Brian Taschner, M.D. FACC
Diplomate, American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Dr. Taschner has been practicing Cardiology in his hometown of Fort Myers, Florida since 2005. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Florida where he was accepted into the Junior Honors Medical Program, and later graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1998. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Virginia Commonwealth University where he served as Chief Resident of Internal Medicine, and subsequently completed his Cardiology Fellowship at Saint Louis University where he was the Chief Cardiology Fellow.
Since returning to Fort Myers, Dr. Taschner has actively participated in the Southwest Florida Chapter of the American Heart Association. He served on the Executive Leadership Team for many years prior to co-chairing the Lee County Heartwalk in 2014. He completed a two-year term as President of the Board in 2019. In 2016, he was awarded with the Pascatto Golden Heart Award, honoring a physician in the community for clinical excellence and dedication to community service. He also served a six-year term on the Board of the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, and is currently serving as Secretary on the University of Florida Medical Alumni Board.
In 2014, Dr. Taschner began to shift his clinical focus to the effects of lifestyle changes on cardiovascular disease. He began a series of 10-day plant-based Jumpstart programs modeled after those seen in the Documentary Plantpure Nation, and was able to work closely with the film’s producer, Nelson Campbell, during the process.
In 2016 he completed a certificate program in Plant-Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. In 2019, in order to gain greater knowledge on comprehensive lifestyle change above and beyond nutrition, he became board-certified by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
Sonya B. Hayhurst
DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, BSN
Originally from New Jersey, Sonya was always involved in athletics, playing soccer and softball competitively. It wasn’t until she had to persevered through two knee surgeries, that she found her passion in life. Having her own personal experience with healthcare, inspired her educational pursuits. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of South. After working as a Registered Nurse, she decided to continue her education and graduated with her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Florida Gulf Coast University. Working arduous shifts while attending school also impacted her health. She experienced the difficulties of finding time to eat healthy. Along her own wellness journey she learned important lessons about balanced lifestyle choices and how to optimize one’s health by focusing on nutrition. She conducted her evidence-based practice research project on population level health initiatives related to nutrition.
As a Nurse Practitioner, she discovered the power of disease prevention through educating her patients on lifestyle modifications. A caregiver at heart, she always sought to secure the well being of others and strives to change the way the medical field is structured. She believes that by focusing on population level health, changing dietary habits and the food environment, the health of our nation can begin to improve. She enjoys counseling patients on nutrition and exercise to help them meet their personal wellness goals and optimize their health. Sonya aspires to redefine the healthcare system by leading the way in improving the dietary behaviors of our population.
Tess Pinto is a Registered Nurse who has been in practice in SWFL for over 10 years. She grew up in southern New Jersey and moved to Naples 16 years ago.
She graduated from Edison State College with an Associates Degree in Nursing in 2009 and returned to complete her Bachelors degree in Nursing in 2015.
She has covered the full spectrum of patient care throughout her nursing career. The first 4 years were spent working on a surgical unit that specialized in caring for patients who were recovering from open heart surgery. Subsequently, she worked as a nurse in the Cardiothoracic Surgery office, where she continued to care for these same patients once they were discharged from the hospital. Finally, she eventually transitioned to home health nursing. This allowed her to care for patients who were recovering in their homes, and also enabled her to spend more time with her family. As a home health nurse, Tess was also able to perform more hands-on guidance on healthy habits and lifestyle choices.
She eventually gained valuable administrative and leadership experience by acting as the home health Director of Nursing. In this role, she managed a large staff and oversaw all the clinical aspects of patient care. After having her third child, however, she decided to return to clinical home health nursing where she was again engaged in direct patient care.
Tess currently lives in Naples with her husband and three children. She cherishes spending time with her family and being outdoors as often as she can. Her regular exercise regimen includes running and attending bootcamp classes. She ran her first half marathon in 2019 (while three months pregnant).
She loves to cook and learn new recipes. When she graduated high school she was torn between going to nursing school or going to culinary school. She is excited now to be able to share her love for cooking with others and to educate on the benefits of a healthy diet.
Tess is sitting for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine boards in June, 2020.
Certified Personal Trainer
Salvatore Lacagnina, D.O.
Diplomate, American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Dr. Sal Lacagnina is a Diplomat of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine and is also board-certified in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Lacagnina served as the Medical Director for Wellness & Employee Health for the Lee Health system where his mission was to inspire, educate and empower people to improve their health and wellness.
Dr. Sal, as he likes to be called, worked for Lee Health (LH) from 1994 until 2010 as an Internal Medicine Specialist and also during this time he worked as the Medical Director for the Lee Physician group which now has over 700 physicians.
In addition to his role as the Medical Director for the LH Employee Health clinics he was the Medical Director for the Healthy Life Centers in Cape Coral, Ft. Myers and Babcock Ranch, Florida.
