Fraud Alert vs. Credit Freeze

By: Carrie Kerskie, director of Hodges University Identity Fraud Institute

Often there is confusion between a fraud alert and a credit freeze. Many times, I hear people state they have “locked-down” their credit when all they have is a fraud alert. Here is the breakdown to help end confusion.

Fraud Alert
The most common recommendation when it comes to identity theft is to get a fraud alert. What exactly is a fraud alert? Federal law, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA), permits you to place a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports when you become a victim of identity theft. You call one bureau and they will notify the other two on your behalf. A fraud alert is a statement or disclaimer that is placed on your credit report. It is to notify potential creditors that you are a victim of identity theft and that there is an elevated risk of fraud. You have the option of including your telephone number so potential creditors will call you to verify credit applications.

Remember, a fraud alert lasts for only 90 days. Unless renewed, the alert is removed from your credit report on the 91st day. For those who are active military or are a documented victim of identity theft, there is the option to place a seven-year extension on the fraud alert.

While this sounds appealing, there are things to consider:

  1. A fraud alert is not 100 percent effective.
  2. Your credit report is still received by the requesting creditor.
  3. It expires after 90 days.

Security Freeze
The best way to prevent new account fraud, when someone applies for a new credit account in your name, is by initiating a security freeze. A security freeze prevents new creditors from viewing your credit report. A credit report tells the prospective creditor what kind of payer you are. When the creditor is unable to view your credit report, he/she is unable to determine if you would be a good client, thus, he/she will reject the application. To create a security freeze, contact each major credit bureau (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) and ask for a security freeze, also known as a credit freeze. You can do this online or by mail. In Florida, the fee to initiate a security freeze is $10 per bureau. If you are over the age of 65 or a documented victim of identity theft, with a police report, the initial fee is waived.

You will be provided or asked to create a PIN number with each bureau. This will be used when you need to temporarily lift the freeze to permit a creditor to view your credit report; however, the credit bureaus may charge you a fee each time you lift and reinstate the freeze. Contact each credit bureau prior to the lift to inquire about any fees. The temporary lift can take two days to two weeks. Just make sure you let the creditor know in advance of your security freeze.

As stated before, the security freeze was designed to prevent new account fraud. It does not have any impact on using your current credit accounts. Further, it does not prevent any other type of identity theft. 

One final note, a credit freeze is primarily for individuals who will not be applying for new credit or needing to allow an organization to view his/her credit report. With a freeze, you do have the ability to temporarily lift the freeze to permit an organization to view your credit report. This could cause extra time and expense, typically $10 per credit bureau, to the process. 

Your Guide to Hurricane Preparedness

Courtesy of


To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know your surroundings.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

Make plans to secure your property:

  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8″ exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Another year-round option would be installation of laminated glass with impact-resistant glazing. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install a generator for emergencies.
  • If in a high-rise building, when high winds are present, be prepared to take shelter on a lower floor because wind conditions increase with height, and in a small interior room without windows. When flooding may be occurring, be prepared to take shelter on a floor safely above the flooding and wave effects.
  • Consider building a safe room.

Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (NFIP) Web site, or call 1-800-427-2419.

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
  • Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.


  • Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS/1-800-733-2767 or visit the American Red Cross Safe and Well site:
    • The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed¬ out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

Take the 5210 Pledge for Health

May 1, 2017

Healthy Lee is excited to bring back the 5210 Pledge. We hope you’re excited to begin your journey to a healthier you, as well as your family, by committing to the 5210 Pledge. Share your journey during the 5210 Pledge to help motivate others and encourage those who haven’t taken the pledge to do so. If you have already taken the 5210 Pledge, congratulations on taking a step towards healthier habits; if you haven’t, you can take the Pledge here.  

Healthy Lee is a community collaboration working together to help educate members of the Lee County community on healthy habits that can be applied to the entire family in order to improve their health and wellness, working to make individuals and families throughout Southwest Florida a little bit healthier and to do so, they’re introducing a family fun challenge. The 5210 Pledge is a Healthy Lee initiative that encourages the Lee County community to adopt healthier habits that can be applied to the entire family in order to achieve optimal health and wellness. Throughout the summer, Healthy Lee encourages you to make changes to your habits by initiating each month’s focused habits. Our hope is, by the end of summer, you will have built four healthy habits.

