Dr. Neil Alan Fenske receives “The Gustavus Sesquicentennial Award”

Link to

Gustuvas Sesquicentennial Award



The Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of the college’s Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the college.

The award, called “The Sesquicentennial Award,” acknowledges and pays tribute to living alumni, parents, friends, and retired faculty and staff who:

Through actions in their personal or professional lives, have advanced the status of Gustavus as a premier liberal arts college; Set a new precedent in the ways they supported and advanced the mission of the college as an institution dedicated to preparing students “for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society”and/or have brought particular dignity or honor to the college.

On Thursday, February 9th the President of Gustavus Adolphus College, Jack R. Ohle awarded Neil Alan Fenske, MD the Gustavus Sesquicentennial Award.  The presentation and event took place at Malio’s in Tampa.

Neil Alan Fenske, MD is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine.   813-974-4744 for appointments

Comments off

U.S. News Top Doctors are at USF Health

Twenty-four USF Health physicians are among the top 1 percent of physicians in the entire country, according to Top Doctors, a recently published list from U.S. News & World Report and Castle Connolly, publisher of America’s Top Doctors.

U.S. News & World Report recently released its list of the Top Doctors – one of many much anticipated rankings the magazine publishes each year – and USF Health physicians make up nearly half of the Tampa Bay area physicians deemed to be among the top 1 percent of physicians in the United States.

Top Doctors is a compilation that includes more than 27,000 physicians from across the country. All of these physicians are considered by fellow physicians to be the best in their specialties and determined by U.S. News to be in the top 10 percent in their region. From that overall list, U.S. News had a committee of medical experts look closer at the group to determine which ones warrant being considered among the top 1 percent of the nearly 800,000 physicians in the country.

Here’s how the list panned out locally for USF Health. Searching the online U.S. News list for all physicians within 25 miles of zip code 33612, 572 names came up. Of those, 80 are on the USF faculty, or 14 percent. Also within that list of 572, there are 53 in the Tampa Bay area making the list’s separate designation of being among the top 1 percent in the country in his or her specialty. Of those 53 local physicians, 24 are at USF, or 45 percent.

U.S. News Top Doctors was developed in collaboration with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., publisher of America’s Top Doctors® and other guides, and was built upon data from Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors™. Castle Connolly bases its Top Doctors selections on nominations submitted by other doctors and reviewed by its physician-led research team.

Tops Doctors at USF Health are:
Top 1% in the nation
Bandyk, Dennis, MD Vascular Surgeon
Cruse, C. Wayne, MD Plastic Surgeon
Diamond, Frank B., MD Pediatric Endocrinologist
Djulbegovic, Benjamin, MD/PhD Hematologist
Emmanuel, Patricia, MD Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist
Estores, David S., MD Gastroenterologist
Fenske, Neil A., MD Dermatologist
Freeman, Thomas, MD Neurosurgeon
Goldman, Allan L., MD Pulmonologist
Hess, J. Bruce, MD Ophthalmologist
Ledford, Dennis, MD Allergist-Immunologist
Lockey, Richard, MD Allergist-Immunologist
Lockhart, Jorge L., MD Urologist
Marcet, Jorge E., MD Colon and Rectal Surgeon
McCaffrey, Thomas V., MD ENT-Otolaryngologist
Nicosia, Santo, MD Pathologist
Paidas, Charles N., MD Pediatric Surgeon
Powers, Pauline, MD Psychiatrist
Sleasman, John W., MD Pediatric Allergist-Immunologist
Smith, David J., Jr., MD Plastic Surgeon
Smith, Paul D., MD Plastic Surgeon
Sutphen, Rebecca, MD Clinical Geneticist
Tebbi, Cameron, MD Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist
Van Loveren, Harry, MD Neurosurgeon

