JULY 2017
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


At its annual June 3-4 meeting in Miami, the Florida Society of Ophthalmology presented the prestigious James W. Clower Jr., MD Community Service Award to Dr. Jay Mulaney of Lakeland. The honor is given to the Florida ophthalmologist who has made the greatest contribution of time and service to his/her community.

Mulaney is a board certified and fellowship trained ophthalmologist and president of Central Florida Eye Associates. After finishing a residency in Ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania, he completed a fellowship in Glaucoma at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami. He has been in private practice in Lakeland for 27 years.

Early on in his career, Mulaney became involved with Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE), a community, non-profit organization serving Polk County. VISTE looks to enable frail elderly persons to continue living independently and safely in their own home. He was nominated to join the Board of Directors of VISTE and eventually elected Chairman of the VISTE Board. He serves on VISTE’s Board as Past Chair and continues to volunteer and help VISTE's elderly clients.

Mulaney has served on the Board of Directors of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce for several years and was president of the Polk County Medical Association in 2003-2004. He has been president of We Care of Polk County – an initiative of Polk County Medical Association that provides free medical care to low income, uninsured residents of Polk County. In that capacity and as a long-term member of We Care, he has performed (and continues to perform) free eye exams and cataract and glaucoma surgeries for several deserving patients.

For the past three years he has helped organize and support the Promise Run, an annual 5k/10K charity run which raises funds for the Hollis Cancer Center and promotes health and wellness in the Central Florida area while drawing 3,000 participants. In 2014, he was named Philanthropist of the Year by the Lakeland Regional Health Foundation.


Tampa Bay businessman Aakash Patel has announced his candidacy for the District 1 Hillsborough County Commission seat becoming vacant next year.

Patel, president of Tampa-based Elevate, Inc., has long been active in Tampa Bay civic and social causes, and in facilitating business initiatives to help the local economy grow. Aakash believes its decision-making time in areas such as transportation, economic development and tourism.

“My story is the American Dream,” says Patel. “And that’s one of the reasons I’m running. My parents are of Indian heritage, and came to America in the early-70s. They instilled American ideals – such as community service – into me at an early age. And I’m running for the District 1 Commission seat because I want to give back to the city that took me in.”

Patel has garnered numerous honors and awards for his civic and business involvement, among them gubernatorial appointments as chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County and to the state’s Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC), and positions on the Executive Committee of Leadership Tampa Bay and the Board of Directors of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

A Sickles High School graduate, Patel worked at the Tallahassee Bureau of The Tampa Bay Times while still a student at FSU. After graduation, he worked in public relations at a major hotel company. He later became the founding Business Development Director for Chamber.com, which now has 1.5 million members worldwide. In 2012, he started Elevate, Inc., a strategic business consulting firm in Tampa that now employs 12 people.

“Our region is moving into ‘Big City’ status,” Patel says, “and this is a critical time for us. We need to get a firm handle on issues such as transportation, economic development and tourism right now. And we need to develop plans to effectively deal with our growth … so that all of our residents can benefit from it.”

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