The 5210 Pledge is easy and simple. During the 5210 Pledge, we encourage you to commit to the following healthy habits:

  • May: eat at least 5 servings of vegetables & fruits every day!
  • June: limit recreational screen time to 2 hours or less per day!
  • July: commit to 1 hour or more of physical activity every day!
  • August: choose to drink 0 sugar-sweetened drinks and drink more water!

By taking the pledge you’ll try to do each item once a month through August, the goals is that once you’ve completed one moth of the pledge you’ll carry that over to the next month and so on. By the end of the pledge you’ll hopefully be familiar and comfortable with living a healthy lifestyle and you’ll stick with it. 

When you take the pledge you’ll also get helpful resources and recipes sent to your email to help you stay on track throughout the pledge. To sign up and join click here and for more information about living healthy, visit:

Follow us and post your progress with social media using #5210Pledge! Have a healthy eating tip to share? Spread the pledge using #5210Pledge on your social media networks! Invite friends and family to take the pledge to better health! 

Bonita Springs: Show Us Your Moves

Bonita Springs: Show Us Your Moves

With season in full swing, our area is ‘on the move’ with walkers, cyclists, runners, swimmers and golfers. This influx of seasonal residents and visitors, along with the fresh start of the new year, makes this the perfect time for Healthy Lee to launch the Million Mile Movement—a challenge to Lee County to move 1,000,000 miles by March 31. You’re invited to join in and help us reach the goal by tracking your movement.

Take steps toward a healthier lifestyle by walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing or just about any movement activity that covers ground. The Million Mile Movement is a fun way to get moving and energize our bodies and our minds.  It’s also a great opportunity to unify our community, working toward a common goal.  And, our beaches, malls, parks, rivers, downtown areas and neighborhoods offer some of the most beautiful scenery to enjoy while we’re getting in our miles—that’s why thousands of people visit our community every year!

To encourage the community to get active, the challenge is open to all Lee County residents and businesses. By engaging our community, we all are supporting Healthy Lee’s mission to empower and inspire healthy lifestyle choices through education and action. Most people don’t move enough unless they purposely resolve to do so; the Million Mile Movement is a challenge to do just that.

It starts with the first step – joining the challenge. Register to participate in the Million Mile Movement at Set a goal – something you know you can accomplish (and maybe a little more). Join an existing team, or create a new team with your neighbors, your church, civic organization, co-workers or your family. Remember, a support system will help you stay on track. Next, get moving, and track your miles on the website. The website even includes a converter tool to change many kinds of activities into miles.

If you already have a regular activity routine, join the challenge and log your miles. Ask your clients, patrons, employees and vendors to join your team; challenge other businesses to beat your goal. Help break up the workday with a daily walk around the office or host a walking meeting that encourages activity and interaction among co-workers.

If you think our goal is lofty, consider this: With an estimated population of 702,000 in 2016, each Lee County only needs to log a mere 1.5 miles during the challenge period to meet our goal!  So, come on, Bonita Springs, join the challenge and show us your moves. Working together, every step will get us closer to our goal of a healthier community.

If you are not familiar with Healthy Lee, it is an award-winning collaboration of more than 300 health care providers, social service agencies, non-profits and business organizations that are coordinating efforts to improve our community’s health. Now in its 10th year, Healthy Lee has had a significant impact on improving the health of Lee County, and access to medical care. In the most recent community health assessment, Lee County reported a 15% drop in obesity, a 35% drop in childhood obesity, gains in physical activity, increases in access to routine medical checkups and a drop in serious disease, such as heart disease and stroke.

Mary Andrews is Lee Health’s System Director of Government and Community Relations.

Hodges University’s Veterans Services Center Helps to Ease the Difficulties of Transition

Hodges University’s Veterans Services Center Helps to Ease the Difficulties of Transition

By: Nicole Roe, marketing and strategic content writer for Hodges University

As a veteran returning from service, the transition can be difficult. The uncertainty of what lies ahead, as well as what options are available can be daunting. For veterans returning to school, not only do they face the same uncertainties, but they are also stepping into a far different role than a soldier, sailor, airmen or marine. They are becoming students once again. However, their time in school does not have to be spent alone. For student veterans at Hodges University, the Dr. Peter Thomas Veterans Services Center (VSC) offers a variety of services to help ease the difficulty of transitioning and make life as a student and civilian much easier.

