Health Science Center Distinctions (Sept. 2010)


Andrew M. Kaunitz, M.D., a professor and associate chair of obstetrics and gynecology, was installed as president of the Florida Obstetric and Gynecologic Society at the group’s annual meeting held in August in Miami. The Florida Obstetric and Gynecologic Society is a nonprofit medical society that represents more than 900 physician and resident members and provides continuing education to advance patient care in the area of women’s health.

Robert A. Pelaia, J.D., senior university counsel for health affairs, is the co-project leader of the newly published Deciphering Codes: Fraud & Abuse for Coders and Coding Insights for Healthcare Lawyers. This unique publication is designed to help coders and attorneys understand and navigate health-care coding and the law. The manual discusses the nuances of coding, why proper coding is vital for health-care facilities and professionals, and the legal implications of improper coding. Pelaia is certified as a health-care law specialist and has been a certified professional coder since 1999.


Tetsuo Ashizawa, M.D., chair of the department of neurology, has been named the new executive director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute. Ashizawa replaces Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and authority in the field of regenerative medicine, who stepped down after six years in the post. The Brain Institute began in the early 1990s as a campuswide initiative to harness UF’s research, clinical care and educational skills to confront brain disorders.

Maureen M. Goodenow, Ph.D., the Stephany W. Holloway university chair in AIDS research and a professor of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine, chaired a pre-meeting workshop at the 28th International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria in July. The meeting and the workshop, focusing on HIV reservoirs that elude therapy, brought together researchers from around the world who study HIV from a variety of perspectives, including molecular biology, phylogenetic analysis, behavioral science and clinical research. A month earlier, Goodenow participated in a National Institutes of Health Office of AIDS Research-sponsored workshop in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Steven J. Hughes, M.D., has been named the new chief of general surgery in the department of surgery. Hughes, who previously served as an associate professor of surgery in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine and as chief of gastrointestinal surgery at the institution’s medical center, began his new job at UF Aug. 2.

Amy Smith, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics and director of the UF Pediatric Brain Tumor Program, received a $125,000 infrastructure grant from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to help fund an innovative therapy program that will provide treatment options for young patients with rare forms of cancer or whose families have exhausted all traditional treatment options.


Hartmut Derendorf, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of pharmacy, has been named the 2010 American College of Clinical Pharmacology Distinguished Investigator. This prestigious annual award recognizes superior scientific expertise and accomplishments by a senior investigator whose work in basic or clinical pharmacology is internationally renowned. Derendorf was honored Sept. 12 at the 39th annual ACCP meeting in Baltimore for his outstanding research on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of corticosteroids, analgesics and antibiotics, and also for drug interactions.


Ronald Rozensky, Ph.D., associate dean for international affairs and a professor in the department of clinical and health psychology, received the Joseph Matarazzo Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in Academic Health Centers from the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers. The award recognizes exceptional senior psychologists who have made substantial contributions to psychology in academic health centers.

Michelle Troche, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, a clinical assistant professor in the department of speech, language and hearing sciences, presented her dissertation work, titled “Attentional Resource Allocation and Swallow Function in Parkinson’s Disease,” at the Integrative Neural Systems Underlying Vital Aerodigestive Tract Functions Conference in Madison, Wis., in June. She received a merit-based minority travel scholarship to support her research.

Laura Zahodne, a doctoral student in the department of clinical and health psychology, received the Walter G. McMillen Memorial Award for Parkinson’s Disease Research from the American Psychological Association’s Division of Adult Development and Aging. She was recognized at the association’s annual convention in San Diego in August. It is the second time in three years that a UF clinical and health psychology graduate student has been selected for the award. Ania Mikos received the first McMillen award in 2008.


Tara Creel Anderson, D.V.M., M.P.H., a graduate student in the college, has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions department of epidemiology and biostatistics. The award was made in honor of Anderson’s professional practice and exceptional leadership in the advancement of the health professions. Anderson will be honored Oct. 16 during PHHP’s reunion activities.

Paul Gibbs, B.V.Sc., Ph.D., a veterinarian and virologist in the department of infectious diseases and pathology, has been named associate dean for students and instruction at the college. Gibbs has served as a member of UF’s veterinary faculty since 1979, when he became a founding member. He has been a full professor in the college since 1981 and also holds joint appointments with the College of Medicine’s department of molecular genetics and microbiology as well as with the College of Public Health and Health Professions’ department of environmental and global health.

And the apple goes to …

Michael Tuccelli, Ed.D., a senior lecturer in the department of speech, language and hearing sciences, was named the 2010 College of Public Health and Health Professions’ Teacher of the Year. A member of the UF faculty since 1995, Tuccelli teaches American Sign Language I, II and III, and he developed the university’s first American Sign Language courses offered for credit. Dean Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., presented the award to Tuccelli at the college’s commencement ceremony in May. “Dr. Tuccelli’s extraordinary talents as a teacher are fundamentally based on his own excitement for teaching,” Perri said.