University of South Florida

USF Health looks back at 2015, forges ahead to 2016 [videos]

As 2015 comes to a close and we look ahead to new opportunities in 2016, let’s reflect on some of USF Health’s highlights and accomplishments over the past year:

THE YEAR’S TOP STORY:  USF gets green light to build new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Health Heart Institute under one roof in downtown Tampa

The unprecedented opportunity became a reality in 2015, propelled by the alignment of a series of events — including a generous donation by steadfast USF supporters Carol and Frank Morsani, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s visionary plan to develop a waterfront district in downtown Tampa, former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford’s championing of the Heart Institute’s funding, and a new spirit of collaboration between USF and Tampa General Hospital.  A site dedication for the future home of the USF Health medical school and heart institute was held Dec. 8.

USF Health medical students turn shovels with USF President Judy Genshaft (left) and Dr. Charles Lockwood (next to Rocky). Photo by Aimee Blodgett, USF Photographer.

At the Dec. 8 site dedication for the future home of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute in downtown Tampa, USF Health medical students pose with USF President Judy Genshaft (left) and Dr. Charles Lockwood, senior vice president for USF Health and dean, Morsani College of Medicine (next to USF mascot Rocky D. Bull). Photo by Aimee Blodgett, USF Photographer.

The proposal to make this academic facility integrating superior medical education, translational research and clinical care a key anchor of Mr. Vinik’s downtown development project was quickly endorsed by city and county officials and virtually every segment of the Tampa Bay region.  After careful review, the USF Board of Trustees, Florida Board of Governors, state legislators and the Governor recognized the value of the project, both to advance USF’s academic and research missions and to drive innovation and economic development.

 USF dedicates downtown Tampa site of new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute
– Governor approves funding for Morsani College of Medicine move downtown
– USF medical school on the move


College of Nursing graduates first group of veterans to BSN students

The College of Nursing’s first cohort of students in the Veterans to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program students graduated Dec. 11 at the USF fall commencement. Bolstered by a $1.25-million Department of Health and Human Services grant, USF offers veterans and service members the opportunity to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing through an innovative, rigorous program that builds upon their military health care training and experience.


Think team: Interprofessional health training for disasters

USF Health students from nursing, medicine, public health, pharmacy and physical therapy gathered for the first critical incident and emergency preparedness simulation training Nov. 10.


Annual Flu Shot Day hosted by the College of Public Health

Donna Petersen, ScD, dean of the USF College of Public Health, is administered a flu vaccination by a nursing student at the college’s free flu shot drive. Deans from all four USF Health colleges turned out to show their support for the community service event.

Rolling up our sleeves to protect against flu

The USF College of Public Health sponsored its 19th yearly free flu vaccination drive, in collaboration with the Hillsborough County Health Department. An interdisciplinary team of faculty and residents supervised USF nursing and medical students who administered shots Nov. 13  to adults from the university and surrounding community.


USF Health celebrates “10 Together as One” 

USF Health faculty, staff and students gathered beneath the oaks near Lake Behnke in October to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of USF Health. A decade ago, USF Health was created around a mission of envisioning and implementing the future of health.  A commitment, which continues today, was made to improve the full spectrum of health, from the environment, to the community, to the individual.


Physical Therapy Class of 2018 takes an oath of commitment to professionalism

The achievements of USF Health’s relatively young School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences were highlighted at this year’s Commitment to Professionalism ceremony in October.  Among them were welcoming the school’s most selective Doctoral of Physical Therapy (DPT) class ever, with 47 Class of 2018 students chosen from among 1,299 applicants.  Additionally, this year the school admitted its first student to the new PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences degree program, and USF accepted its first resident into the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency program.


USF Health, TGH open storefront health care experience at Muma JA BizTown

Can a fifth grader be a surgeon, a nurse, a pharmacist, a hospital CEO? At the Muma Junior Achievement BizTown in September, cosponsors USF Health and Tampa General Hospital celebrated the opening of a storefront “hospital” where Hillsborough County fifth graders can take on roles in various health care careers for a day.


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USF Health physicians earn top spots as 2015-16 Best Doctors in America

The number of USF Health physicians making the biennial Best Doctors in America® list continues to grow. This year, the local list included 129 USF Health doctors who care for patients and families throughout the Tampa Bay region. More than two-thirds of the Best Doctors at our primary teaching hospital, Tampa General Hospital, are USF Health physicians.


Navigator Philip Conti explains today's enrollment with Jodi Ray, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and Michael Smith, special assistant to President Obama.

Navigator Philip Conti of the Hillsborough County Division of Health Care Services speaks with Jodi Ray, principal investigator of the USF Navigator grant; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; and Michael Smith, special assistant to the President.