“One of the biggest challenges our student veterans face is finding a sense of belonging and purpose,” said Christine Manson, director of Hodges’ VSC. “Many of them miss the camaraderie they had while in the service, and they are just trying to figure out their next step.”

The mission of the VSC is to provide a welcoming and informative environment where student veterans and dependents receive support for funding their education and adjusting to student and civilian life. Manson and her staff, which includes Leticia Pizzaro Padilla, manager of the VSC, as well as three Veterans Association (VA) work-study students, provide personalized service to each individual who visits the VSC. Through events and resources, the VSC is able to accomplish its mission of serving student veterans such as Edward Davis, who is also a VSC work-study. “[The VSC] helped with my transition by keeping me updated on events to attend. Meeting with other veterans was important to me because it gave me a group of people to communicate with who can relate to what I’d been through in my seven years in the Army,” Davis said.

In 2016, Hodges received two recognitions for its commitment to student veterans. The university was designated a 2016 Military Friendly School, and it was named to the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2016.

“At the VSC, we offer three types of services: educating students on their Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, resources and referrals, and a professional mentorship program,” Manson said.

Educating Students on VA Benefits
When students arrive in the VSC, many are unsure of their available benefits. Staff members assist students in the process of applying, transferring and monitoring benefits. Student veterans who qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the 100 percent benefit level receive $21,970.46 per year for schooling. “The VSC helped me have a smooth transition from the military to civilian life by helping me apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. I was stationed in Korea when I first started working with the VSC to get my benefits started. Once I got out of the Army, I didn’t have to waste any time before I started school because the VSC had all my school benefits ready to go,” said Davis. In addition, Hodges is a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which increases the tuition and fees benefit to just under $28,000 per academic year. Hodges also contributes up to $3,000, and the VA will match whatever we contribute to tuition and fees.

“Hodges also offers a tuition discount of $100 off per credit hour for veterans who are not eligible for VA education benefits or additional tuition discounts. The level of educational benefit eligibility is based on the amount of time spent in the service. It falls between 40 percent and 100 percent,” Manson explained.

As well as tuition and fees, student veterans who qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill may receive a monthly housing allowance, which is determined by the percentage of benefit level, course type and rate of pursuit. “Students who have 100 percent Post-9/11 benefits and attend classes on campus full time receive $1,692 per month for their housing allowance. Online students attending full time with the same percentage of benefits receive $805.50 for their monthly allowance,” said Manson.

Resources and Referrals
Apart from educational assistance, VSC staff work with student veterans dealing with transitional issues such as finances, mental health and job information. Partnering with internal and external organizations within the community, VSC staff is able to point students in the right direction when they are seeking help.

“We work very closely with Hodges staff, including Dr. Marcia Turner, our dean of students, and Jama Thurman, our career services manager,” she said. From assisting with resumes to connecting student veterans with job opportunities, Hodges’ Career Services provides unlimited resources to put students on a path to career success.

“I have a list of students and alumni looking for jobs, and whenever I receive a job that meets their qualifications, I send them an email with the job information. So, when I hear about jobs for veterans, I look through my active job list and send the announcement to all the veterans I know who are seeking employment,” said Thurman.

One example of how impactful Thurman’s efforts can be to students is seen in Hodges alumnus Allen Franklin. “I applied 37 times to the Lee County School District without a single interview. She took the initiative to make contact with me in order to obtain a resume and to evaluate my goals for a career pertaining to my BSM. After a few minor adjustments, Jama worked tirelessly to ensure I was actively searching for employment to satisfy my needs,” Franklin explained. In February 2016, after receiving an email from Thurman about a position with the Social Security Administration, he applied and accepted the position two months later.

In addition to on-campus resources, the VSC works with outside agencies to assist Hodges’ student veterans. One of these agencies is the local Vet Center. With locations in Fort Myers and Naples, the Vet Center is a valuable resource for veterans and their dependents.

“Due to so many of our student veterans working to find their sense of belonging, the Vet Center can play an integral part in helping a transitioning veteran,” Manson explained. Providing physical locations for veterans and their dependents to visit, these Vet Centers also go mobile with a 34-foot RV, traveling to various locations to be of assistance.

