Dr. John Curran retires from USF after 45 years of service

USF Health faculty, students, staff and local and state leaders celebrated the extraordinary work and legacy of John S. Curran, MD, professor of pediatrics, associate vice president of USF Health, and senior executive associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, during a special ceremony on June 29 at USF.

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Children help Dr. Curran unveil the new name of Children’s Medical Services, John S. Curran, MD, Children’s Health Center.

During the event, USF Health honored Dr. Curran for his outstanding contributions as a pediatrician and leader, by naming the Children’s Medical Services building, the John S. Curran, MD, Children’s Health Center. The special recognition was authorized by USF Board of Trustees at their June 8 meeting.

(L to R). Edmund Funai, MD, chief operating officer at USF Health, vice dean for administration at Morsani College of Medicine and senior vice president for strategic development at the USF System, and Dr. Curran listen to Roberta K. Burford, JD, associate vice president for Strategic Health Operations at USF Health, read the USF BOT Resolution before unveiling the new name of the Children’s Medical Services.

“Consider this special token of our appreciation for the many years of passionate service as a developer of innovative programs, exemplar as a physician educator, and, most of all, as an advocate for Florida’s children,” said Edmund Funai, MD, chief operating officer at USF Health, vice dean for administrational at the Morsani College of Medicine and senior vice president for strategic development at the USF System, after unveiling the new sign of the Children’s Medical Center. “Because of your guiding hand, we are all better positioned for the future, and we have all benefitted from your hard work, activism, leadership and friendship.”

Dr. Curran greets USF Health faculty, staff, leaders and friends outside John S. Curran, MD, Children’s Health Center.

Celeste Philip, MD, surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health, also honored Dr. Curran for his impact on health outcomes across the state of Florida.

“We’re grateful to Dr. Curran for his contributions to children’s medical services and the state’s department of health,” said Dr. Philip during the celebration. “I’m impressed by his desire and motivation to continue to help improve health outcomes in our state until the very end. He may be leaving for a short period, but we’re certain he will be back in some capacity. That speaks to how much he means to our state and all of his contributions. That is who he is and that is what he stands for.”

Gene Earley, deputy director of the Hillsborough County Healthcare Services, honored Dr. Curran for his tremendous impact on the Hillsborough County Health Care Plan, which he helped develop more than 20 years ago.

Gene Earley, deputy director of the Hillsborough County Healthcare Services, presents Dr. Curran a plaque for his contribution to Hillsborough County Health Care Plan.

“Hillsborough County Healthcare Services Department is thankful to Dr. Curran for his many years of outstanding services to Hillsborough County,” said Earley. “Your professionalism, leadership, commitment, dedication and passion has significantly improved the Hillsborough County Health Care Plan and health provided in Tampa and nearby counties. Your dedication to duty has improved the quality of health care services provided to the residents of Hillsborough County.”

The Board of County Commissioners of Hillsborough County also recognized Dr. Curran’s tremendous career by declaring Thursday, June 29, 2017 as Dr. John S. Curran Day.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman presents the county’s proclamation to Dr. Curran. 

“I am overwhelmed at the great outpouring of love and affection that you have given me for a fairly long career here at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine,” Dr. Curran said.  “I’ve been overwhelmed by your support, but I’ve always had great interest in helping those who couldn’t help themselves. I’m not the wizard. I just have been blessed with the opportunity to bring people to work together to help people in our community. And I am not going to rest. I will continue to be an advocate for those in need.”

Dr. Curran with his wife Christine, and daughters Heidi, far right, and Heather.

William Sappenfield, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Community and Family Health at the USF College of Public Health, signs guest book for Dr. Curran.

 

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John Curran, MD — an influential pediatrician and inspirational leader and pioneering child health advocate who advanced public policy to benefit some of Florida’s most vulnerable patients – is retiring after 45 years of service at the University of South Florida.

Dr. Curran, who is a professor of pediatrics, associate vice president of USF Health, and senior executive associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, has helped transform health care through his long-term dedication and commitment to children’s health.

John Curran, MD, professor of pediatrics, associate vice president of USF Health, and senior executive associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

“Dr. Curran has been an invaluable member of our faculty and has offered his expertise and service well beyond our university to include local, regional and national health care efforts,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “His passion for putting the children of this state first and assuring their access to quality health care is truly impressive. As a founding faculty member of our medical school, an accomplished pediatrician, and a tireless advocate for child health, Dr. Curran will forever have a prominent place in this university’s history.”

“We’re forever grateful to Dr. Curran’s exemplary service to the Morsani College of Medicine, USF, Tampa Bay, Florida and beyond,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. “Dr. Curran’s incredible efforts to improve perinatal health have contributed to saving the lives of thousands of babies. His distinguished career has been vital to the Morsani College of Medicine’s rise to prominence. We’re blessed to have such an outstanding physician, teacher, servant leader and child advocate on our faculty.”

Dr. Curran reads to children at the USF Health’s Children’s Medical Services in 2008.

Dr. Curran began his career at USF in 1967. Since then, he’s made a tremendous impact on faculty, students and staff in various positions and capacities. Dr. Curran is one of the founding faculty members of the Morsani College of Medicine. In 1972, he helped establish the USF Division of Neonatology and the USF neonatology fellowship program.