USF once again wins country’s largest Navigator grant

This September, for the second consecutive year, Jodi Ray’s team at the Florida Covering Kids & Families program, USF College of Public Health, was awarded the largest Navigator grant in the country — $5.9 million. Over the last three years, USF has been awarded more than $14.5 million in federal Navigator grants to help eligible uninsured Floridians get health care coverage.  The team’s success working with consortium partners across the state on education and outreach has garnered national media attention. This year’s enrollment event at the Marshall Student Center on Nov. 1 was visited by a White House official and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.



USF Health’s Dr. Charles Lockwood with Kathryn J. Gillette, Bayfront Health Market President and CEO.

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg becomes newest affiliate in Pinellas County

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg signed an affiliation agreement this fall with USF Health to help expand and strengthen the health care provided to patients in key medical and surgical specialties. Bayfront Health initially contracted with USF Health physicians who practice in the specialty areas of general and interventional cardiology and colorectal surgery.


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The USF Health transitioned to the Epic electronic health records system in seven months; the typical changeover takes more than 18 months.

Epic electronic health records system launched

USF Health converted to Epic electronic health records (EHR) system at all its clinical sites Aug. 1, launching a new era of efficiency, improved patient care and safety, and a more cohesive system with Tampa General Hospital, its primary teaching hospital. Hundreds of people from various departments have participated in the process.


USF Public Health first in state to launch new master’s curriculum

The USF College of Public Health became the first in Florida to update the curriculum for its master’s degree program, a step in tandem with a national effort to better train the public health workforce and improve population health. The changes reflect the national push to provide today’s public health professionals with real-world concepts that meet today’s public health needs. 


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Kevin Sneed, PharmD, dean of the USF College of Pharmacy, presents the good news about accreditation to his faculty.

Pharmacy earns its first full accreditation

In July, the USF College of Pharmacy earned its first full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), marking a huge milestone for the young school and validating the innovative education experience offered to its students.


USF Health has a physician resident and fellowship program with Tampa General Hospital. Lindsey Ryan MD, an otolaryngology intern began her general surgery rounds with attending surgeon, Noor M. Kassira, MD, Frank Velez, MD, Jennifer Thuy-Quynh Le, MS3 and  Connor W. Barnes, MD in pediatrics and the neonatal care unit.

Charles Paidas, MD, (far left) professor of surgery and vice dean for Clinical Affairs and Graduate Medical Education at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, chats with otolaryngology intern Lindsey Ryan, MD, (right) as a group follows him for grand rounds at Tampa General Hospital during the first day for new residents.

First Day: USF physician residents embrace their specialty training

On July 1, the national start to residency training programs, new-to-USF residents were deployed to many clinical facilities and hospitals across the Tampa Bay area affiliated with the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.  This year’s residents and fellows totaled 238 — with about 45 percent starting at Tampa General Hospital, 25 percent at James A. Haley VA Hospital, 15 percent at Moffitt Cancer Center, and the remaining at various other sites.


First USF Health Commencement marks milestone for 600 graduates

The first-ever USF Health commencement ceremony May 1 brought together all the undergraduate and graduate candidates from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Pharmacy, as well as the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.  The ceremony in USF’s Sundome marked the graduation of the College of Pharmacy’s inaugural class and recognized the 30th anniversary of the USF College of Public Health, the state’s first accredited school of public health.


Dr.s Labovitz (USFH) Caldeira and Hook (FACT) at TGH in OR and pre patient conference

Christiano Caldeira, MD, president and CEO of Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery, in one of the cardiac operating rooms at Tampa General Hospital, where FACT surgery performs most of their more than 600 heart and lung surgeries a year.

USF Health, Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery team up to expand education and research

The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine launched an academic partnership with one of the top heart and lung transplant surgery groups in the country to expand the university’s education and research opportunities in advanced cardiovascular care. The partnership opens the door for USF to work closely with Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery, based at Tampa General Hospital, to create accredited fellowships in cardiothoracic surgery and subspecialties such as heart and lung transplantation and heart surgery.



This year, Military Times reported USF as the #2 Best For Vets university in the country, a ranking likely influenced by #1 rankings for both the College of Nursing and the College of Public Health as “Top Veteran-Friendly Schools.”

USF Nursing and Public Health each named No. 1 in Top 10 veteran-friendly schools rankings

In May College Factual ranked the USF College of Nursing the #1 veteran-friendly school in the nation for a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  That was followed in June by a first-place ranking for USF College of Public Health’s undergraduate program in College Factual’s “Top 10 Veteran-Friendly Public Health Schools” list.  Both top spots were reported in Military Times magazine.