In September and October 2016, Mobile Vet Centers visited the Fort Myers and Naples campuses to help veterans with their benefits, employment needs, counseling, suicide prevention referrals, PTSD and more. It is also worth noting all of the services provided are offered at no cost.

Mentorship Program
The newest program to be integrated into the VSC and its available resources is its mentorship program. “The mentorship program is the natural next step for these student veterans. It is a way to have an ally while in the pursuit of a new career,” Manson said.

Hodges’ VSC mentorship program allows individuals with a military background to serve as mentors to student veterans who may be experiencing a difficult time in transitioning from service to civilian life or simply want guidance and advice from a local professional. Due to the unique requirements and tailored skills an individual learns while in the service, it can be difficult to translate those to the civilian world. Manson explained, “Many people think it is easy to walk into a veteran-friendly business or organization and get a job, but it’s not that simple.”

The program also serves to provide the student with at least one individual who can help with networking and serve as a referral when applying for jobs.

In connecting a student with a veteran who has “made it,” it creates a sense of encouragement, allowing the student to connect with someone who understands the difficulties of transitioning. The program provides assurance to the participants that they are valued in the community and have a bright future ahead.

“In the beginning, the mentor and mentee need to commit to meeting on a regular basis; however, as with any mentorship program, the need to meet as often should decrease over time,” she said.

In addition to the many resources provided by the VSC, starting in winter 2017, student veterans will have the opportunity to become a certified peer support specialist. According to Manson, William Enslen, professor in the applied psychology program, will teach Adjustment from Deployment to Civilian Life and Becoming a Veteran Peer Specialist. Each course is two credit hours. The curriculum totals 40 clock hours, which is the required number of training hours to become a certified peer support specialist. Students are encouraged to contact the VSC to see if VA education benefits can be used toward these classes.

“We live in a true vet-friendly community, and we are fortunate to have so many organizations who support what we do and who want to help our student veterans,” said Manson.

Important Action All Website Owners Should Take As Soon As Practical

Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.: Important Action All Website Owners Should Take As Soon As Practical

By on

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) any website that allows site users to post content, including anything such as comments, reviews or videos is considered a “Service Provider.” A Service Provider is potentially exposed to copyright infringement liability based on content posted by site users. However, the DMCA also offers a Safe Harbor that, under certain conditions, can insulate Service Providers from third-party copyright infringement claims based on such user-generated content.

To qualify for protection under this Safe Harbor, the Service Provider must meet certain conditions:

  1. the Service Provider must not know about or participate in the infringing conduct and cannot benefit from that infringement;
  2. the Service Provider must promptly remove any infringing content once it discovers same, either on its own discovery or by notice from a third-party; and,
  3. to qualify for the Safe Harbor, a Service Provider must designate an agent to receive notice of copyright infringement claims and must register the identity of that agent with the U.S. Copyright Office.

New Law

Effective December 1, 2016, the Copyright Office introduced a new online registration portal for Service Providers to designate their DMCA agent. All new designations must be done online. However, of utmost importance to existing Service Providers, any Service Providers who previously designated agents via the old paper forms must re-register and re-designate their agent by this online system. In order to maintain protection under the DMCA Safe Harbor these re-designations must be accomplished by December 31, 2017.

Action Steps

This change in the DMCA signals an opportunity for Service Providers to re-examine their website terms of use and notification provisions as well as to ensure proper identification of DMCA claims agents. If your organization would like to discuss these changes and website policy reviews, please contact Mark Nieds at 239-344-1153 or by email at

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degrees Can Make a Powerful Impact

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degrees Can Make a Powerful Impact
By Nicole Roe, Marketing & Strategic Content Writer, Hodges University

To the young girl facing anxiety, to the man struggling to deal with financial obligations, to the woman desperate to resolve marital issues, and to the couple needing help with their child’s behavior, you are not alone. The struggles of today are real, and the benefits of a degree in clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) are many – all of which serve to impact the lives of others.

