2018 in Review: Reflecting on Our Achievements, Part 1
2018 was a year to remember, as evidenced by the many great accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students. Read on for highlights from each of our health colleges and our hospital systems. (More news of note, from our research centers and institutes, will follow in the next installment.) Thank you as always for all you do to make a true difference in people’s lives!
A. Isabel Garcia, DDS, MPH
Dean, UF College of Dentistry
During 2018, UF College of Dentistry continued to grow and prosper in all of its missions — dental education, research and patient care — thanks to the excellence of our faculty, staff, students, residents and support from alumni and friends.
- Gathering extensive input, the college finalized a new strategic plan outlining key priorities and actions that will further advance our standing as one of the nation’s premier graduate and postgraduate schools of dentistry.
- During 2018, 91 students graduated from the D.M.D. program and 100 percent who applied to advanced education programs matched in the Postdoctoral Dental Matching Program for Match 1.
- While applicants to U.S. dental schools declined slightly, our college saw a 5 percent increase in D.M.D. applicants, with more than 1,500 applicants for 93 available positions.
- D.M.D. students and organizations shone nationally for their research. Emma Domingoes, D.M.D. class of 2019, received an American Association for Dental Research, or AADR, travel award to attend the IADR meeting in London. The UF AADR student group received the 2018 Outstanding Local Student Research Group Award.
- During 2018, 59 dentists graduated from our advanced education and specialty programs.
- The UF College of Dentistry is one of three U.S. dental schools with programs in all specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, affording us the opportunity to provide a complete array of multispecialty and collaborative care.
- The college received more than 1,000 applications for 54 available advanced education/residency positions.
Oral Health Research
- With over $13 million in contracts and grants (81 percent from the National Institutes of Health), the college moved into 5th place in NIH funding among all U.S. dental schools, according to the Blue Ridge Institute.
- Our Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology received a William J. Gies Award for Vision, Innovation and Achievement during the American Dental Education Association Annual Meeting in March 2018.
- Through this NIH-funded program, the college currently supports five D.M.D.-Ph.D. students and 18 research fellows.
Patient Care & Service
- UF College of Dentistry students, residents and faculty completed more than 142,000 patient visits through the UF Statewide Network for Community Oral Health, serving patients from all 67 counties in Florida.
- The college continues to deliver oral health care to the neediest people in the state. Through a gift from the American Dental Partners Foundation and Christie Dental, a group of dental faculty and students spent the third weekend in December in Callaway, Florida, a community devastated by Hurricane Matthew. In two days, they provided oral health care for 230 patients in a temporary facility erected in a parking lot, alongside other health professionals who also provided free care.
- During 2018, the college hired 14 new faculty with a tremendous array of expertise, including research, in six different clinical/specialty areas.
- Four faculty received national awards and two were appointed to serve roles on prestigious national committees focused on pain management and opioids, and cardiology.
Diversity & Inclusion
- For the fourth consecutive year, the college received a Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, or HEED, from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine — the only UF college to receive this award.
- We established the new Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion to place an emphasis on student advocacy efforts and promoting diversity — a focus that aligns with UF priorities.
Joseph A. Tyndall, M.D., M.P.H.
Interim Dean, UF College of Medicine
College continues strong momentum throughout 2018
The UF College of Medicine faculty, students and staff maintained the strong momentum we have gained over the past few years. We welcomed nationally prominent leaders to our faculty in 2018, including Nina Multak, Ph.D., as director of the School of Physician Assistant Studies in January, and Abel Torres, M.D., J.D., M.B.A., who joined us in July to lead the department of dermatology. John Smulian, M.D., M.P.H., was recruited to serve as chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology. UF neurosurgeon Brian Hoh, M.D., was named chair of the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery, and UF cardiologist Jamie Conti, M.D., was named chair of the department of medicine after serving as interim chair since January 2018. In addition, we welcomed 166 new faculty to the College of Medicine — 130 in the multiple-mission track and 36 tenure track and single-mission faculty, 68 of whom were women and 98 men.
For the second consecutive year, funding from the National Institutes of Health to the College of Medicine faculty crossed the $100 million mark. The increase in funding included one new research center, two new institutional training grants and 27 new research projects.
We adapted to increased demand for our patient care services, opening the newest multispecialty facility at UF Health Springhill in August. The four-story, 72,000 square-foot building, located in Northwest Gainesville, houses multiple practices and services to better care for our community. The Faculty Group Practice patient visit volume has increased by over 40 percent in the past five years and is projected to reach approximately 916,340 for 2019.
