The first meeting of the minds was held with Stacy Malinowski of Mustard Seed Ministries, Dr. James Roberts, and Larry Lee, Arlease Hall and James Harris, all of the St. Lucie County Health Department. To achieve their goal they:

  • Mobilized and formalized a comprehensive network of committed community partners that today still includes Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, St. Lucie Medical Center, Martin Health System, the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners, United Way of St. Lucie County, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, and at least 60 other partnering businesses, healthcare providers and area non-profits
  • Formed a Board of Directors
  • Joined the Volunteers in Medicine national organization
  • Obtained non-profit status from the Internal Revenue Service
  • Secured grants earmarked to assist in the development of the clinic
  • Hired an Executive Director
  • Found a location for the clinic, obtained building materials and contractor services
  • Held community-wide workshop to get citizen buy-in and involvement
  • Obtained staffing for the clinic, both volunteer and paid

Although it took time, perseverance and patience, the clinic opened on October 25, 2010, with six medical volunteers, five support volunteers and five paid employees. Nineteen months later, and under the leadership of Dr. James Strawn, HANDS opened its adult dental clinic, providing free dental services to qualified adults in the community.

In the fiscal year from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, $14.6 million in donated, in-kind services was provided to HANDS patients, thanks to the many collaborative partnerships shared between healthcare providers from across the state and HANDS. That commitment to the betterment of this community gives donors a $14.60 return on investment for each dollar donated.

The American healthcare landscape has been transformed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Yet, while this landmark law has expanded access to healthcare to millions of Americans, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 31-million will remain uninsured even following its full implementation. As a result, there will remain an urgent need for the lifesaving care provided by free and charitable clinics such as HANDS of St. Lucie County.



Paula Lewis – HANDS Board Secretary

Christopher Sanz – HANDS Board Chairman

Kathryn Hensley – HANDS Board Member

Patricia Alley – HANDS Board Member

Dr. Kenneth Palestrant – HANDS Board Member and Contributing Provider

Michael Brown Sr. – HANDS Board Treasurer

Douglas Baber – HANDS Board Member

(Not pictured)

Dr. Gerald Flores – HANDS Board member and Contributing Provider




HANDS of St. Lucie County provides primary healthcare services and access to a continuum of healthcare to qualified,
low-income, uninsured, adult residents of St. Lucie County.

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Dr. Kenneth Palestrant
Executive Director
Dr. James Roberts
Medical Director
Christine Iannotti
Director of Community Relations
Gerri Elliott
Volunteer Coordinator
Sherri Kaufman
Senior Volunteer
Joseph Holbrook
Nurse Practitioner
Jill Winland-Brown
Nurse Practitoner
Lori Spoor
Medical Clinic Supervisor
Medical Assistant
Medical Assistant
Ervin Valcin
Dental Hygienist/Pediatric Dental Coordinator
Patient Navigator
Patient Navigator
Patient Check-in
Patient Check Out
Patient Check Out
Carol Cassanova
Diabetes Educator