According to the American Mental Health Counselors Association, “Clinical mental health counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training and clinical practice. Clinical mental health counselors are highly skilled professionals who provide flexible, consumer-oriented therapy.”[1]

At Hodges University, students who enroll in the clinical mental health counseling graduate program receive the necessary knowledge and skills to work with individuals, families, groups and the community. While specializations vary with each student, the program prepares graduates and assists them in becoming eligible for licensure as a mental health counselor in Florida.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of mental health counselors is projected to grow 20 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.” Additionally, the mental health counseling profession is expected to grow 27 percent in the State of Florida.[2]

Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Although it is important to recognize and understand counseling is about helping and making a difference in the lives of others, prior to entering the program, students should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Am I looking for a job that provides variety and challenges?
  • Do I enjoy sorting out, understanding and addressing challenges?
  • Is it my desire to help improve the community and its members?
  • Is my ultimate goal to receive professional licensure and establish myself in a counseling career?

Students who answer “yes” to the above questions can expect to receive instruction that will help to build professional identities and skill sets, as well as awareness to professional ethics. In addition, professors in the CMHC program are experts in their fields. Our professors offer their expertise through speaking engagements and community participation. According to Dr. Mary Nuosce, dean of the Nichols School of Professional Studies at Hodges, during the past academic year, our professors presented on the topics of emotional intelligence, solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing approaches, training bilingual counselors and LGBTQ ally development. In September 2016, Dr. Tom Hofmann, professor of clinical mental health counseling at Hodges, participated in a podcast with The Thoughtful Counselor titled, “Strength-Based Counseling in a Symptom-Based World: A Conversation with Thomas Hofmann.”[3]

Adhering to an experiential style of teaching and learning, Dr. Amber Pope, program chair for CMHC at Hodges, says, “Our goal is to teach through experiences and stretch the comfort zones of our students.” Describing stress management workshops her students delivered to parents at Early Childhood Learning Services, Pope added, “This is a type of opportunity where students can use what they have learned in class and put it into action within the community. It’s a reminder of why they chose this field and they are doing something impactful.”

In an annual report to stakeholders, as of September 2016, Pope reported since the program’s inception in 2011, “44 students have graduated from the program and more than 90 percent our alumni, who were seeking employment as counselors, have acquired full- or part-time employment in a counseling-related area.”[4]

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Online
In January 2017, students will have the opportunity to enroll in the clinical mental health counseling online program. Providing the same level of education and learning, the online program will allow a greater level of access for students who are unable to attend classes on campus. Courses will contain:

  • Four synchronous sessions lasting 2.5 hours each
  • Each core and clinical course will require an 8-hour residency one weekend each semester, which will require students to attend on campus

In order to participate in the experiential learning activities that are a foundation of the program, students will be required to attend on-site residencies, as practice is essential for the development of master’s level knowledge and skill.

In a survey conducted by current clinical mental health counseling faculty at Hodges, local professionals and national mental health counseling programs believe their students and employees, who are not currently enrolled in a master’s program, would be interested in attending Hodges’ CMHC online program. By offering a completely online program, it would serve as the only accredited online CMHC program fulfilling the need in the state of Florida.

Diversity Efforts in Bilingual Therapy
In addition to the launch of the online program in January 2017, Hodges CMHC faculty members are currently researching and conducting research in an effort to develop strategies to improve education for Hodges’ bilingual students who wish to pursue bilingual therapy.

“We live in a community where, once you become a therapist, it is a strong possibility your clientele will not be native English speakers,” said Liana Calderin, applied psychology adjunct faculty member at Hodges. ““There are two bilingual groups: those who speak English and learn Spanish, and those who speak Spanish and learn English. It is much more than learning the language, their culture and background play a large role.”

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Careers
As students become more engaged in the program, participating in internships and serving learning opportunities, they begin to understand how useful a clinical mental health counseling degree can be when determining a career. Some examples of potential careers include:

  • Child Therapy
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Mental health counselor
  • Family counselor
  • Career counselor
  • Life coach

In an article titled, “Celebrating 40 Years of AMHCA By Asking: How Do CMHCs Differ?” Dr. A. Keith Mobley, LPCS, NCC, ACSA and American Mental Health Counselors Association president explained, “Although all professional counselors share the same philosophies, training, and even licenses within a specific state, we don’t all practice with the same issues, diagnoses or treatments. CMHCs are also in quite different behavioral health and managed care settings – ones that require unique knowledge, skills and behaviors – than many of our counseling colleagues. We are similar, but not the same, as all professional counselors.”[5]

[1] Facts About Clinical Mental Health Counselors. American Mental Health Counselors Association.


