Rich Foods to Avoid – Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Bananas, Oranges, Tomatoes Tomato Sauce, Dried Beans, Cooked Greens Spinach Kale Collards.
  • Sodium Rich Foods to Avoid – Salt do no use Salt while cooking, Ham, Bacon, Hot Dogs, Lunch Meats, Chicken Tenders, Garlic Salt, Onion Salt, PreSeasoned Meats.
  • Sodium Alternatives and Options – No Salt Added Canned Vegetables, No Salt Added Peanut Butter.

Healthy Cooking Recipes

We know it can be difficult to avoid fast foods, but if you visit under the eating well drop-down menu you can find deliciously healthy recipes. The website has options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Some of the yummy breakfast options include blueberry muffins and stuffed breakfast biscuits. The lunch and dinner options include herb-roasted chicken and bourbon-glazed skirt steak. 

Did you know that techniques such as blanching or boiling remove up to 80% of the unwanted minerals such as sodium? When using frozen or canned goods wash them before cooking to remove excess minerals.

Finding The Ingredients

We challenge you to shop locally and support our local farmers.  Not only does shopping local help so many people, but fresh produce is also a healthier alternative to frozen goods. Where can you get these goods? There are several local farmers’ markets and roadside produce stands available throughout Polk County.  The vendors at these markets are your neighbors and friends providing you with healthy food options and community involvement.

Another option for getting healthier foods is to visit the Lakeland Volunteers In Medicine Mobile Food Pantry twice a month, the second and last Tuesday of the month. Located on 600 W Peachtree St Lakeland 33815 this free supply of food can sustain a healthy diet for weeks. Be sure to arrive by 11 am for registration, food will be distributed from 12 pm – 2 pm. 

Healthy Lifestyle

Choosing to eat better is a huge step in the right direction! Yet more than one approach is needed to deal with CKD. Getting out and walking for at least 30 minutes a week can reduce the need for dialysis or kidney transplants. Other options for exercise include swimming or biking, anything that requires consistent motion is beneficial. 

Another component to a healthy lifestyle is to not smoke. Smoking has been linked to the acceleration of kidney disease, as well as other ailments. A helpful tip to quit smoking is to know why you are addicted. When you are thirsty a signal goes off in your brain telling you to drink water. The addiction to nicotine is similar to the need for water, a signal tells us to smoke because it can reduce stress and anxiety. In order to quit, you must find ways to supplement that need for stress relief. A great supplement for the need to smoke is to exercise. Many people find that exercise has the same effect on stress relief as smoking.

Infographic—National Kidney Month 2021. (2021, March 2). NephU.

National Nutrition Month

by Caroline Benitez

In honor of National Nutrition Month, make a plan to shop local when stocking your fridge.

Thinking outside the grocery store and shopping at a farmers market or produce stand is a great way to support growers and small businesses in your community. Plus, you’ll get your pick of the best in-season fresh from Florida fruits and veggies- and at a great price.

Where is your favorite place to get fresh produce in Polk County?

March is also the peak of strawberry season here in Florida. Strawberries are high in vitamin C and fiber, making them a great anytime snack. If you’re looking for a fun way to get your fill, give make-ahead strawberry parfaits a try. Layer fresh fruit in a mason jar along with your favorite yogurt or a non-dairy alternative, granola, oats, and nuts. Keep a few in your fridge for a quick breakfast or a healthy dessert.

 About LVIM

LVIM provides free, high-quality, out-patient medical, dental, and mental health care to the working uninsured of Polk County in a compassionate manner. Through 20 years of excellent leadership, LVIM has grown into a thriving and crucial organization for the Polk County community serving the health care needs of over 2,800 eligible patients each year and providing over $7.7 million in services in 2020 alone. At LVIM the treatment is free, the care is priceless!

Celebrating 20 Years!

February marks LVIM’s 20th anniversary of providing FREE, high-quality, and compassionate outpatient medical, dental and mental healthcare to the underserved and indigent, specifically the working uninsured.

At LVIM, the treatment is free.  The care is priceless.

Help us celebrate our 20 YEARS and join us for a Virtual Travel Auction!  The auction is LIVE and will close at 7 PM on Saturday, February 20th.  Click here to bid TODAY.

What if we give YOU the opportunity to support LVIM’s mission and you could bid on a trip of a lifetime?  What if we told you that you had THREE YEARS to book and NO blackout dates?

Check back every day this week as we reveal the special opportunities you will have to support LVIM’s mission of providing FREE healthcare to the working uninsured of Polk County over the past 20 Years.

Many are missing the joys of travel during the pandemic. If you could travel anywhere, where would you like to go for your next vacation?

We are going to have some fun in February celebrating our 20th anniversary and we have some surprises planned! Save the date, February 17th, and check back often for clues about what we have planned.  Updates will be posted here or you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Congratulations Mary!

LVIM is excited to announce that Mary Terry has been promoted to Operations Manager.