Top 10% in the nation
Abel, Naomi, MD Physiatrist
Albrink, Michael H., MD Surgeon
Anderson, William M., MD Pulmonologist
Baran, Gregg, MD Diagnostic Radiologist
Baumann, Shelly, MD Diagnostic Radiologist
Belsole, Robert John, MD Hand Surgeon
Brady, Patrick G., MD Gastroenterologist
Brownlee, Harrison J., Jr., MD Family Medicine Doctor
Bruder, Karen, MD Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Carrion, Rafael, MD Urologist
Dabrow, Sharon, MD Pediatrician
Drucker, Mitchell, MD Ophthalmologist
Fernandez, Francisco, MD Psychiatrist
Flannery, Michael, MD Internist
Greenberg, Mark S., MD Neurosurgeon
Groden, Lewis, MD Ophthalmologist
Haubner, Laura, MD Neonatalogist
Hauser, Robert A., MD Neurologist
Homan, Edward, Jr., MD Orthopedic Surgeon
Klasko, Stephen, MD Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Leffers, David, MD Orthopedic Surgeon
Lien, Mary H., MD Dermatologist
Lynch, Catherine, MD Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Mamel, Jay J., MD Gastroenterologist
Martinez, Carlos R., MD Diagnostic Radiologist
Mayer, James C., MD Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Mendellblatt, Frank, MD Ophthalmologist
Miguel, Rafael, MD Anesthesiologist
Morrison, Anthony D., MD Endocrinologist
Nelson, Robert M., MD Neonatalogist
Ordorica, Raul C., MD Urologist
Panzarino, Valerie M., MD Pediatric Nephrologist
Parsons, Anna, MD Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Parsons, Michael, MD Perinatologist
Pavan, Peter, MD Ophthalmologist
Perlman, Sharon, MD Nephrologist
Pinkas, Haim, MD Gastroenterologist
Plosker, Shayne M., MD Reproductive Endocrinologist
Ridley, Marion B., MD ENT-Otolaryngologist
Rifkin, Stephen, MD Nephrologist
Saba, Hussain, MD/PhD Hematologist
Schnapf, Bruce, DO Pediatric Pulmonologist
Seleznick, Mitchel, MD Internist
Shames, Murray, MD Vascular Surgeon
Shenefelt, Philip D., MD Dermatologist
Shulman, Dorothy, MD Pediatric Endocrinologist
Smith, Donald A., MD Neurosurgeon
Solomon, David Allan, MD Pulmonologist
Spellacy, William, MD Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Stromquist, Philip S., MD Interventional Cardiologist
Takagishi, Jennifer C., MD Pediatrician
Winters, Paul R., MD Neurologist
Woodard, Laurie, MD Family Medicine Doctor

Comments off

Dr. Fenske featured in Tampa Bay Medical News (Physician Spotlight)

PHYSICIAN SPOTLIGHT: Neil A. Fenske, MD Chairman, Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery, USFCOM, Tampa
Some might think that growing up “dirt poor” on a farm in Blue Earth, Minn. would be a liability. But Neil Fenske treasures it as a character-building experience that allows him to appreciate how far he has come in life.

“I’m a guy who came up the hard way,” said Fenske, chairman of the Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa. “I had to carve, scratch, dig and cajole. That’s not a complaint. It has made me stronger, Fenske said.

How poor was his family? Fenske, the eldest of five children, wore only used clothes and one winter his only jacket was a girl’s. “I had to wear it to school because that was all (his parents) could afford for $1.50,” he remembered.

Fenske was driving a tractor and plowing fields at 10 years of age. His parents eventually purchased a small grocery store in nearby Winnebago, where he and his siblings worked at night and weekends. Fenske credits the long hours and hard work to forging his work ethic. “It was working behind the cash register where I learned to interact and communicate will people of all ages and personalities, which has served me well as a physician,” he said.

The family’s diet was low-budget and high-cholesterol. “SPAM® was a staple … and hot dogs and hamburgers were served on thin white bread because buns were ‘too expensive,’” he said, adding that an experience with a hamburger at age 12 was a turning point in his young life. “A friend’s mom took him and me for my first restaurant experience – a hamburger on a bun, French fries and a Coke. What a treat! It was at that point that I decided I was not going to be poor when I grew up. I committed myself to academic and athletic excellence throughout my high school years,” Fenske recalled.