[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, on the Internet at (visited June 30, 2016).

[3] Shook, M. (Producer). (2016, September 23). Strength-Based Counseling in a Symptom-Based World: A Conversation with Thomas Hofmann [Audio Podcast]. The Thoughtful Counselor. Retrieved from


[4] Pope, Amber. “Annual Report to our Stakeholders and Interested Others.” September 1, 2016.

[5] Mobley, A. Keith. “Celebrating 40 Years of AMHCA By Asking: How Do CMHCs Differ?” The Advocate Magazine. May 2016.


What is Branded Content?

What is Branded Content?
An effective tactic for getting in front of audiences when they’re most receptive

 A Seamless Approach ndn-picture
Your message, which may take the form of an article, a video, or an interactive piece, is presented in the style and context of surrounding content, making it more relevant and less intrusive.

Connect In-Depth
Branded content affords you the opportunity to inspire, inform and entertain your audience, engaging them in ways that build brand affinity. The best branded content is so compelling viewers share it, expanding the scope of your messaging in an organic way.

Our Way
In partnering with us, your branded content benefits from the credibility of Naples Daily News. And we work to ensure your message gets in front of the right audience at the right time across the best platforms.

To learn more about telling your organization’s story on, contact your Daily News account executive or call 239-213-6000.


Joined in Health

Joined in Health

After 100 years of caring for the community, Lee Memorial Health System is now Lee Health. While we are still caring people, caring for people building on our legacy of leading-edge, compassionate, patient-centered care, we are ready to begin our second century of caring for Southwest Florida as Caring People. Inspiring Health. This new name signifies an increased awareness of our role in improving the health and well-being of the residents and visitors of Southwest Florida. Lee Health, however, is not just a new name—it brings with it powerful aspirations and a renewed purpose.

The transition to Lee Health reflects our commitment to the future of health care delivery—locally and nationally. The United States’ health care system has become the most expensive repair-center focused health system in the world. But, there is a shift now to healthier lifestyles, more prevention, chronic care management, health education and improved coordination of care that transcends hospitalizations. The vision for Lee Health is one that embraces positive change and innovation in order to help everyone in our community live healthier, more active lives.

In recent years we have invested in strengthening our community’s health through Healthy Lee—Lee County’s impressive community collaborative that is focused on education, coordination of care, prevention and improving the overall health and well-being of our community. Through Healthy Lee, more than 300 organizations and thousands of local residents have gained access to education, inspiration and opportunities to improve personal and community health.

The Healthy Life Center at Coconut Point, which is essentially a facility-based Healthy Lee, opened last December as a means to connect residents to valuable health screenings, lectures, programs and services, as well as appropriate health care providers. All of the offerings and activities available at the Healthy Life Center are designed to support and inspire healthy lifestyles, early detection of disease and chronic disease management. Our Outreach Team, which is made up of physicians and Lee Health staff, participate in health fairs at churches and in communities and businesses throughout Southwest Florida. They provide education, medical screenings and answer health-related questions.

We also have, in the past few years, implemented a variety of community programs—including “It’s All About You” chronic disease self-management program, the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program, the Lee Health Solutions Diabetes Self-Management Class and others have begun or are in the developmental stage—to empower people to take control of their own health. Additionally, support groups for a variety of conditions connect people with others who understand and can aid them in their health journey. Though not a new program, SHARE Club has helped thousands of residents age 50 and older maintain personal connections, socialize, stay active and remain engaged, energized and healthy.

Now, moving forward as Lee Health, we have a renewed purpose kicking off our second century of service to be joined in health. This means that we have an even greater commitment to connecting with our community and creating a culture of healthy lifestyles throughout Southwest Florida.

8 “Must-Have” Technology Certifications to Benefit Your Future Career

8 “Must-Have” Technology Certifications to Benefit Your Future Career
By Nicole Roe, Marketing & Strategic Content Writer, Hodges University

Imagine a tripod. It has three legs, each of which relies on the other two to provide support. However, if one leg were to be removed, the stability of the tripod would be compromised. This is not to say that the tripod would be ineffective, but it would need the extra stability from the user to effectively work.

The same analogy applies to the technology field. Imagine possessing the education and experience, but not having the certifications to provide you the extra boost you need to reach your highest potential. The same applies to having the experience and certifications, but not the education. All three are crucial to achieving and maintaining a lucrative career in the field of technology.

