Vaccines and Veracity
After a year of battling COVID-19, dedication and a collaborative spirit continue to resonate.
Welcome to the spring 2021 edition of Academic Matters, the quarterly newsletter of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.
After a full year, we continue to navigate the unprecedented challenges of a pandemic that has infected more than 120 million people worldwide, including more than 30 million in the United States. Tragically, our country recently surpassed 549,000 deaths due to COVID-19. In Florida alone, we have had more than 2 million cases and have exceeded 33,000 deaths.
Within the past 12 months, we have admitted more than 1,660 COVID-19 patients. I’m proud to say we have saved the overwhelming majority of them. On Jan. 20, we discharged our 1,000th unique COVID-19 patient. While we grieve for the lives lost, let’s remember to celebrate those we have saved because that is what helps keep us going.
In Northeast Florida, our enterprise has led the way in the acquisition, storage and administering of the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, we have administered more than 25,000 doses of the vaccine, an amazing accomplishment. We are thrilled that so many UF Health physicians, support staff and others — as well as qualifying family members — have opted to receive the vaccine, and we encourage others to do so. However, it is not required and we respect everyone’s personal decision.
Overall, though, the vaccination trends indicate we may be able to resume “normal” in the not-so-distant future. But even if you have received both doses of the vaccine, it is imperative for you to continue wearing a mask, physically distancing and avoiding large crowds, as it may be possible for a vaccinated person to transmit COVID-19 to people who have not been vaccinated.
In the face of these challenging times, I am proud of the incredible spirit, commitment, hard work and collaboration you continue to demonstrate. Compassion, quality care, dedication and renowned expertise remain themes of everything we do at UF Health.
Huge thanks go to everyone who has led and assisted in the efforts to fight this pandemic. We will get through this together and will be better because of it.
GROWTH AND EXPANSION
In February, we broke ground on a state-of-the-art multispecialty surgery center and medical office building off J. Turner Butler and Kernan boulevards on Jacksonville’s Southside. The facility, in partnership with the Jax Spine & Pain Centers, will be the largest freestanding multispecialty surgery center in the region. Services will include neurosurgery, interventional pain management, orthopaedic surgery, gastroenterology, oral and maxillofacial surgery and gynecology.
This partnership symbolizes the continued effort to make our award-winning, high-quality care more accessible to those who seek such services. We know that the expertise of our renowned faculty physicians and dedicated staff plays an integral role in our vision to be the region’s most valued health care asset.
Leon L. Haley Jr., M.D., MHSA, C.P.E., FACEP
Dean, UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville