Department of Pediatrics
Our pediatrics department maintains steadfast dedication to quality care amid unprecedented challenges.
Like most others at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, the department of pediatrics has faced many challenges amid a global pandemic that has tested our reserve, sense of well-being and financial stability.
Throughout this crisis, our team of dedicated physicians, advanced practice providers, ancillary staff and administrative support staff have demonstrated remarkable perseverance, commitment and innovation to ensure we continue providing leading-edge treatments and lifesaving therapies. We have focused our efforts on strengthening access and prevention and reducing the burden of chronic diseases among children who are the most vulnerable and at risk for illness and injury.
Our department features 15 divisions that span inpatient and outpatient primary and specialty care. Some divisions run programs with strong community partnerships that have significantly impacted pediatric development, early learning and child advocacy and protection while reducing health disparities.
Notable updates within the department include:
GENERAL ACADEMIC PEDIATRICS
During the 2020 fiscal year, we increased the number of primary care practices to 12 with the opening of UF Health Family Medicine and Pediatrics – Nocatee and UF Health Pediatrics – Wildlight.
This division, which has advanced practice standardization across sites and undertaken several quality improvements, quickly and successfully transitioned to a telehealth platform during the pandemic. UF Health Pediatrics – San Jose began testing pediatric patients for suspected COVID-19.
CHILD PROTECTION AND FORENSIC PEDIATRICS
The division of child protection and forensic pediatrics spearheaded a Safe Sleep campaign that dramatically reduced the number of sleep-related infant deaths in the region.
In 2019, there were 22 reported deaths in Duval County due to co-sleeping. Through early August, Duval has reported no deaths this year attributed to co-sleeping. Our team, which collaborated with community partners and the nine birthing hospitals in the area, is proud of the incredible impact that has been made to help reduce this cause of infant mortality.
The division of pediatric genetics has expanded with the hiring of Anatalia Labilloy M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., who joins division chief Pamela Trapane, M.D. The division also has three APRNs, an RN care coordinator and a metabolic dietitian. This team provides clinical evaluation, diagnostic testing, genetic counseling and collaborative medical management for patients with known or suspected genetic conditions.
The team is also working to establish the state’s fourth newborn screening program, as well as a metabolic genetics program.
In August 2019, we recruited our first pediatric rheumatologist, Jennifer Rammel, M.D., M.P.H., who provides expert care to children with joint, muscle and bone disorders, including lupus, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and other complex autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
UF Health Jacksonville’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit received the 2019 John Curran Quality Improvement Award from the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative for its antibiotic stewardship program. Josef Cortez, M.D., the NICU medical director, led other faculty members and staff at UF Health in this comprehensive longitudinal initiative.
“Creating an Antibiotic Stewardship Program in a Tertiary Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Charge Nurses Taking Charge” mobilized the entire team to use antibiotics more judiciously and, as a secondary consequence, reduced central line infections. The effort, along with a prior project on reducing severe intraventricular hemorrhage, was central to the NICU receiving one of 17 national 2020 silver-level Beacon Awards from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.
GRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION
The department continues to pursue academic excellence as its faculty members educate the next generation of pediatricians and academic leaders in pediatrics.
Led by program director Ayesha Mirza, M.D., the pediatric residency program has achieved a 100% board exam pass rate among first-time test takers for each of the past three years. The program matched all 12 categorical and two preliminary pediatric neurology positions. We introduced our new three-year longitudinal global health track for the 2019-2020 academic year, which — until the onset of the pandemic — offered options for international rotations in Colombia and China for third-year residents.
Meanwhile, several divisions have helped advance the department’s mission of excellent education, research and patient care. They include:
Following are faculty members who have significant roles in sections, committees and/or chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- David Childers, M.D.: member, Executive Committee for the Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
- Matthew Garber, M.D.: chair, Section on Hospital Medicine
- Mark Hudak, M.D.: chair, Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine; executive Board member, Florida Chapter AAP; associate editor, Pediatrics
- Mobeen Rathore, M.D.: vice chair, District IX
- Colby Day Richardson, M.D.: immediate past chair, Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Trainees and Early Career Neonatologists group
DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND EQUITY
With respect to diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives, Rita Nathawad, M.D., received funding through the AAP Leonard P. Rome CATCH Visiting Professorship and organized a two-day community symposium that raised awareness on building capacities in LGBTQ+ health. The symposium was a catalyst for multiple initiatives in Jacksonville that are developing a system of care for LGBTQ+ children and youth under the umbrella of the Jacksonville Youth Equality program.
Adriana Cantville, D.O., organized June’s White Coats for Black Lives demonstration, which featured faculty physicians and other medical professionals who knelt in silence and solidarity against anti-Black racism and racial injustice.
OTHER RECOGNITIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Elisa Zenni, M.D., was selected as one of only 16 members of the inaugural cohort of the National Academy of Distinguished Educators in Pediatrics. She was chosen after exhaustive peer review by expert educators outside the field of pediatrics. The academy recognizes elite medical educators, fosters exchange and dissemination of innovative ideas and accelerates the development of junior and mid-career educators.
Mark Hudak, M.D., was recognized as a 2019 UF Research Foundation Professor.
We look forward to new opportunities and continued growth in the year ahead and are extraordinarily grateful for the compassion, dedication and valuable contributions our faculty and staff have provided.