He earned a basketball scholarship to Gustavus Adolphus College, becoming the first Fenske to attend college. He already knew he wanted to study medicine because of his teenage admiration for two family physicians. After college he enrolled in medical school at St. Louis University, where he took an elective course in dermatology and “fell in love with it,” Fenske said. He completed his internship at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, and residency at the University of Wisconsin, where he met and married his wife Robyn, and soon realized “an academic career was my calling,” he said. Fenske was recruited to USF to start a residency training program in dermatology and he has been there since 1977.

But in many ways that is just the beginning of a career in which he has influenced the lives of countless patients, students and the institution he has served for 34 years. Along the way Fenske has left his mark in many ways, including being president of seven dermatologic organizations and being named the 1999 practitioner of the year by the Florida Society of Dermatology. In addition, he was chosen by his peers in the Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., directory as one of America’s top cancer doctors for five of the past seven years.

But the professional accomplishments that Fenske treasures most are his relationships with students and patients.

“I have had the privilege to educate and mentor many bright young men and women, many of whom practice in the greater Tampa Bay area,” he said. “All our grads are reputable and very highly sought-after. (Tampa-area) docs scoop up my residents all the time. I’m proud of all of them.”

Fenske said he still spends about 50 to 60 percent of his time seeing patients, which is unusual for a department chair, and that he still thrives on that interaction. “I have not lost my zeal,” he said. “I have as much enthusiasm today as when I started here 35 years ago. … I’m very motivated and high-energy.”

Others confirm Fenske’s self-evaluation. Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, is senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Medicine. “He is very well thought of by me and others,” Klasko said, pointing out his work with Fenske to transform the Dermatology Division into a full-fledged department. Klasko also noted that Fenske was instrumental in securing the endowment of the Dermatology Department Chair. It was Fenske’s relationship with a patient that made it possible.

Tampa resident Chris Sullivan is co-founder and CEO of Outback Steakhouse, and a patient of Fenske’s for about 15 years. “I’ve dealt with a lot of skin cancer issues personally and in my family. Over time I observed how he was teaching young doctors and how innovative he was in his practice and teaching,” said Sullivan. “They did not have a dermatology chair at USF and I knew he had done a fantastic job of building that department. The idea of endowing that chair became available to me and I thought it was the right thing to do because Neil had earned that opportunity. Personally, he has impacted me very positively and I like the way he goes about his business. He’s an outstanding educator and an outstanding doctor,” Sullivan said.

Fenske said that when he and Klasko met with Sullivan to discuss a fundraising effort, Sullivan volunteered not only to endow the chair for $2 million, but he insisted on putting it in Fenske’s name. “I was caught off guard” by Sullivan’s generosity,” Fenske said. “I literally had tears welling in my eyes. Most people (who make a donation of that size) would want their name on the chair.”

But Sullivan saw it differently. “Neil’s the one who did all the work. It should be named after him,” he said.

And, Fenske said, his work is nowhere near done. Several area dermatologists and philanthropists have contributed, and one of his goals before retirement is to endow the entire Dermatology Department, which will require raising several million dollars. “It would be a great legacy for this great university,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean Fenske is eyeing retirement. “I still love going to work on Monday mornings. … Other than my grandkids and my immediate family, my work is my life and it’s a labor of love. God willing, and my health holds up, I’m here several more years,” he said.

Fenske has three children and four grandchildren and he savors the time he and Robyn spend together with them, especially during autumn at “our mountain house in the Smokies,” he said.

Reflecting on his humble beginnings, Fenske takes heart in the fact that “in America, you can still overcome it. … You’ll have to work harder than the average bear,” he said, but adhering to a simple set of principles has served him well: “Always work hard, do your best, and always do what’s right.”

Comments off