According to the “HR Perception of IT Training and Certification Study” conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), “91 percent of employers believe IT certifications play a key role in the hiring process and that IT certifications are a reliable predictor of a successful employee.”[1] Additionally, the study suggests 92 percent of employers said, “IT certified individuals receive higher starting salaries than those without IT certifications.”

Hodges’ Tracey Lanham, professor and computer information technology program chair, believes there are at least five benefits to becoming certified, which include:

  • Demonstration of industry standard of knowledge
  • Employability
  • Position advancement
  • Wage advancement
  • Additional career opportunities

“Companies that hire specifically for positions including interaction with hardware, software, networking, cybersecurity and programming typically list a variety of certification requirements within the job listing. Technology companies are not the only businesses looking for applicants with certifications, but all industries hiring for IT positions generally provide a listing of preferred certification requirements,” Lanham explained.

Now that you have a better understanding of why you should be certified, here are 8 industry-recognized technology certifications to benefit your future career in the technology field:

  • CompTIA A+: Do you enjoy solving technical problems? If so, earning an A+ certification will enable you to work across multiple devices, providing support to users. In addition, you will possess the knowledge to program, problem solve and support your company’s IT department.
  • CompTIA Network+ (Net+): A Network+ certification provides you with the tools and knowledge you need to manage and troubleshoot various network devices and developing technologies. The S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states, “employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow eight percent from 2014-2024…Demand for information technology workers is high and should continue to grow as firms invest in newer, faster technology and mobile networks.”[2]
  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS): Earning your MOS certification is a great way to display your proficiency in Microsoft Office programs to future employers. According to the Microsoft Productivity Survey conducted in 2012 by Certiport, “Microsoft Office Specialist certified employees gain valuable skills that improve their efficiency and productivity, encourage them to seek opportunities to perform more complex tasks and assist their co-workers, and enjoy more satisfaction in their employment.”[3]
  • CompTIA Security+: Businesses and organizations are always looking for qualified individuals to serve in IT security. Securing networks for safe data transmission and file storage are essential to the success and safety of a company. A Security+ certification will tell your employer you are equipped with the knowledge and tools to handle a network security crisis should one arise. In addition, you are prepared to detect potential security threats.
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA): If you are interested in working as a network administrator, a CCNA certification will help you in your pursuit. com reported network and computer systems administrators to be one of the top 10 best jobs in IT and engineering.[4] Hodges University offers courses in Internetwork Routing and Switching, as well as Local Area Network Routing & Switching to assist you in achieving your certification.
  • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP): Becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional will make you more competitive among other aspiring IT professionals. In a White Paper sponsored by Microsoft and IDC, Anderson Cushing and John F. Gantz stated, “Five times as many high-growth/high-salary positions require experience with Office than all non-Microsoft software skills combined.”[5]
  • CompTIA Linux+: Are you familiar with Linux operating systems? If so, earning your Linux+ certification will provide you with opportunities to earn more advanced Linux+ certifications. A Linux+ certification proves you are knowledgeable in areas of the Linux operation system such as configuration, security and hardware. In the computer information technology bachelor’s program at Hodges, the course Linux System and Security Administration is offered to students following the networking track.
  • C++: According to the C++ Institute’s explanation as to why it is important to be certified, “It is becoming more and more important to showcase and validate your knowledge, especially when you’re looking for a new job and have to compete on the job market with dozens or even hundreds of other applicants.”[6] While Hodges does not offer the C++ certification exam as part of the degree curriculum, students who successfully complete the advanced C++ course will have the knowledge to sit for the C++ certification exam.

[1] “5 Reasons Why Employers Look for IT Certifications,” CompTIA, (accessed September 28, 2016).

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Network and Computer Systems Administrators,
on the Internet at (visited September 28, 2016).

[3] Microsoft Office Specialist Productivity Survey, conducted by Certiport, 2012.

[4] “10 best jobs in IT and engineering,” Network World, Nov. 23, 2015.

[5] Cushing, Anderson and Gantz, John F. “Skills Requirements for Tomorrow’s Best Jobs: Helping Educators Provide Students with Skills and Tools They Need,” Microsoft and IDC. October 2013.

[6] Get certified and make an impact! C++ Institute.