‘It was quite the ride’

Internal medicine resident Kevin Green, MD, receives the Ann Harwood-Nuss Resident Advocate Award from Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, dean of the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville.
Obstetrics and gynecology faculty members applaud during Celebration of Education.
Graduating emergency medicine residents gather for a group photo during the ceremony.
Graduating internal medicine residents gather for a group photo during the ceremony.
Graduating pediatric residents gather for a group photo during the ceremony.

Reflections were aplenty as UF COMJ recognized 118 graduating residents and fellows.

Mark Hincapie, MD, thinks back to the long days and arduous tasks that greeted him as a first-year pediatric resident physician. He recalls the feeling of uncertainty while adjusting to a brand new lifestyle and work environment.

He had his doubts along the way. But with much focus, as well as strong support from faculty and colleagues, he has emerged as a more confident and poised clinician, eager to embark on the next challenge along his medical journey.

“It’s crazy that it’s been three years already,” Hincapie said, reflecting on his time at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “I will always look back on this period very fondly. It was quite the ride.”

Hincapie is one of 118 residents and fellows who have completed training programs this year at UF COMJ. They were recognized Wednesday, June 12, during Celebration of Education, which included a special graduation ceremony inside the Learning Resource Center Auditorium on the UF Health Jacksonville campus.

At the post-ceremony reception inside the LRC Atrium, Hincapie enjoyed heavy hors d'oeuvres and spent time with a few of his pediatric colleagues. He was among 12 residents who completed the program — the third most of any UF COMJ training program this year. Emergency medicine had the most graduates, with 15, followed by internal medicine, with 14.

In another section of the atrium, Wesam Ostwani, MD, a cardiovascular disease fellow, reflected on the significance of the ceremony and reception. He expressed appreciation for the festive recognition — one of the final moments on campus before he begins further training at UF in Gainesville for advanced cardiac imaging.   

“This has really been a great day,” Ostwani said as the popular Pharrell Williams song “Happy” played over the speakers. “It was a steep learning curve from starting in 2016 as a first-year fellow to today. UF has been a great help to all of us, and it’s much appreciated.” 

Words of wisdom

During the ceremony, Linda Edwards, MD, senior associate dean for educational affairs, referenced the Hippocratic Oath, which is traditionally taken by physicians. The ethical pledge invokes a bevy of values, including honesty, decency, sound judgement and respect.

“Medicine is an art as well as a science,” Edwards told the graduates. “Sympathy and warmth may outweigh your skill and knowledge.”

Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, dean of UF COMJ and CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, gave the ceremony’s keynote address. He implored the graduates to never forget about their beginnings and who helped them cultivate a passion for medicine.

“Think about your initial curiosity and interest in this field,” he said. “Think about who served as your biggest influence early on, whether it was a relative or maybe a teacher in school.”

Toward the end of his speech, he told the audience to avoid complacency and refer back to their passion to help navigate through hard times. He encouraged them to never stop learning and remain engaged civically and professionally.  

“Today, we are excited and happy that you have reached this particular milestone along your journey. Celebrate, be proud and be thankful, but remain humble,” Haley said. “We wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors.”

Award winners

As part of Celebration of Education, UF COMJ leaders announced the winners of several annual awards:

  • Golden Apple Award in the Clinical Sciences (for a department) – anesthesiology   
  • Excellence in Student Education Award (resident) – Stevie Bennett, MD, obstetrics and gynecology   
  • Excellence in Student Education Award (faculty) – Ana Turner, MD, psychiatry  
  • Robert J. Wears Outstanding Resident in Quality and Patient Safety Award – Satish Stephen Maharaj, MD, internal medicine  
  • Edward Jelks Outstanding Resident Clinician Award – Dustin Price, DO, surgery   
  • Rosilie O. Saffos Outstanding Resident Teacher Award – Luke Henderson, DO, surgery  
  • Ann Harwood-Nuss Resident Advocate Award – Kevin Green, MD, internal medicine
  • Louis S. Russo Jr. Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine (resident) – Mallory Fox, MD, obstetrics and gynecology  
  • Louis S. Russo Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine (faculty) – Andrew Kerwin, MD, surgery   

Advances in Medical Education

The day also featured recognition of projects that were part of Advances in Medical Education. Faculty, residents, fellows, staff and medical students submitted either educational or quality improvement projects for judging. Following are the winners, who each received a customized wall plaque and a cash award:

Follow this link to view the full Celebration of Education program, which features all of the graduates’ names and descriptions of the awards, as well as this year’s list of outstanding resident teachers and exemplary teachers among faculty members.

Featured Faculty

Linda R. Edwards, MD

Linda R. Edwards, MD

Associate Professor
Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs; Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine; Associate Chair, Department of Medicine; Medical Director, Program for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, CPE, FACEP

Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, CPE, FACEP

Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Florida; Dean, College of Medicine - Jacksonville; CEO, UF Health Jacksonville