Smiles adorned the faces of graduating resident and fellow physicians as they celebrated their academic achievements at this year’s Celebration of Resident and Fellow Education and Research Day. The annual event at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville is a time of reflection and jubilation as graduates leave the college to pursue further training or begin practice.
June 8 marked the day when 131 graduating resident and fellow physicians were recognized for successfully completing their training programs. The special day was also an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional research and scholarly work conducted on campus.
Linda Edwards, MD, FACP, dean of the college, praised graduates and faculty for their resilience and commitment to advancing medicine and providing high-quality patient care.
“As physicians, you have pivoted and learned to use tools at your fingertips to continue to enhance your knowledge and care for your patients,” Edwards said. “I hope you have fond memories of your residency or fellowship, including the patients you cared for, the faculty you received training from and the staff you worked alongside. We wish you much success. You will always be part of our family here at UF.”
Honoring an extraordinary career dedicated to improving pediatric practice
Thomas T. Chiu, MD, MBA, received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Established in 2021, the award recognizes a residency or fellowship graduate who has achieved extraordinary success in their respective discipline.
Dr. Chiu served as a faculty member for 45 years, taking great pride in his role as a former professor and chair for the department of pediatrics. Improving the lives of children in the region and around the world has been the object of his career with work that has garnered multiple awards and significant recognition. Chiu served in many capacities, sitting on local and state committees such as the State of Florida Children’s Medical Services North Central Region and the Child Health and First Coast Child Protection Team Community Advisory Council. As a professor, students often acknowledged his exceptional teaching and instruction, being awarded the Exemplary Teacher Award on multiple occasions. Chiu retired in December 2021.
“Dr. Chiu embodies what it means to be committed and of service,” Edwards said. “We are proud to honor him for the significant impact he’s made in the lives of his patients, students and colleagues throughout the course of his career.
Continuing a legacy of servant leadership
In remembrance of Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, former dean of the College of Medicine – Jacksonville and CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, two inaugural awards were presented to honor his legacy.
Leadership presented the Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D. Leadership Award for Inclusive Excellence to Nneka C. Azih, MD, a graduating resident physician in the department of emergency medicine, and Gladys P. Velarde, MD, a professor and medical director in the department of medicine.
The award will be given annually to one resident and faculty member who have exemplified leadership and service in health care and the community by working to reduce health disparities through clinical, educational and scholarly work.
Faculty, residents, fellows, staff and medical students submitted research in four categories for judging. Following are the winners, who were recognized for their discoveries.
- Emily Chang, PharmD, a pharmacy resident, won in the clinical research category for her poster titled, “Candidemia: a decade under antimicrobial stewardship influence at an academic medical center.”
- Luka Sogorovic, DO, a psychiatry resident, won in the quality improvement category for his poster, “Improving metabolic monitoring in patients treated with antipsychotics using an integrated EMR alert.”
- Jose R. Rivas Rios, MD, a cardiology fellow, won in the clinical vignette category for his poster, “Post-myocardial infarct ventricular septal defect: a rare mechanical complication.”
- Matthew Kazaleh, DO, a surgery resident, won the photo contest for his project titled “FBI investigation.”
The following are key awards that are presented annually and announced during the Celebration of Resident and Fellow Education and Research Day.
- Excellence in Student Education Resident Award – Grant P. Barker, MD, emergency medicine
- Excellence in Student Education Faculty Award – Ana T. Turner, MD, psychiatry
- Robert L. Wears Outstanding Resident in Quality and Patient Safety Award – Stephanie M. Prudencio, DO, pediatrics
- Edward Jelks Outstanding Resident Clinician Award – Laura V. Diaz, MD, obstetrics and gynecology
- Ann Harwood-Nuss Resident Advocate Award – Aleem A. Ali, MD, internal medicine
- Rosilie O. Saffos Outstanding Resident Teacher Award – Carly A. Rabinowitz, MD, internal medicine
- Louis S. Russo Jr. Resident Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine – Scott A. Sylvester, MD, surgery
- Louis S. Russo Jr. Faculty Award for Outstanding Professionalism in Medicine – John D. Murray, MD, surgery
- Denise T. West Outstanding GME Administrator Award – Rebel Jones, AA, C-TAGME, pathology and laboratory medicine
- Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., Faculty Leadership Award for Inclusive Excellence – Gladys P. Velarde, MD, medicine
- Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., Resident Leadership Award for Inclusive Excellence – Nneka C. Azih, MD, emergency medicine
- Golden Apple Award in the Clinical Sciences – department of anesthesiology
- Distinguished Alumni Award – Thomas T. Chiu, MD, MBA
To view the Celebration of Resident and Fellow Education and Research Day ceremony, click here.