Six faculty and staff named Health Care Heroes

Six employees of the University of Florida College of Medicine—Jacksonville and Shands Jacksonville were honored this month, named "Health Care Heroes" by the Jacksonville Business Journal.

The weekly newspaper annually recognizes physicians, nurses and scientists who make extraordinary efforts to save lives and improve the quality of health care.

The 25 recipients were chosen from dozens of nominees and were honored Nov. 3 during a breakfast at the Marriott Southpoint.

The UF and Shands Jacksonville honorees are:

Emergency Medical Providers

Phyllis Hendry, M.D., FAAP, FACEP, an associate professor in the department of emergency medicine and assistant chair of research for the department

Hendry literally wrote a book on pediatric emergency medicine and is now directing more of her time to the research role. She is studying health communications and health literacy to look for ways to improve communication between patients and physicians. Hendry is continuing to bring grants into the college and is challenging her colleagues to research and publish their findings.

Mental Health

Steven P. Cuffe, M.D., professor and chair of the department of psychiatry

Cuffe is leading an effort to build up a group of child psychiatrists, both at UF and throughout Jacksonville. Cuffe has expanded his staff at Shands Jacksonville to include two pediatric psychiatrists and has opened a practice on the Southside. Plans are in the works for a psychiatry residency program at UF, which could add to the number of providers in town since many doctors end up working in the city they completed their residency.


Saniyyah Mahmoudi, ARNP, nurse practitioner and education director for the University of Florida’s Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES)

Mahmoudi is credited by her colleagues as a major reason why the mother-to-child transmission of HIV has dropped significantly in Northeast Florida over the past 15 years. She has helped do so by working to change policies and educating providers. Mahmoudi is part of a team that mentors and trains doctors, nurses and other professionals across the state in HIV prevention and treatment.


Randal H. Henderson, M.D., M.B.A., professor in the department of radiation oncology and associate medical director of the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute

Henderson’s research in cancer treatment continues to pave the way for less invasive cancer treatments for patients. Henderson is now conducting a clinical trial that nearly cuts the duration of radiation in half and early findings are promising. Much of Henderson’s research focuses on fighting prostate cancer with protons treatments – a specialized form a radiation that limits damage to surrounding tissues and organs.


David O. Childers, M.D., assistant professor in the department of pediatrics and chief of the division of developmental pediatrics and executive director of the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)

Under Childers’ leadership, CARD provides all of the needed services for children with a variety of developmental issues, including autism. Childers is a leading expert in autism and combines specialists in numerous fields to tailor medical treatment to the child’s individual needs. The center has psychiatrics, psychologists, neurologists and developmental specialists all on site at the Southside clinic.


Philipp R. Aldana, M.D., assistant professor in the department of neurosurgery, chief of the division of pediatric neurosurgery and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital

Aldana’s program and expertise allows parents in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia to have a local option when their child has an issue with his or her brain, spinal cord or nerves and muscles. Under Aldana’s guidance, the neurosurgery program in partnership with Wolfson Children’s Hospital fills a need for families that at one point had to travel to Atlanta or Miami to see surgeons specializing in this type of care.

Featured Faculty

Philipp R. Aldana, MD, FAANS, FAAP

Philipp R. Aldana, MD, FAANS, FAAP

Chief, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery

David O. Childers, MD

David O. Childers, MD

Associate Professor
Chief, Division of Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics; Medical Director, Early Steps Program

Steven P. Cuffe, MD, FACPsych

Steven P. Cuffe, MD, FACPsych

Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Program Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship; Associate Clerkship Director

Phyllis L. Hendry, MD, FAAP, FACEP

Phyllis L. Hendry, MD, FAAP, FACEP

Associate Chair of Research; Medical Director, EMSC Sate Contract