University of South Florida

In memoriam: Anh-Kay Pizano

USF Health lost a cherished team member and friend when Anh-Kay Pizano passed away March 3.

In her role as director of admissions, Anh-Kay impacted countless students vying for placement in the MD Program of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and she played a significant role in helping MCOM attain higher and higher-caliber students.

Anh-Kay joined MCOM in 2015 to oversee recruitment activities for the MD Program, which included arranging details for recruitment events and coordinating directly with students and pre-med advisors from all over Florida, and even across the United States. A strong believer that education could provide access to all, Anh-Kay had a keen eye for finding promising students and helped recruit and matriculate diverse students to the MD program.

With great patience, she would guide students through the arduous national application process and, for some of them, the interview process for USF Health’s MD Program. She then would be on the front lines to urge those admitted to MCOM to commit. In total, each new class of first-year medical students held many who were guided there by Anh-Kay.

Anh-Kay’s connection to USF goes back earlier than 2015.

As an undergraduate student at USF, Anh-Kay was the first student to receive a USF scholarship from Club 15, a Cuban-American nonprofit that helps Tampa Bay area low-income families and minority students. She went on to also attain her master’s and doctoral degrees from USF.

Her impact also reached out to the greater Tampa community. She was part of the City of Tampa Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council for over 10 years, raising money to send Latinos to USF and encouraging students to connect with the council’s Development Accelerator for Latinos Education to pursue higher education as a means of diversifying the workforce. Anh-Kay also co-chaired the annual Latinos Unidos Luncheon of the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council, which raises money for college scholarships. This year’s May 11 luncheon will be dedicated to Anh-Kay.

Anh-Kay was born in Cuba and moved to Tampa in 1983 with her parents, who were in exile; her father Roberto Pizano is a former political prisoner in Cuba. As an immigrant and a daughter of immigrants, Anh-Kay many times acted as the family translator and she would accompany her parents to appointments, make calls for them, and translate with repairmen and contractors coming to their home.

Anh-Kay was engaged to be married to Edwing Daniel, PhD, assistant dean of admissions and scholarships at MCOM, and she is also survived by her father Roberto Pizano, 83; her sister Cecilia, 49; her brother Rafael, 41; and her daughter Belize, 17.

Belize is a rising senior in high school, on the verge of going to college when she lost her mother Anh-Kay. The family has set up a fund to help support Belize’s college efforts.

Anh-Kay was a leader, a collaborator, a voice of support. She built strong relationships with students, staff, and faculty, as well as with communities across Tampa Bay. She had a tremendous work ethic and commitment to achieving goals, and always aimed to represent USF, USF Health and the Morsani College of Medicine in the most positive manner possible. USF Health and the Morsani College of Medicine will not be the same without her.

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