Our medical education program was ranked No. 1 in the state of Florida again by U.S. News & World Report and No. 17 among the nation’s public medical schools. In 2018, 28 percent of our UF medical school graduates were selected for residency training programs at top 10 medical schools. Our physician assistant graduates again achieved a 100 percent pass rate on their national examination. We welcomed 62 graduate students to our master’s programs and 61 to our Ph.D. programs. In July, Mary Patterson, M.D., M.Ed., joined our college as the Lou Oberndorf endowed professor and director of the UF Center for Simulation and Experiential Learning. Thomas A. Pearson, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., was appointed director of M.D.-Ph.D. program, and Julia Close, M.D., was named associate dean of graduate medical education and the designated institutional official for UF Health’s graduate medical education programs in Gainesville.
Finally, we congratulate Kyle Rarey, Ph.D., for receiving the 2018 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, one of the most prestigious awards given by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., MHSA, FACEP, C.P.E.
Vice President for Health Affairs, UF
Dean, College of Medicine – Jacksonville
CEO, UF Health Jacksonville
UF Health Jacksonville and the College of Medicine – Jacksonville had an exciting 2018. Guided by our mission “to heal, to comfort, to educate and to discover,” we celebrated achievements in all of these areas and look forward to reaching greater heights in 2019.
UF Health TraumaOne Receives National Recognition
In August, UF Health TraumaOne received official verification from the American College of Surgeons, a distinction given only to trauma centers that meet the most stringent criteria. The closest verified Level I trauma centers in Florida are in Tampa and Miami. Opened in 1983, UF Health TraumaOne was Florida’s first trauma center.
North Hospital Turns a Year Old
May marked the first anniversary of the opening of the 92-bed UF Health North bed tower, becoming North Jacksonville’s only full-service hospital. The first anniversary of the opening of the labor and delivery unit followed three months later in August.
UF Health Jacksonville received two clinical awards and has been ranked as one of the top hospitals in multiple areas of care in the latest report released by Healthgrades. Among UF Health Jacksonville’s achievements are clinical quality awards in cranial neurosurgery and critical care. UF Health Jacksonville achieved 5-star ratings in esophageal/stomach surgery, heart failure, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke.
U.S. News & World Report
UF Health Jacksonville was recognized for high performance in three specialties and for the care of patients in two key areas in the latest U.S. News & World Report. Highlighting the organization’s achievements are three high-performing specialties: diabetes and endocrinology, nephrology and orthopaedics. UF Health Jacksonville was also singled out in the report as high-performing for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure.
UF Health Wildlight
UF Health broke ground in August on a medical office building in Wildlight, a new community under development in Nassau County. The facility will include primary care, urgent care, imaging services, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, mental health services, dentistry and a laboratory. This is the first step in a strategic health alliance between UF Health, the University of Florida and Raydient Places + Properties that will bring a new style of healthy living to the region.
UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North received seven 2018 Excellence in Healthcare awards from Professional Research Consultants Inc. The UF Health Jacksonville inpatient behavioral health unit received a Top Performer Award for scoring in the 100th percentile of PRC’s national client database. Units at both hospitals received 5-Star Awards — five in all — for scoring in the top 10 percent or above the 90th percentile. UF Health North’s inpatient units received a 4-Star Award for scoring above the top 75th percentile.
New Leaders at UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville
- Darrell WuDunn, M.D., Ph.D., joined the college as chair of ophthalmology. He previously held appointments in Indianapolis at IU Health University Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children, Eskenazi Health and the Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
- Paul Mongan, M.D., a professor of anesthesiology, was selected as the department’s new chair. Before joining the college in 2016, he previously served as chair of anesthesiology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
- K.C. Balaji, M.D., joined the college as the new chair of urology. He came from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he served as a professor of urology and cancer biology.
- Alex Parker, Ph.D., joined the college as senior associate dean for research. Dr. Parker came from Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, where he was a professor of epidemiology and urology, and held several leadership positions, including vice chair of health sciences research and associate director of the Center for Individualized Medicine.
- Chandana “Sandy” Lall, M.D., M.B.A., FSAR, joined the college as chair of radiology. Dr. Lall came from the University of California, Irvine, where she served as a professor and vice chair of radiological sciences, director of abdominal imaging and director of the abdominal imaging fellowship program.