As a faculty member and leader, Dr. Curran made significant contributions to the Department of Pediatrics at the Morsani College of Medicine. As a result, he was named the acting chairman of the department from 1987 to 1990. Under his leadership, the department became one of the largest and most innovative departments at USF.

“In his four decades of service to USF, Dr. Curran has held many roles and influenced the medical community throughout Tampa Bay, but no contribution is greater than his work with children,” said Patricia Emmanuel, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Morsani College of Medicine. “He has impacted the lives of thousands of children across the state. There is no child born with a chronic condition that is not touched by his legacy. The department of pediatrics is honored and thankful for his leadership and service.”

Following his role at the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Curran joined the Dean’s office in various positions as the executive associate dean and associate dean for academic affairs overseeing all education programs. During that time, Dr. Curran also started the general pediatrics program in downtown Tampa and integrated Children’s Medical Services (CMS) case management with pediatric subspecialty services. He also helped develop innovative ideas for faculty development and promotion.

“Dr. Curran was notable for consistently giving sage advice,” said Steven C. Specter, PhD, associate dean for Alumni Relations and director of MD Career Advising. “He was always direct and honest, and I always knew he could be counted on if asked for help. USF loses one of the brightest, most influential faculty members in its 46-year history.”

Dr. Curran also held various positions at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) serving as the founding director of the neonatal intensive care unit from 1972 to 1987, and the chief of pediatrics at TGH from 1992 to 2001.

During his outstanding career, Dr. Curran expanded his service beyond the university and into the community locally, regionally and nationally. He was one of the core architects and passionate advocates for the Children’s Medical Services program in Florida — creating an exceptional network of pediatric medical specialists across the state to provide care and services for children with chronic conditions.

He was also one of the founders of the nationally award-winning Hillsborough County Health Plan for families that can’t afford traditional insurance coverage. His commitment towards the project for more than 20 years has been critical to the long-term success of the program. To this day, that program continues to provide primary and specialty care to thousands of uninsured individuals every year.

More recently, Dr. Curran co-founded and co-directed the Florida Perinatal Collaborative (FPQC) with William Sappenfield, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Community and Family Health at the USF College of Public Health.  FPQC’s evidence-based statewide initiatives are helping to transform the quality of care for pregnant women and newborns.

L to R: USF leaders of the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative include Linda Detman PhD, Department of Community and Family Health at the Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies; William Sappenfield, MD, MPH, director of the Chiles Center; and Dr. Curran, executive director of the FPQC.

“Dr. Curran’s leadership was instrumental in convening stakeholders in 2010 to agree to the establishment of FPQC — facilitating cooperation across maternal and infant health disciplines with a history of working in silos,” said Dr. Sappenfield. “Under his direction, the FPQC has worked with hospitals and health care providers across the state to reduce early elective deliveries, respond to obstetric hemorrhage and severe new-onset hypertension, reduce neonatal catheter associated blood stream infections, improve teamwork and delivery room processes during the first hour of life for very low birth weight and premature infants and increase the feeding of mother’s own milk to very low birth weight infants. Dr. Curran is passionate about improving the quality and safety of health care and he really set the course for the FPQC.  Simply put, the FPQC, and its success in improving the quality of health care for Florida’s mothers and infants, would not exist without him.”

Dr. Curran received numerous awards during his career. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from USF for his service and devotion to USF and the entire Tampa Bay community. He also received the Abraham Jacobi Award from the American Medical Association, the Lifetime Healthcare Hero Award, the Lawton Chiles Perinatal Award from the March of Dimes, and the Frederick A. Reddy, M.D. Memorial Award from the Hillsborough County Medical Association.

“Dr. Curran’s enthusiastic service has directly benefited our nation’s children by facilitating the development of legislation and programs that have improved pediatric health care delivery,” Dr. Lockwood said. “I am immensely grateful to Dr. Curran and his service. His legacy will be carried on by many USF medical students, residents and faculty who have benefitted from his compassionate leadership, wisdom and encouragement.”

Prior to joining USF, Dr. Curran served in the U.S. Air Force as a physician and chief of newborn services at the USAF hospital in Wiesbaden, West Germany. He entered the military reserves in 1972, but rejoined active duty during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Dr. Curran achieved emeritus status from the Society of Air Force Flight Surgeons — receiving two Air Force Outstanding Medical Mobilization Augmentee awards. He retired as a full colonel in 1992 after 26 years of service.

Dr. Curran speaks after receiving recognition from Florida legislature for his work in 2007.

There is no doubt, Dr. Curran is a trailblazer and a champion of USF and USF Health. His legacy has impacted generations and will continue to transcend for many years and decades to come.

To celebrate his outstanding career and thank him for his tireless service, USF Health will hold a Dr. John S. Curran building designation ceremony with faculty, staff, leaders and friends at 3 p.m., Thursday, June 29 in the Children’s Medical Services (CMS) lobby, followed by a reception in the USF Health rotunda. In case of rain, the festivities will be held in the USF Health rotunda.