Meet the medical mind expanding and enhancing Lake Nona’s wellbeing initiatives
Health and wellbeing are built into the DNA of Lake Nona. From a thriving health and life sciences cluster in Medical City and a first-of-its-kind prototype healthy home to purposeful planning of neighborhoods and businesses, positive health intentions are factored into every aspect of our community.
In late 2019, Tavistock Development Company made the critical step to integrate a medical director into the community with the express focus on taking Lake Nona’s wellbeing mission to new heights.
Dr. Ally Silverton has had a busy few months on the job. From expanding established initiatives like the Lake Nona Life Project to developing programs for the new medically-integrated wellness facility and supporting the community during a global pandemic, Dr. Silverton is providing valuable expertise to help shape Lake Nona’s existing and future projects.
“Bringing on Dr. Silverton is a natural progression to keep Lake Nona at the forefront of predictive and preventive community health,” said Jessi Blakley, Tavistock Development Company vice president of strategic communications. “We’re excited to have her innovative mind and fresh perspective on the team to accelerate wellbeing initiatives within Lake Nona’s living lab environment.”
Dr. Silverton’s background spans both clinical and behavioral aspects of health, making her uniquely suited for her new position in Lake Nona. After studying biology and cultural anthropology at Duke University, Dr. Silverton went on to receive her M.D. and master’s degree in public health focused in behavioral science and health education from Emory University in Atlanta. During her residency at New York University, Dr. Silverton continued her training at the Manhattan VA Medical Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Bellevue Hospital.
In addition to working as an internal medicine physician at some of the nation’s top hospitals in Atlanta and New Orleans, Dr. Silverton also supplemented her casework by assuming the role of assistant professor, in which she educated medical students and residents while publishing peer-reviewed research in national journals.
In her new role, Dr. Silverton has transitioned from day-to-day individualized patient care to macro-level care for an entire community.
“It has been interesting to take a step back and look at things on a larger scale,” said Dr. Silverton. “In a hospital setting, we’re focused on taking care of really sick patients who often have complications from lifestyle-related conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. In Lake Nona, we aim to enable wellbeing in a variety of different ways from community events and neighborhood design to try to prevent disease before it appears.”
Dr. Silverton has taken the lead on the community’s marquee health initiative, the Lake Nona Life Project. Dr. Silverton serves as co-investigator working closely with AdventHealth Research Institute, the lead partner, to help future generations live healthier lives. She has been instrumental in expanding the Lake Nona Life Project beyond Lake Nona residents to participants who work, study, and play here.
“With the Life Project, we’re exploring how a healthy lifestyle and community has an impact on whole-person health over a lifetime,” said Dr. Silverton.
Lake Nona’s community wellbeing initiatives are supported by complementary efforts to incorporate health and wellbeing at the planning and development level. In addition to attracting like-minded wellness companies to Lake Nona’s business ecosystem, Dr. Silverton is playing an integral role in shaping the medically-integrated wellness facility that recently began construction in Lake Nona Town Center.
“This is going to be a unique location for our community to come together around a full range of health and wellbeing activities,” said Dr. Silverton. “We are creating programming, amenities, and resources that will be inviting to residents, athletes, employers, students, and even patients transitioning from hospital care. The facility is a perfect complement to the broader Lake Nona wellbeing initiatives.”
On top of her growing list of responsibilities, Dr. Silverton has been a tremendous resource to Lake Nona and our partners as we respond to the new realities of living and working in a COVID-19 environment.
In addition to partnering with the University of Central Florida and Aventus Biolabs to bring validated COVID-19 testing to Lake Nona, she has also informed the back-to-work strategies for Tavistock Development Company and many other partners in Lake Nona. Having Dr. Silverton in-house has provided valuable insights in how Lake Nona has been able to prepare and respond in accordance with the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines.
In response to how healthcare is evolving with COVID-19, Dr. Silverton sees telehealth as a new approach that’s here to stay. “The adoption process was slow, but now seeing how many patients are transitioning to telehealth and how those patients have been able to appreciate the benefits, it’s definitely something that I envision will be part of everyday practice. Especially when you think about other areas of focus like physical therapy or health coaching – there are a lot of great use cases where telehealth can provide significant benefits for patients.”
When asked about what’s next for Lake Nona, Dr. Silverton added, “Health innovation is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, and there are many ways that could provide benefits for a living lab like Lake Nona. Understanding how we continue to progress and bring new technologies to the community will be a part of my everyday work.”
For more information about Dr. Silverton’s work and Lake Nona’s wellbeing initiatives, visit LakeNona.com and LiveWorkParticipate.com.