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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

3/1/2017: JCCI Changes; Colon Cancer; Generation W; Abby Vega


Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed changes at Jacksonville Community Council Inc. with Board Chairman Kevin Hyde. We also heard about an increase in colon cancer in younger people with Dr. Victoria Gomez, gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. ElanaSchrader, the chief medical officer of GuideWell and Generation W founder Donna Orender joined the show to talk about this month’s Generation W conference, and we met author Abby Vega, who in her book “Sno-cone Diaries,” talks about leaving her high-paying corporate job to own and drive a sno-cone truck. 

JCCI Changes

Jacksonville Community Council Inc. recently announced a major change in its organization. Instead of being a stand-alone entity, JCCI is transforming into a civic pact called the Citizen Engagement PACT. The PACT will continue to foster civic engagement to improve the lives of Jacksonville citizens. It will also produce studies of community importance, including the annual quality of life and race relations reports.   

Colon Cancer

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control,  about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed annually with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it.

New research shows millennials have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared with baby boomers, raising questions about whether differences in lifestyle or some yet unidentified factor could explain what researchers called a “curious” increase. But this disease is highly preventable through screening, beginning at age 50.    

Generation W

The First Coast’s premiere women’s leadership event, Generation W, is coming up March 31 at the University of North Florida.

GuideWell is a $12 billion Jacksonville-based health solutions organization and the parent company of Florida Blue.  

As Chief Medical Officer, Schrader has accountability for the overarching clinical strategy and all clinical programs including population health, complex care, pharmacy, and quality management for 4 million Florida Blue members.

Abby Vega

She spent 35 years working sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies, but needed more in her life.

Abby Vega quit her six-figure salary job and bought a Kona Ice sno-cone truck. That experience led her to becoming the author of“The Sno-Cone Diaries,” which is the story of a woman who despite having it all still felt depressed and lonely but found a new life bringing treats to the public.       

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.