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Four UF Health faculty and staff named Health Care Heroes

Published: November 30, 2017 By: Eric Lowe
Penny Thompson, Vice President, Government Affairs, UF Health Jacksonville Penny Thompson, Vice President, Government Affairs, UF Health Jacksonville
Steven Cuffe, MD, FACPsych, Professor and Chair, Psychiatry; Program Director, Psychiatry Residency; UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville Steven Cuffe, MD, FACPsych, Professor and Chair, Psychiatry; Program Director, Psychiatry Residency; UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville
Steven A. Godwin, MD, Professor and Chair, Emergency Medicine; Assistant Dean, Simulation Education; Program Director, Patient Safety Fellowship; UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville Steven A. Godwin, MD, Professor and Chair, Emergency Medicine; Assistant Dean, Simulation Education; Program Director, Patient Safety Fellowship; UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville
Mobeen Rathore, MD, Professor and Associate Chair, Pediatrics; Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology; Director, UF Health Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service; UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville Mobeen Rathore, MD, Professor and Associate Chair, Pediatrics; Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology; Director, UF Health Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service; UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville

Three UF Health physicians and a senior administrator have been named 2017 Health Care Heroes by the Jacksonville Business Journal. The weekly newspaper recognizes physicians, nurses and others in the health care field who make extraordinary efforts to save lives and improve the quality of health care.

The UF Health honorees were:

Health-driven Public Policy Maker or Advocate: Penny Thompson

When Penny Thompson began her career with what is now known as UF Health Jacksonville more than 30 years ago, she did so as the director of marketing for the health care system. She has always realized the value of providing quality patient care for the under-served and under-insured population. She’s taken her responsibility to make a difference in that demographic to heart. It’s been that drive that has fueled the tireless work she has done for the organization.

For three decades she’s built rapport with elected officials and decision-makers to fight for funding that will ensure the best possible care for the patients served through UF Health. With a firm mindset that “teamwork gets the job done,” Thompson began working closely with city officials and other key players to evaluate the annual appropriation afforded to the organization. Through careful calculation, Thompson determined that an investment of additional $2 million on the city level would enable UF Health Jacksonville to draw down $18 million more in federal funding. This appropriation was a game-changer for the organization.

During the reorganization that resulted in the new UF Health Jacksonville identity, Thompson was a critical part of pulling partners together to support the entity. In addition, she worked tirelessly to help launch the trauma program, which is the only Level I adult and pediatric trauma program in the region.

She was key in establishing UF Health Jacksonville as one of two designated Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in the city. As a CMN hospital, local donations contribute to critical treatments and health care services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care.

One of her greatest accomplishments as part of the UF Health organization was the creation of the Arts in Medicine program. This program creates a patient-centered, individualized health care environment that goes beyond clinical treatment. It recognizes the benefits of creating meaningful artistic experiences for patients, family members and staff. Participation in the program has shown to be a key contributor to the healing process.

Thompson is also committed to serving her community through a variety of organizations. She serves on the public policy committee of the Jacksonville Chamber, the President’s Council of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens as well as on the board of the Cultural Council of Jacksonville.

Mental Health: Steven Cuffe, MD

Steven Cuffe, MD, uses his particular interest in child and adolescent psychiatry to study mental health disorders among school-age children in Jacksonville.

Cuffe, a professor and chair of psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, is leading a research project that is screening for emotional and behavioral problems in more than 5,700 students in Duval County Public Schools. The students, ages 5 to 17, are from nine different schools in the district.

He and his colleagues are using in-depth psychiatric interviews and questionnaires to further assess up to 500 of those children. The next phase of the project is a follow-up study on those who may have bipolar disorder, tic disorder or disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. The study is made possible through a $550,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before this, Cuffe was co-principal investigator on a longitudinal study of ADHD in the community that observed outcomes and diagnostic changes among school-age children over an eight-year span.

Cuffe, who joined the UF COMJ faculty in 2008, became interested in the epidemiology of psychiatric disorders in children while working as a medical resident in San Francisco. He said he realized there was so much unknown about child psychopathology. He later joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina, where he took part in a project studying the epidemiology of adolescent depression. 

Last year, Cuffe received the Robert C. Nuss Researcher/Scholar Award in recognition of his work. The accolade is given annually to a UF faculty member in Jacksonville who has a distinguished record of current research.  