When Mary joined the LVIM team as the Clinical Trainer in August of last year, she filled a great need in our clinic assisting our volunteer providers with learning the electronic health record.  Shortly thereafter, she quickly and excitedly took on the training of all volunteer positions (with the exception of Intake Screeners).  This addition alleviated the pressure on the Volunteer Manager’s position and helped LVIM rethink our organizational structure in order to improve the flow of communication and balance out the workload on some of our positions.

Since joining the LVIM family, Mary has been all-in in every aspect. Not only has she excelled in her role as a trainer, she has led quality and process improvement efforts, has taken on data collection, and stepped up to manage the YMCA Steps to Good Health Program.

Please join us in thanking Mary for all she does for LVIM and congratulating her on her promotion.


Mobile Food Pantry


February 2021 Update

In March of 2020, LVIM became a Mobile Food Pantry site twice a month thanks to the George W Jenkins End Hunger Initiative in partnership with United Way of Central Florida and Feeding Tampa Bay.

Since then, we have provided over 150,000 lbs of fresh food to 5,757 Households including 19,159 people, of which 6,468 are children and 1,514 are patients of LVIM. This would not be possible without the above-mentioned partnerships, volunteers, and staff who work hard twice a month distributing food to the community.

LVIM will continue to host the Mobile Food Pantry on the SECOND and LAST Tuesdays of each month.  Registration begins at 11 AM and distribution is from 12 PM – 2 PM or until supplies run out.

To ensure we are good neighbors to those who live around us and to enable us to serve as many households as possible, please make note of the items listed below.

  • Registration will not begin until 11 AM.
  • NO parking on Peachtree prior to the registration time.
  • Please do not block driveways to homes and businesses.
  • Limit of 2 households per car and a member of the household must be present.


In Memory of Julius Rhian

Mr. Julius came to LVIM at the very beginning, in 2001.  He and his wife Betty were faithful volunteers, always present and always loving.  Betty passed away several years ago, but Mr. Julius never stopped showing up.

LVIM was his family.

In May, Mr. Julius turned 93.  And, as his vulnerability to the COVID19 virus rose, we encouraged him to stay home, but he did not want to stop volunteering.

And, so he showed up with his kind eyes, willing heart and healing hands.

And we were happy to have him.  He loved his work in the Prescription Assistance office, making sure our clients got their medications when they needed them.

In July, Mr. Julius decided it was time to stop.  He was getting too tired, he said.

Our staff and volunteers rallied and gave him a drive-by tribute, honking our horns and waving balloons and bearing gifts of hot tea and soup, two of his favorite things.  Londa, our Director of Patient Services, kept in touch with him regularly.  But, on November 10th, we received a call we dreaded.  Mr. Julius had passed away after having taken a fall and broken his hip.

Mr. Julius served LVIM for nearly 20 years. And he is sorely missed.

To honor Mr. Julius, there will be a tribute displayed in the Prescription Assistance Office.

Each year we honor an exceptional volunteer, one whose service goes above and beyond, with the LVIM Volunteer of the Year Award.

From this year forward, this award will be named in Mr. Julius’s honor.

The Julius Rhian 2020 Volunteer Of the Year

The 2020 Julius Rhian Volunteer of the Year began volunteering with LVIM a few years ago during her summer breaks from the University of Central Florida.  She graduated in December of 2019 with her undergraduate degree and came back to volunteer on a full-time basis in early 2020. She stayed with us throughout the entire COVID situation, during which time she was often the only clinical volunteer onsite. She was cross-trained and easily transitioned from the clinic to the pharmacy to the lab, sometimes all in a single day. She has been such a blessing to LVIM, especially during these difficult times.

She is currently applying to PA school, to become a physician assistant, and also has an externship with a physician in Orlando beginning soon which means her time with us is drawing to a close. She is an intelligent, confident, and highly motivated young professional who will go far both in life and her career.

The 2020 Julius Rhian Volunteer of the Year goes to….Laura Roth!!!

Thank you, Laura, for your dedication to LVIM and to the field of medicine.

2020 Physician of the Year

The LVIM Physician of the Year Award is given to a physician who exhibits exceptional practice, passion for LVIM’s mission, dedication to patient care, and who is also appreciated and lauded by his or her peers.

This year’s Physician of the Year is no stranger to our community.

He is a well-known and deeply loved physician and has been an integral part of LVIM’s story from the very beginning.  The 2020 LVIM Physician of the Year has been an LVIM board member, advisory board member, and has been a volunteer physician since his retirement from his professional career as an orthopedic surgeon.  He has given 1,831 hours of service to LVIM alone but gives of his time and skill in service to many others as well.  This physician never stopped seeing patients in need during the COVID-19 crisis and is always available to lend a hand, an ear, or his wisdom.

The 2020  LVIM Physician of the Year goes to…Dr. Glen Barden!

Dr. Barden, you are a treasure and we are eternally grateful for everything you have done to make LVIM a reality.