Graduate Medical Education
More than 120 resident physicians and fellows completed training programs at the UF COMJ. The college welcomed nearly 100 new residents and 33 new fellows. Also in 2018, three new training programs received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education: child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship, integrated diagnostic and interventional radiology residency, and rheumatology fellowship.
The Jacksonville Aging Studies Center, or JAX-ASCENT, opened last year thanks to a five-year award from the National Institutes of Health. The center serves as a hub for behavioral, nutritional and pharmacologic clinical trials targeting adults 60 and older. Researchers will also study social determinants of health that contribute to chronic diseases and functional decline. JAX-ASCENT provides an integrative physical and intellectual environment in which trainees and scientists from diverse disciplines can interact and conduct clinical and behavioral translational research.
Transcending Barriers through Telemedicine
UF Health Jacksonville is expanding care for patients with HIV through the use of telemedicine, thanks to a $2.2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The three-year grant allows patients who are currently seen in person within the UF Health system to use computers, tablets and even smartphones for consultations with physicians and other caregivers. This particular project is the first of its kind nationally to receive CDC funding.
A Culturally Sensitive Approach to Weight Loss
UF and UF Health researchers received a $2.1 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to conduct a study targeting obesity among black women. Black women have the highest incidence of obesity in the United States; however, they have been underrepresented in weight-loss trials and weight-loss maintenance studies. The program, called Health-Smart, encourages dieting, healthy food choices and exercise. Cultural beliefs about weight are also addressed.
- In August, UF Health Family Medicine – North opened on the UF Health North campus. The number of UF Health family medicine and pediatric practices in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia has grown from 18 offices in 2011 to more than 30 in 2018.
- The UF Health Comprehensive Spine Center – North celebrated its grand opening on the UF Health North campus in May. UF Health neurosurgeons offer a wide range of treatment options for all types of spine disorders.
- UF Health Jacksonville opened its new Epilepsy Wellness Center this year. Part of the UF Health Neuroscience Institute, the center is used to simultaneously address many of the social and psychological needs of epilepsy patients during the course of their clinical visit.
The Jacksonville City Council approved Mayor Lenny Curry’s new budget that includes a $120 million multi-year allocation for infrastructural improvements on the UF Health Jacksonville campus, with $15 million of it being available this fiscal year.
- In March, we will open UF Health Family Medicine and Pediatrics – Nocatee in St. Johns County. We will also open a new primary care practice in western Duval County later in the year.
- In April, we will break ground on a wellness center in the Wildlight community. The 35,000-square-foot facility will house UF Health rehabilitation services and a YMCA.
John Davis, M.D., joined the College of Medicine – Jacksonville in January 2019 as chair of obstetrics and gynecology. He most recently served as interim chair and residency program director for obstetrics and gynecology in Gainesville.
We are proud of all we have accomplished over the last 12 months. We look forward to continuing to implement our five-year strategic plan as we work to achieve our vision “to be the region’s most valued health care asset.”
College of Nursing
Anna McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor
UF College of Nursing
At the College of Nursing, we are committed to elevating our status as a national and international leader in nursing education, research and patient care. We are fortunate that we were able to celebrate many accomplishments last year that has allowed us to not only take the necessary steps to continue our advancement as a top college of nursing but to also take a moment to dream big about the future.
Administration and Operations
- Brian Holland, Ph.D., R.N., was appointed the associate dean for academic affairs in May. Holland came to UF from the Texas A&M College of Nursing, where he served as assistant dean for undergraduate studies.
- The college hired nine new faculty members, with plans to hire 13 more, including two at the Jacksonville campus.
- The college implemented a new five-year strategic plan that is bold, inspiring and sets an innovative, competitive and lucrative roadmap for the future of our college.
- The college secured $3.1 million in private support and is currently more than halfway toward its goal of $22 million for the Go Greater Capital Campaign.
- The undergraduate B.S.N. curriculum was transformed to prepare nurses who will use clinical reasoning skills and become leaders in health care. Courses were developed using the concepts from the college’s tripartite motto — Care, Lead, Inspire — and were implemented for the traditional junior cohort in the fall.
- The college secured initial funding and took the first step with an architectural firm to produce artist renderings and plans to renovate the existing Nursing Resource Center. The new Innovation and Learning Lab will house simulation bays, a debriefing room, procedure areas, a skills lab and a design studio.
- The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree was ranked No. 1 in the state and tied for No. 28 in the U.S.