Also in 2016, the American College of Psychiatrists elevated Cuffe to fellow status. ACP membership is by invitation only and is limited to 700 physicians who have demonstrated excellence in psychiatry, with national recognition in clinical practice, research, academic leadership or teaching.

Fellowship is an honor extended to fewer than 100 ACP members who have shown exceptional, ongoing commitment to the work and ideals of the college.

Cuffe continues to show his commitment to community involvement through various speaking engagements. In the past year, he spoke at conferences concerning the mental health aspects of breast cancer and the assessment and treatment of ADHD through a lifespan.

In addition, he worked to secure approval from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to start a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training program. This program will be the first of its kind at the Jacksonville campus and will begin July 2018.

Cuffe’s commitment to mental health treatment and awareness makes him a tireless advocate for those who are often misunderstood and undiagnosed. His efforts are making a difference in numerous lives throughout the region.

Physician: Steven Godwin, MD

Steven “Andy” Godwin, MD, FACEP, is a board-certified emergency medicine physician at UF Health Jacksonville who provides rapid recognition and treatment for severe injuries and acute illnesses in the region’s only Level I trauma center. In addition, Godwin is a nationally recognized educator who plays an integral role in establishing superior patient care through the emergency medicine residents he teaches. He serves as the chair and professor of emergency medicine, the assistant dean of simulation education and program director for the Patient Safety Fellowship at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.   

Godwin was named a 2017 Distinguished Educator in Simulation by the Simulation Academy of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. The award honors instructors with a sustained excellence and contribution to simulation-based training in emergency medicine.

Godwin began incorporating simulation training into the UF COMJ emergency medicine residency curriculum in 2000 to provide a structured setting for the deliberate practice of clinical skills. The training also provided self-reflection for students, and the opportunity for appropriate and timely supervisor feedback. Increased use eventually led to the creation of the Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research, or CSESaR — a 24,000-square-foot facility located at UF Health Jacksonville that is supported by both the hospital and the University of Florida.

Godwin is also one of the creators of the simulation team competition known as SimWars that has been highlighted at national emergency medicine meetings and the International Meeting on Simulation on Healthcare. The competition allows residents to take part in a mock trauma scenario to provide them with a taste of the split-second decisions made regularly in an emergency room that could mean the difference between life and death for a patient.

In addition to simulation education, Godwin is a nationally recognized expert in emergency airway management and teaches across the country educating physicians, paramedics and advanced level practitioners.

Godwin received his medical degree and completed an internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed his emergency medicine residency training at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

Godwin is a member of the Clinical Policies Committee at the American College of Emergency Physicians, or ACEP, most recently acting as chair and co-chair for their policies on procedural sedation and asymptomatic hypertension in the emergency department. In addition to being a member of the editorial board for Emergency Medicine Practice, he has authored and coauthored numerous publications, including resources on pediatric and adult procedural sedation and airway management. He has been a frequent faculty member for ACEP’s Scientific Assembly and is a 2005 recipient of the ACEP Faculty Teaching Award.

Lifetime Achievement: Mobeen Rathore, MD

Rathore is a professor and associate chair of pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. In addition, he’s chief of pediatric infectious diseases and immunology as well as the epidemiologist at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. He also founded the UF Health Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service, the largest pediatric and adult HIV program in Northeast Florida.

Rathore has done a lot for HIV treatment in Jacksonville, such as establishing a system of care for the HIV-infected in the area, mentoring students and playing a role in the prevention of the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their babies.

Rathore is working toward establishing a region-wide system to care for HIV-infected patients so that all those infected know their status and have access to the highest quality care without difficulty. He recently completed a federally funded three-year study of the feasibility of providing care for HIV-infected homeless individuals and developing a sustainable care model, and is currently analyzing the data collected in collaboration with four other states.

Rathore holds prominent positions in numerous professional associations. He represents the Northeast Florida district in the Florida Medical Association’s Board of Governors; he has been elected vice chair to represent Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Puerto Rico on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Board of Directors; and he recently served as the 41st president of Leadership Jacksonville. He is a past president of the Duval County Medical Society and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a member of the academy’s Committee on Infectious Diseases and the Executive Committee of the Provisional Section of International Medical Graduates. Rathore also serves on the editorial board of Pediatrics in Review, an official journal of the academy.


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