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A time for celebration and reflection

Published: June 22, 2017 By: Jesef Williams
Internal medicine residents gather for a group photo during Celebration of Education on June 14. View Larger Image
Pediatric residents gather for a group photo during Celebration of Education on June 14. View Larger Image
Toward the end of the program, UF COMJ leaders recognized George “Skip” Wilson III, MD (second from left), who’s retiring at the end of the month. The longtime faculty member has most recently served as senior associate dean for clinical affairs. View Larger Image
Emergency medicine resident Alexandra Mannix, MD, discusses her poster display for Advances in Medical Education, which proceeded the graduation ceremony. Jeffrey House, DO, an associate professor of medicine and director of the internal medicine residency program, looks on. View Larger Image

Graduating trainees urged to remain devoted to their specialties, communities and families

Fancy greeting cards, nicely wrapped presents and beautiful flowers were abound in the atrium of UF Health Jacksonville’s Learning Resource Center on June 14.

It was a task for Sherrie-Lee Brown, MD, to hold onto all her gifts and accept congratulatory hugs at the same time. But she managed to do both, all with a bright smile. For her, this was a joyous occasion that represented all the hard work over the last few years as she now looks to what lies ahead in her medical career.

Brown is one of the nearly 150 residents and fellows who have completed training programs this year at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. They were honored during a graduation ceremony that afternoon in the LRC. After the official Celebration of Education program inside the auditorium, graduates enjoyed a reception in the atrium, complete with plenty of hors d'oeuvres, gifts and well wishes.  

“I’m enjoying this moment because it’s been a long time coming,” said Brown, who completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology and will now join that department as a faculty physician. “I have a love for women’s health, and I’m excited to remain here to practice.”

Todd Husty, MD, a surgery resident, proudly held a plaque that signified his receipt of the Excellence in Student Education Award — given to one resident and one faculty member who foster exceptional learning experiences for residents and medical students.

Husty’s colleagues cheered loudly for him when his name was called during the ceremony. He sees the accolade as the perfect ending to his training stint at UF COMJ. 

“I feel very honored,” said Husty, who will now go on to practice surgery at a Navy hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. “This has been a wonderful experience.” 

‘Your community needs you’

Husty and the other graduates were urged to not only remain devoted to their medical specialties, but to also maintain commitment to community and family. That keynote message came from Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MSHA, dean of UF COMJ.  

“It is easy to get involved in your job every day and not think about the community around you. And yet, it awaits,” Haley said. “Your voice matters and your community needs you.”

Haley spoke of the importance of cherishing your health, avoiding burnout and making sure to carve out time for loved ones — even if that means showing up to games and other functions in scrubs.

“I hope you will work hard for your respective institutions starting this summer. But the rest of your life is so much more important and valuable, and that will matter in the end,” Haley said. “Good luck in your future. Don’t forget about us and all of my best.”

Awards and recognition

As part of the graduation ceremony, UF COMJ leaders announced the winners of several annual awards:

  • Excellence in Student Education (resident) – Todd Husty, MD, surgery
  • Excellence in Student Education (faculty) – Rana Alissa, MD, pediatrics
  • Outstanding Resident in Quality and Patient Safety Award – Jared Roeckner, MD, obstetrics and gynecology
  • Edward Jelks Outstanding Resident Clinician Award – Ryan Kunjal, MD, internal medicine
  • Rosilie O. Saffos Outstanding Resident Teacher Award –  Alexandra Mannix, MD, emergency medicine
  • Ann Harwood-Nuss Resident Advocate Award – Douglas Shapiro, MD, pediatrics
  • Louis S. Russo Jr. Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine (resident) – Andrew Martin, MD, emergency medicine
  • Louis S. Russo Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine (faculty) – Kelly Best, MD, obstetrics and gynecology

Mannix was recognized for her induction into the Chapman Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which spotlights individuals who exemplify humanistic patient care and serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine.

The department of emergency medicine won the Golden Apple Award, which is presented by the UF College of Medicine senior class. The accolade recognizes the department medical students believe provided the best educational experience during their core clinical rotations in Gainesville and Jacksonville. This was the first year COMJ emergency medicine received the award. 

Seventy-one faculty members and 11 residents were honored as exemplary teachers. The distinction is based on student evaluations of faculty during their medical school clerkship rotations.

Near the close of the ceremony, college leaders honored George “Skip” Wilson III, MD, who’s retiring at the end of the month. Wilson joined the department of community health and family medicine in 1987 and served as its chair from 1995 to 2010. He later became associate dean for special projects and senior associate dean for clinical affairs. 

To view the graduation program, which includes the entire list of 2017 graduates and a description of the awards, click here.

Advances in Medical Education

The day also featured recognition of medical education accomplishments on the Jacksonville and Gainesville campuses. Faculty, residents, fellows and medical students submitted posters for consideration. Of the submissions, 21 educational projects and 15 quality improvement projects were accepted. Following are the winners, who received a customized wall plaque and a cash award:


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