- The college is ranked in the top 30 of public universities for NIH research funding.
- Several College of Nursing researchers were awarded grants collaborating with interdisciplinary units across the university and nationally. These grants totaled approximately $22 million and include focus areas of cancer, HIV, neonates, healing outcomes, pain and dentistry.
- Archer Family Health Care, the college’s nurse-managed clinic in a rural, underserved town, received significant financial support from loyal donors. The $275,000 commitment will provide much-needed updates, equipment, software and salaries for AFHC.
- Denise Schentrup, D.N.P., APRN, B.C., received the 2019 Nurse Practitioner State Award for Excellence from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Schentrup is the college’s associate dean for clinical affairs and clinical director of AFHC.
As UF takes aim at breaking through the rankings to become a Top 5 public institution, the College of Nursing is also poised to continue our acceleration among top nursing schools. Every day, we look for new ways to align our mission and vision with that of the university and UF Health. As the new year begins, I am looking forward to filling even more faculty researcher and teaching positions, enhancing our presence at the Jacksonville campus and educating the future leaders of the nursing profession.
College of Pharmacy
Julie Johnson, Pharm.D.
Dean and Distinguished Professor
Throughout 2018, the University of Florida College of Pharmacy embraced the idea of going greater to improve human health through our education, research and clinical care efforts. Our position as a national leader in multiple areas of pharmacy has allowed us to make significant contributions in health care and raise the profile of our college on the national stage.
The addition of 24 new faculty this year has helped the college expand its footprint in pharmacy. From offering new clinical services in pharmacogenomics and precision medicine to addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic through scientific discoveries, our college is better positioned to address some of the nation’s health challenges than ever before.
New faculty joined existing scholars in propelling the college to a record $19.6 million in research funding during fiscal year 2018. UF ranked among the Top 10 federally funded pharmacy colleges nationally by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in 2018, and new grants awarded this fall will likely move us into the Top 5 next year. The National Cancer Institute awarded a five-year, $16 million grant to establish a cancer health equity center at UF and partner institutions. Folakemi Odedina, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, is one of the program directors, and the center features collaborators from many of UF Health’s academic colleges. Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded a two-year, $3.5 million grant to bolster research on kratom and study its potential to treat opioid misuse and physical dependence. Lance McMahon, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the department of pharmacodynamics, and Chris McCurdy, Ph.D., a professor of medicinal chemistry, are leading this grant.
Enrollment in our Pharm.D., Ph.D. and online master’s programs remained strong in 2018, with more than 2,200 students across the three programs. A record 36 out-of-state students from 18 states and Puerto Rico joined our entering Pharm.D. class in the fall. A new online master’s degree and graduate certificate program in precision medicine launched in the fall, with the goal of training current and future leaders in precision medicine. Additionally, our MTM master’s program expanded to offer a graduate certificate.
For the third consecutive year, the UF College of Pharmacy ranked No. 1 nationally in the total number of graduates securing residency matches. In March, 130 UF pharmacy graduates matched in hospitals and health care facilities coast-to-coast from Seattle to Miami. Our graduate students enjoyed another stellar year collecting national awards, including four trainees who were honored with Presidential Trainee Awards from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. UF’s four awardees were more than any other university.
Lastly, alumni and friends of the college continue giving generously to support student scholarships and other philanthropic efforts. The college awarded a record $900,000 in student scholarships and grants to 150 students in 2018, and the Crisafi Challenge scholarship campaign raised a record $113,900 in October. Every penny raised during the challenge will be awarded to incoming Pharm.D. students in the fall of 2019.
College of Public Health and Health Professions
Michael G. Perri, Ph.D.
The college kicked off 2018 with a gala to celebrate 60 years of firsts in health education, research and service. When the college was founded in 1958, it was the first of its kind housed in an academic health center. In 2018, we are proud to add many more contributions toward improving the health of individuals and communities.
- For the first time, U.S. News & World Report ranked graduate programs in biostatistics. The UF program ranked 10th among programs at AAU public universities.
- Faculty in environmental and global health developed UF’s first undergraduate Haiti study abroad program. Led by Dr. Elizabeth Wood, the inaugural group traveled to Haiti in May.
- The college was awarded a U.S. Department of Education grant to train 45 UF occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology graduate students to treat children with disabilities in early intervention programs. The program is led by Dr. Christine Myers of occupational therapy, along with Lori-Ann Ferraro of speech, language, and hearing sciences, and Dr. Claudia Senesac of physical therapy.