– College Factual names USF #1 in top 10 ranking of veteran-friendly nursing schools
– USF undergraduate public health program ranked No. 1 among nation’s best for veterans

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Leadership of USF Health and Florida Hospital Tampa, as well as medical faculty and student volunteers, pose for a photo at the soft opening of the BRIDGE Clinic at Florida Hospital.

USF Health and Florida Hospital Tampa partner to expand BRIDGE clinic

Further strengthening ties between the two institutions, Florida Hospital Tampa this April committed $1.2 million in donated goods and services to the University of South Florida to help expand community-centered medical care through the USF Health BRIDGE Clinic. The partnership will increase access to specialty care for uninsured residents served by the USF Health student-run program and significantly increase the number of patients seen.



Dr. Kevin Sneed, dean of the USF College of Pharmacy, meets “Fill” (short for Refill), the small humanoid robot who made his debut at the Pharmacy Plus open house.

Pharmacy Plus Open House introduces robotic “greeter”

Faculty, staff, students and patients got a close-up look at USF Health’s “Pharmacy of the Future” when Pharmacy Plus held an open house April 22 to inform the USF community of its full range of services, including making onsite pharmacists an integral part of the entire health care team.


USF med students find their residencies with Match Madness

The largest Match Day class in the history of USF’s medical school — 128 students, including the charter group of SELECT students — moved their 2015 Match Day celebration from Skipper’s Smokehouse to a more spacious venue at Ulele restaurant, along the banks of the Hillsborough River and Tampa’s Riverwalk.  The new spot is closer to downtown Tampa, the future home of the Morsani College of Medicine.  March 20, 2015 was also the first time that the USF College of Pharmacy celebrated its own Match Day.

– Morsani College of Medicine graduates 128 new physicians
– Students anticipate USF’s first Pharmacy Match Day



Dr. Charles Lockwood, senior vice president for USF Health and medical school dean, with FOI President Dr. Roy Sanders.

USF Health and Florida Orthopaedic Institute sign new academic affiliation agreement

USF Health and Florida Orthopaedic Institute (FOI), Florida’s largest private orthopaedic group, forged a new academic affiliation in March, aimed at creating a pre-eminent department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of South Florida over the next decade. FOI President Dr. Roy Sanders was named chair of the USF Orthopaedics Department as part of this stronger partnership to advance clinical training and research.



USF was ranked as Florida’s top graduate nursing program by U.S. News & World Report, surpassing such schools as the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Miami.

U.S. News ranks USF Nursing and Public Health graduate programs among nation’s best

Graduate programs at the University of South Florida’s College of Nursing and College of Public Health ranked among the nation’s best in the latest U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Graduate Schools” edition, appearing online in March. Last ranked by U.S. News in 2011, the College of Nursing’s graduate program ranking jumped substantially from number 64 to number 38. The College of Public Health ranked 16 — up from 21 when the school was last ranked three years ago.


25th USF Health Research Day: A celebration of research and collaboration

This year’s Research Day (Feb. 20)  marked the 25th time USF Health’s emerging scientists came together to present their projects.  Inside the Marshall Center Ballroom was a celebratory buzz of activity, with rows and rows of bulletin boards holding the work of students, residents, fellows and post-doctoral researchers from across USF Health, including some collaborations with main campus researchers.



The interdisciplinary team includes, standing from left, USF Health’s Dr. Arthur Labovitz, Dr. Michael Alberts, Dr. Michael Fradley, Bernadette Shields, RN, cardio-oncology nurse coordinator at Moffitt, Dr. Roohi Ismail-Khan, and Larry Roy, administrator for the new Cardio-Oncology program.

USF Health, Moffitt Cancer Center Launch Florida’s First Cardio-Oncology Program

In January, USF Health and Moffitt Cancer Center started Florida’s first comprehensive academic Cardio-Oncology Program to reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications caused by cancer treatment. The joint effort combines the expertise of cardiologists and oncologists to provide better care for cancer patients who have a history of cardiovascular disease or have developed cardiotoxic side effects from chemotherapy.



Commanding the stage with her powerful peformance of “Someone Like You,” USF pharmacy student Bionqua Lynch was the 2015 winner of the BANDaids for BRIDGE talent show.

BANDaids for BRIDGE showcases talent for a cause

The 4th Annual BandAIDS for BRIDGE Talent show packed the hall at the Pepin Hospitality Centre on Jan. 9 — entertaining students, faculty, staff and friends of USF Health with energetic acts ranging from heartfelt singing and dancing to musical arrangements and comedy. Beyond showcasing student talent, the event benefits the USF BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, a nationally recognized initiative of students from several colleges and schools that provides free health care to underserved residents of the University Area Community.

RELATED ARTICLE:  Top 10 most popular USF Health stories

Videos by Sandra C. Roa and photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications and Marketing
Nursing fall pinning ceremony video by Ryan Noone, USF College of Nursing

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