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Newspaper's Health Care Heroes include outstanding UF faculty

Published: December 2, 2010 By: Betty Poole
Thomas T. Chiu, M.D., M.B.A.
Rui P. Fernandes, M.D., D.M.D., FACS, FRCS
Ayesha Mirza, M.D.
David J. Vukich, M.D., FACEP

Five faculty members from the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville are among the 25 medical professionals honored as Jacksonville Business Journal’s 2010 Health Care Heroes. The weekly newspaper annually recognizes physicians, nurses and scientists who make exceptional contributions to improving health care and saving lives in Northeast Florida. They were honored Nov. 4 at a breakfast in the Jacksonville Marriott. The UF honorees are:

Thomas T. Chiu, M.D., M.B.A., professor and chair of the department of pediatrics, one of the largest and most complex departments on campus, has increased faculty from 25 to more than 80 and established a highly regarded pediatric residency. Chiu has been a catalyst in ensuring services are provided for all children in Jacksonville and surrounding counties by coordinating resources of many organizations and agencies to create programs for child health and development. He is a pioneer in establishing collaborative, citywide healthcare programs and public health partnerships that unite efforts to better serve children.

Rui P. Fernandes, D.M.D., M.D., FACS, assistant professor in the department of surgery, is one of only a few in the Southeast with expertise to perform a complex operation for head and neck cancer patients known as microvascular reconstruction. Fernandes serves as director of the oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program, director of the microvascular fellowship program, and chief of head and neck cancer section within the division of oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is a member of the International Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons and is a founding fellow of the International Academy of Oral Oncology. Fernandes is breaking new ground in the field of robotic head and neck surgery, and his advanced techniques make him a sought-after speaker both nationally and internationally.

Luis A. Guzman, M.D., associate professor in the division of cardiology in the department of medicine is the medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization and Peripheral Interventional Laboratories at the Shands Jacksonville Cardiovascular Center. His clinical and interventional skills, scientific curiosity and universally acknowledged expertise facilitated the development of a complex peripheral vascular interventional program at Shands Jacksonville. Working with a team of cardiac specialists at the cardiovascular center, Guzman is performing interventional procedures that help many heart and peripheral vascular patients return to a healthy, active lifestyle. Guzman has been the author or been contributing author of many important publications and scientific papers and has been invited to speak at major national and international congresses. He is active on a national basis in the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.

Ayesha Mirza, M.D., assistant professor with the division of pediatric infectious diseases and immunology in the department of pediatrics, is also medical director of the UF Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES) and associate program director of the pediatric residency program. For the past 12 years, Dr. Mirza has been breaking new ground in the treatment to prevent spread of in utero HIV. Dr. Mirza was awarded in 2009 a Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant - a national program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) - to study issues related to access to health care and social services. Her superior teaching skills and additional training have earned her a Master Educator Fellowship. In addition to board certification in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Mirza has a Certificate of Knowledge in Tropical Medicine and Traveler's Health. She has authored or been contributing author of many publications and scientific papers.

David J. Vukich, M.D., FACEP, professor and chair of the department of emergency medicine and senior vice president of Shands Jacksonville is responsible for the operations of the Shands Jacksonville Emergency Department, which provides care for more than 90,000 patients each year, making it one of the ten busiest emergency departments in the nation. Vukich has played an integral role in the creation and administration of the UF Center for Simulation Education and Safety Research. More than 70 simulators are housed in the 24,000-square-foot center on the hospital’s campus, making it one of the largest simulation centers in the country. He is responsible for hospital’s department of defense training programs, which have been successful in obtaining earmark legislation and currently are producing combat casualty care courses.

Thomas T. Chiu, M.D., M.B.A.
Rui P. Fernandes, M.D., D.M.D., FACS, FRCS
Ayesha Mirza, M.D.
David J. Vukich, M.D., FACEP

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