At Lee Health Dr. Sal was one of the champions responsible for developing a comprehensive health, wellness and preventive care program for more than 19,000 employees and family members.
His emphasis is on the prevention and reversal of cardio metabolic diseases, diabetes, weight management, cancer risk factor reduction and overall lifestyle medicine.
Dr. Sal earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM) in 1989, did a Osteopathic rotating internship at the University of Medicine & Dentistry in New Jersey (UMDNJ) and then completed an allopathic Internal Medicine residency at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1990-1993.
Since 2013 Dr. Sal has been writing a weekly column about health and wellness in The News-Press and a monthly column for the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Trends publication. He also speaks publicly throughout the South West Florida and nationally. He serves on the Board of Directors for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine as well as on the board for the Plantrician project.
Personally, Dr. Sal has lived in Florida since 1993 but is a New Yorker at heart. His family is originally from Sicily and Naples, Italy. He has three children, is an avid runner, a half-way descent tennis player, he enjoys dancing and loves all things Italian.
As of April 2020 Dr. Sal will be joining a private practice in Fort Myers focusing primarily on Lifestyle Medicine. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
NASM/Bootcamp Certified Trainer
Originally from Davenport, Iowa, I began my career in the health and wellness industry more than 30 years ago. I joined the US Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd airborne division, in Fort Bragg, NC. Upon completion of my 3-year tour of duty, I found my true calling as a fitness consultant helping clients achieve their fitness goals.
I wake up every day with a passion for fitness, working with clients to find their winning formula. As a lifestyle wellness coach, I create a fun, goal-driven environment while improving the quality of people’s lives. Combining functional fitness, nutrition and marrying it into their lifestyle, getting the best results in the shortest period of time.
- NASM Certified
- Bootcamp Certified
- Cross-Fit Level I
- Cross-Fit Level II
- Cross-Fit Mobility
- Cross-Fit Programming
- Corrective Exercise Specialist
- City of Cape Coral Wellness Program 10+ years
Designing successful programs for a wide variety of clients, including professional athletes, celebrities, national fitness champions and the real heroes, moms, dads and their kids.
Fun fact: I played Tarzan in the Tarzan Rocks show at Disney World.
Creed to Live By: Don’t Limit Your Challenges, Challenge Your Limits!!
Vegan Chef/Health Coach/Yoga Teacher
Lisa Brown, founder of Free Flowing Health, is a Registered Yoga Teacher with over 500 hours of accumulated study, an Institute for Integrative Nutrition Certified Health Coach, and a Natural Gourmet Institute Vegan Chef. She holds a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College. Born and raised in NYC, Lisa spent her younger years living life in the fast lane. Working as a full-time EMT while in college, coupled with a poor diet, lots of stress, and little to no sleep left Lisa running on empty with a number of health issues, including a severe back injury. After turning to yoga for physical rehabilitation and adjusting her lifestyle, diet, and mindset, Lisa experienced deep and long-lasting healing on all levels of being. After her own personal journey of self-discovery and transformation, Lisa’s quest for knowledge, passion for healthy living, and deep desire to be of service to others was insatiable. Today, Lisa combines her work as a Vegan Chef, Health Coach, & Yoga Teacher to help people from all walks of life achieve greater levels of health, happiness and harmony.
Silvia Caswell, DO
Silvia Caswell, DO is a general practitioner, originally from Brazil. She completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology with Health emphasis from the University of Utah in 2015. Subsequently, she obtained her osteopathic medical degree from Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM) in North Carolina and finished one year of Family Medicine training with Florida State University/Lee Health, emphasizing in Lifestyle Medicine.
During her second year of medical school, Dr. Caswell was the founding President of the Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group at CUSOM and for two years, she was involved with the Lifestyle Medicine Residency Curriculum development team through collaboration efforts between the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), LMEd, and Loma Linda University. She received grants two years in a row based on her community outreach projects, some involving the local county health department, and worked as Vice President of Communications with the ACLM-Trainees Executive Board in 2019, growing its social media accounts by educating and engaging healthcare professionals-in-training around the country to emphasize prevention in the populations whom they serve. Additionally, she worked on a national committee team for the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) by recognizing top Preventive Medicine physicians in the United States.
Lastly, Dr. Caswell has taught high intensity interval training (HIIT) group fitness classes for all fitness levels and is currently certified through the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Her hobbies include working out, cooking whole-food plant-based meals, playing board games, watching comedies, going to the beach, and spending time with her three children and husband. Her professional interests, in addition to Lifestyle Medicine, include Preventive Medicine, Public Health, Integrative Medicine, Obesity Medicine, and Women’s Health. She is currently a member of the American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and American College of Preventive Medicine.