With a medical career that has taken them across the United States, Dr. Dana and Connie Kellis view their move to Florida as another opportunity to get to know a new community and explore all that it has to offer. Even though their family is scattered across the country, they’re pleased to now call Florida home and it’s our pleasure to welcome them to the United Way Suncoast family as new Tocqueville Society members.
Natives of California (Connie) and Arizona (Dana), they met when both were attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where Connie graduated with a degree in Spanish and Dana received a BS in chemistry. Medical school took them to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri then on to Phoenix, Arizona for a residency in internal medicine.
Dana started his medical practice in Tucson, Arizona but an interest in administrative medicine led to an MBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and then on to successive positions with hospitals and then health systems in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas and now Florida where Dana serves as the Senior Vice President/Chief Medical Officer – Hospital Division for BayCare Health System. Along the way, Dana also picked up a PhD in Health Care Leadership from Pennsylvania State University.
Since moving to Florida approximately 2 ½ years ago, Dana and Connie have been pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it is, how friendly everyone has been and how easy it is to live in such a large metropolitan area. As Dana noted, “Florida’s gorgeous sunsets, its beautiful and active wildlife and birds, its quick access to pristine beaches, fascinating museums, state parks, sports and so on make this area difficult to surpass in terms of beauty, comfort and affordability.”
Connie is an accomplished seamstress and musician – directing their church choir and participating in several musical groups – while Dana enjoys the outdoors, photography and other hobbies. They’re quick to add, however, that their greatest priority is family. With none of their seven children and ten grandchildren living in Florida, many weekends find them traveling to spend time with them.
As twenty-year United Way donors and supporters of numerous other organizations, giving back to others is an integral part of their lives. As Dana shared, “Our faith is the center of our lives, and is the source of our energy and desire to make a positive difference in the world we’re in. We enjoy serving the community and giving back resources and blessings we’ve enjoyed as a family.” Dana has started and worked in free medical clinics, traveled on medical missions to Central America and been part of clean-up crews after hurricanes Irma and Michael. They’ve held positions with various nonprofit organizations and support charities focused on refugees, prisoners, animal shelters, healthcare for the underserved and disaster relief.
Supporting United Way is just another part of Dana and Connie’s larger commitment to doing what they can to make our community a better place to live for everyone. As Dana stated, “We’re long-time supporters of United Way and have appreciated its efforts on behalf of our local community wherever we happen to be living. It’s comforting as a donor to know that funds go to where they can make a difference, and that there is a high level of accountability.”
Through their support of United Way and other organizations, Dana and Connie are part of a community that’s committed to creating positive change. We’re grateful to Dana and Connie for their generous support and are pleased to welcome them to the United Way Suncoast Tocqueville Society.