- A new National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded training grant will support mentoring of pre- and postdoctoral scientists to address problems related to alcohol and HIV. The program is co-directed by Dr. Robert Cook of epidemiology and medicine, Dr. Robert Leeman at the College of Health and Human Performance and Dr. Robert Lucero of the College of Nursing.
- The college is ranked 9th in NIH funding among schools of public health at public universities. For academic year ’17-’18, PHHP researchers received more than $25 million in NIH funding and more than $36 million in total research awards.
- Dr. Krista Vandenborne, chair of physical therapy, played a major role in a study of the drug edasalonexent, which was shown to slow the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. She uses MRI to measure the earliest changes in muscle integrity, providing rapid feedback for clinical trials and setting the standard for measuring muscle changes in this disease.
- Dr. John Lednicky of environmental and global health and colleagues made several discoveries, including evidence of Zika transmission through breast milk, a new “American” strain of chikungunya in mosquitos in Haiti, the first live case of Keystone virus in a human and detection of Madariaga in a Venezuelan child.
- A paper for which Dr. Susan Nittrouer, chair of speech, language, and hearing sciences, served as senior author was selected for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research’s 2018 Editor’s Award.
- The department of occupational therapy launched UF SmartDriver Rehab, the area’s only service offering evaluations and interventions to improve driving skills of older adults and others who have medical conditions that may affect driving.
- UF HealthStreet, a community engagement program that seeks to reduce health disparities and improve access to research studies, now has nearly 11,000 members from the community.
- In an effort to eliminate barriers to student learning, the college has joined the university’s community partnership with Howard Bishop Middle School.
College of Veterinary Medicine
James W. Lloyd, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Under the leadership of Dean Jim Lloyd, the college has continued to be actively engaged in strategic management, identifying and implementing new initiatives that will propel the college toward preeminence across all areas of its mission — teaching, research, clinical service and extension.
The college continues to communicate with a wide group of stakeholders, both internal and external, to fine-tune ways in which it can better meet the needs of its many constituents, including alumni, donors, the practicing veterinary medical community and owners of animal patients seen and treated through the UF Veterinary Hospitals.
Last year, we restructured our Alumni Association to facilitate greater engagement with the college. This past March, the inaugural meeting of the association’s new Executive Board was held and has since developed goals and operating procedures for four standing committees aimed at enhancing relationships with alumni and the veterinary practitioner community. These committees are meeting and making progress on many fronts.
The college has greatly increased the number of events offered in different parts of the country to demonstrate its intent to reach alumni where they live and work, or at professional meetings they may attend.
Three new department chair positions were filled after extensive national searches, with two of these individuals returning to the college after building their careers elsewhere. Dr. Guy Lester, the new large animal clinical sciences chair and a former assistant professor of large animal medicine, joined UF in November from Murdoch University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Western Australia. Dr. Chris Adin, a former assistant professor of small animal surgery at UF, has returned to chair the department of small animal clinical sciences after several years on the faculty at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Subhashinie Kariyawasam joined the college in September as chair of the department of comparative, diagnostic and population medicine. She previously was on the faculty as a clinical professor and microbiology section head of the Animal Diagnostic Lab at Pennsylvania State University.
As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the UF Small Animal Hospital, we have undergone a $6 million construction project aimed at addressing the inevitable growing pains that have come with the teaching hospital being named a statewide care facility. Our new addition is expected to be complete in early January and will add approximately 12,000 square feet to our existing 100,000-square-foot building. In addition, the UF Equine Acupuncture Center opened in September to provide world-class acupuncture services to horse owners from the Ocala area.
Diversity and Inclusion Efforts
The college was pleased to learn from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine that UF ranks No. 3 for graduating Latino students with professional doctoral degrees in veterinary medicine. Efforts continue on many fronts to attract a diverse group of future veterinary medical students, so it was wonderful to be acknowledged in this way.
This summer, 20 high school students participated in our inaugural Gator Vet Camp. These students come from a broad array of backgrounds and have expressed an interest in veterinary medicine. They were able to participate in a week of activities that included hands-on learning opportunities in our clinical skills lab and in histology; tours of our college and UF Veterinary Hospital facilities; visits to the UF/IFAS Dairy Research Unit, the UF/IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory and White Oak Conservation Center, among other things. Three individuals were key to this camp’s success: Dr. Jaron Jones, our college’s diversity and inclusion officer; Dr. Michael Bowie, director of community engagement and diversity outreach; and Dr. Lisa Farina, faculty advisor to the UF Diversity and Inclusion Veterinary Alliance.
