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Law, Lockwood discuss leadership in a challenging era with USF Health LIFT

Earlier this month, the USF Health Leadership and Innovation Forum of Tampa (LIFT) held its first quarterly meeting of the 2021-22 academic year at the University Club in downtown Tampa. The meeting featured Rhea F. Law, University of South Florida president, and Dr. Charles Lockwood, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. This marked the first in-person meeting for the group since March 2020.

USF President Rhea F. Law

President Law shared with the LIFT members that USF continues to be recognized as America’s fastest-rising university, according to U.S. News and World Report, as it has risen 48 spots among public universities over 10 years, securing the ranking of No. 46 this year. The recent consolidation of USF’s three campuses has proven to be a benefit, providing students with the opportunity to move seamlessly throughout the university, allowing them to take courses at Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Sarasota-Manatee.

“I owe the majority of my professional career to USF, and I am delighted to be here – I feel like I’m home,” said President Law. “The entire university community is excited about USF’s momentum, and we’re looking forward to our next steps as a Preeminent University in Florida.”

Dr. Lockwood added that USF Health is transforming research, education, and patient care in the Tampa Bay area through its diverse and robust programs in the Morsani College of Medicine, College of Public Health, College of Nursing, and Taneja College of Pharmacy, as well as the practice plan’s newly enhanced partnership with Tampa General Hospital (TGH).

“One of most important things that has happened during my tenure as dean is our new affiliation with Tampa General Hospital. With this new structure, we’ll be able to hire exactly the kind of doctors in the numbers that the community needs, which will improve the overall health of our community,” said Lockwood.

USF Health SVP and Morsani College of Medicine Dean Dr. Charles Lockwood

Since early 2020, USF Health and TGH have been at the forefront of the battle with COVID-19, providing critical aid to the Tampa Bay community by running testing and treatment centers, conducting telehealth visits for positive COVID-19 patients who didn’t have assigned doctors, using research labs to conduct surveillance pool testing to keep the campus safe, conducting over 60 COVID- related clinical trials, and inventing a 3D flocked nasopharyngeal swab and sharing the formula with organizations around to the world to resolve the shortage on COVID-19 testing kits.

“Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the most remarkable thing I’ve seen during my career, of any organization. I could not be prouder of everyone at USF Health,” said Lockwood.

He also shared that USF Health is seeing about 1.2 million patients per year across 30 specialties. His vision for the new partnership with TGH is to expand the number of providers, build new facilities, invest in software and technology, and dramatically improve access. Between this strengthened partnership and the thriving colleges, USF Health is truly making life better for the Tampa Bay area.

The LIFT members will convene again in December to hear from Dr. Stephen Liggett, associate vice president for research at USF Health and the vice dean for research at the Morsani College of Medicine, to learn more about the advances in research at USF Health.


About the Leadership & Innovation Forum of Tampa, powered by USF Health

Launched in fall 2019, the Leadership & Innovation Forum of Tampa (LIFT), powered by USF Health, is an exclusive membership organization designed to unite innovators and leaders in Tampa, who are committed to advancing the economic and physical health of our region. USF Health LIFT connects the visionary talent of the community, sparking new ideas and collaborations that can benefit everyone. Members form new relationships, as well as partnerships, and hear from fascinating speakers who are reimagining the future of health from the environment, to the community, to the individual. LIFT members designate 85 percent of their membership fee to benefit student scholarships in a USF Health college.

To learn more about USF Health LIFT, please visit or contact

Story by Jessica Martinez, USF Advancement Communications & Marketing; Photos by Freddie Coleman, USF Health Communications