Weathering the storm and expanding our enterprise

Dr. Haley discusses the teamwork on display during the hurricane and growing the college's leadership team

By: Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., MHSA, C.P.E., FACEP

Greetings colleagues,

Welcome to the fall 2017 edition of Academic Matters, the e-newsletter of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.

The hospital’s Incident Command Center was staffed around the clock during Hurricane Irma.

In late August, we saw Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, resulting in flooding of epic proportions. Many of us watched as our sister hospitals provided extraordinary care under dire circumstances. Little did we know that Hurricane Irma would soon force Jacksonville and the rest of Florida to do the same.

I spent several days at UF Health Jacksonville during the storm and watched with great pride as our physicians, nurses, residents, leaders and staff “fought the good fight.” They provided extraordinary care, received ambulance after ambulance as other hospitals closed, fixed leaks, protected IT systems and pumped water away from vital systems — all while not knowing the hurricane’s impact on their own homes and families. You are an extraordinary team and I am proud to be part of the enterprise.

Close to home

David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D.

We all will need medical care. It’s not an “if” question, only one of “when.” Like many of you, that hit close to home as I was struck by the transparency in Dr. David Guzick’s letter to the UF Health community in August detailing his recent cancer diagnosis and the need for care at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute here on the Jacksonville campus.

While no one ever wants that type of diagnosis, we are blessed to have some of the best physicians, nurses, learners and staff in the country on this campus, and we thank Dr. Guzick for choosing us to help him face this challenge. We wish him nothing but the best.

Organizing to learn

While I have definitely grown more comfortable with our campus and system, I am still learning my way around and am trying to visit all of the sites. I aim to keep Thursday morning blocked on my calendar so I can make rounds and visits. If I haven’t made it to your site yet, reach out to my assistant, Nancy Stover, so I can arrange a time to visit your operation or clinical site.

Building the leadership team

Pradeep Kadambi, M.D., M.B.A.

We have successfully recruited a new senior associate dean for clinical affairs and president of UFJP. Pradeep Kadambi, M.D., M.B.A., a transplant nephrologist, will be joining us Oct. 1. He comes from the University of Arizona, where he was medical director of solid organ transplantation and chief clinical affairs officer of a 620-physican medical group. We look forward to onboarding him quickly to his role, especially since planning for the 2019 fiscal year budget will soon begin.

We continue to recruit for a senior associate dean for research. Four excellent candidates visited us this summer and I look forward to working with the search committee — chaired by Stephen Cuffe, M.D. — to select the best candidate to help lead research on this campus. Also, recruitment continues for three department chairs: urology, ophthalmology and radiology. Those positions should be filled by the end of the year.

North campus hospital tower

On Aug. 15, we opened the labor and delivery and women’s services unit at UF Health North. It’s the final unit to open in our new hospital, making the building fully functional. We have had several deliveries and look forward to growing our volumes and truly becoming the hospital of choice for obstetrical and gynecological care in North Jacksonville. Special thanks to all of our department chairs and faculty for their medical leadership to help ensure the hospital stood ready to receive patients from all across Northeast Florida and Southern Georgia.

Addressing the tri-part academic mission

We welcomed more than 100 new residents, 50 new pharmacy students and 20 new nursing students to the campus this summer. In speaking to elected officials and business and community groups around the region, I am always proud to share the richness of our educational programs and our role as the premier academic health center in Jacksonville.

Creating strategic alliances

As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, one of the keys to our unique institution is that we interact with a large number of key stakeholders. I continue to work with Russ Armistead and Dr. Guzick on meeting and developing the key alliances across the city and state to help strengthen our enterprise.


Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., M.H.S.A., CPE, FACEP