$18.8 million in research awards came to the college this past year through competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We currently have 452 D.V.M. students enrolled in our program and 69 graduate students pursuing M.S. or Ph.D. degrees, along with 95 online M.S./distance education students. In a major development, UFCVM has spearheaded the creation of a new teaching consortium aimed at sharing best practices for teaching among veterinary medical colleges in the Southeast region of the United States. The new consortium plans to hold its inaugural meeting at UF later this year.
A total of 38,251 animals were treated through the UF Veterinary Hospitals in FY ’18, with another 6,070 treated in Ocala at UF Pet Emergency Treatment Services. Including field visits, a total of 67,830 animals received treatment through UF veterinary medical services.
This past fiscal year marked yet another strong year for fundraising in the College of Veterinary Medicine — raising $34,324,180 in charitable gifts. Support from friends of the college, which include grateful clients, contributed significantly to this success. The Dean’s Circle of Excellence continues to grow. We currently have 109 members, an increase of 9 percent over last year. Our Scholarship Initiative, a key college initiative to reduce student debt load, already has amassed $22,500,000 in cash, pledges and estate commitments.
UF Health Shands
CEO, UF Health Shands
Year in review: 2018 marked rapid progress and engagement across hospital system
Our most ambitious endeavor to date was simultaneously opening two new hospitals in December 2017. Throughout 2018, we accommodated unanticipated rapid growth for the UF Health Heart & Vascular and UF Health Neuromedicine hospitals. Beyond projections, immediate demands for care required us to speed recruitment for staffing and start opening medical/surgical and intensive care units that we’d originally planned to open later. This is a testament to our patients’ trust in UF Health and the expertise of our faculty and staff.
Relocating services to the new medical facility meant we could rethink vacated space and start much-needed renovations at UF Health Shands Hospital. The fifth floor was adapted for long-term acute care services, provided independently by Select Specialty Hospital – Gainesville, which relocated there late summer. Meanwhile, our second-floor Labor and Delivery Unit is being modernized and expanded. The eighth-floor Medical ICU and Intermediate Care Unit are under expansion: This will help improve capacity and efficiency throughout the hospital. And our seventh-floor Burn ICU and Surgical Care Unit expansion is underway, as are children’s surgical services improvements on the second floor.
This year, we also remained focused on clinical quality, making progress based on national quality measures. We’re leaders among our academic peers for infection rate reductions — and our mortality rates are among the lowest in the nation. We received our fourth-consecutive Magnet designation in June. It’s the nursing industry’s highest distinction for quality nursing care, and along with several Beacon Awards for Excellence in nursing, these honors confirm our staff’s commitment to clinical excellence. We had national top-employer recognition and we received accreditations and acknowledgement among top-tier hospitals. Our U.S. News & World Report rankings again were impressive: For the fourth year in a row, UF Health Shands ranked high in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in the state with a total of 12. The momentum continues: Our pediatric heart surgery programs and adult lung transplant programs, for example, have incredible survival rates.
All our success belongs to our people. We have had leadership changes, and we appreciate those who laid the foundation as well as the fresh energy of those who are now guiding our progress. We always benefit from new perspectives. This year, we continued to focus on staff engagement so that our faculty and staff feel valued and are inspired and motivated. Engaged staff deliver the best care.
The connection among our faculty and staff was clear during our response to Hurricane Michael when it hit the Panhandle in October. The teamwork from our ShandsCair crews, nurses, physicians and clinical and support staff … the mutual appreciation and respect … and the personal support ... It was all amazing and showed us that we are, indeed, a work family.
Finally, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of UF Health Shands and our Gainesville hospital-based system. We reflected on our milestones and how each year we care for patients from all 67 Florida counties, from throughout the region and nation, as well as from multiple other countries. There was great pride and awareness for how every person can contribute to improving quality of life for thousands of patients and family members. We asked you, our staff, to let us know what matters to you/them and how you contribute. The responses were truly moving. Now we have dozens of unscripted personal stories and testimonials about dedication and commitment to share that will keep the momentum going for all of us.
These are just highlights. At the end of the day, it’s my goal to have all our staff who provide and support care at UF Health Shands to sleep at night knowing we’ve helped someone that day, and to wake up energized by having another opportunity to make a difference. That’s the magic of working at UF Health.