Inspiring Innovation shares the latest research advancements, educational milestones and clinical achievements at UF Health Shands Hospital and the UF College of Medicine.
Participate virtually in weekly presentations.
UF South Florida Virtual Leadership Series | Alumni Speaker Series | Gator Specialty Series | Gator Grub | Gator Arts & Medicine | Gator Family Fun
Alumni Speaker Series
The Alumni Speaker Series is a platform where UF College of Medicine graduates can provide insight into their medical school and residency experiences, discuss various career paths, and share tips on topics such as work-life balance and budgeting with UF medical students.
On Sept. 29, 2020, via Zoom, Gator graduates who are completing residencies in various programs across the country shared their medical school tips and answered students’ questions on how to navigate medical school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Oct. 26 via Zoom, Suzy Feigofsky, M.D. ’97, an alumna of the College of Medicine and triple Gator, shared her medical school experience and career path within her field of cardiology. She also discussed burnout and Imposter Syndrome.
On March 9th, we held the panel discussion that celebrates Women in Medicine with our alumnae: Stephanie I. Byerly, M.D. ’92, H.S. ’97, Holly L. Neville, M.D. ’96, Ki Eun Park, M.D. ’06, H.S. ’14, and Stephanie C. Yarnell, Ph.D. ’11, M.D. ’13. They shared their experience about the unique challenges female physicians confront over their careers to foster an inclusive environment that promotes female healthcare providers’ growth and development.
Do you want to know what emotional intelligence is and how you can use it in your relationships with classmates, patients, and colleagues? Tune in to get answers and other essential pieces of advice from Gary Gomez, M.D. ’02, MBA ’17, who was in your shoes not so long ago. He shared his journey and how he overcame medical school challenges.
Do you want to know how to choose your specialty? Please tune in to get answers, and other essential pieces of advice from our Gator Graduates who are completing residencies in various programs across the country shared their medical school tips.
Tune in for a nonlinear journey of an alumna Ashwini Zenooz, M.D. ’99, towards a steadfast goal – improving the health system. Dr. Zenooz is a double Gator, and in her current role as the CEO of Commure, the developer platform of healthcare applications, she shares her nontraditional career path in Medicine.
Tune in to hear from two experts on the thriving topic of non-traditional career path opportunities in Medicine with Sarah Fuchs, M.D. ’11 MSCI, and Lauren B. Reoma, M.D. ’11.
Gator graduates: Joanne C. Albert, M.D. ’20, Amber J. Cooke, M.D. ’19, Emily S. Edwards, M.D. ’21, Justin Dourado, M.D. ’19, Talles Sidronio, M.D. ’19, and Sean Taasan, M.D. ’19, who are completing residencies in various programs across the country shared their medical school tips and answered students’ questions.
Gator Specialty Series
Created in conjunction with the Office of Student Affairs, the Gator Specialty Series is a platform where UF College of Medicine graduates can provide insight into their chosen specialty. This monthly series will explore specialties in different clinical settings across urban and rural communities and academic medicine. Students will hear from alumni who have completed training and work in their chosen specialty during these sessions.
Hear from real-life psychiatrists: Jennifer L. Goetz, M.D. ’13, Maria L. Llorente, M.D. ’86, Mariam Rahmani, M.D. ’09, HS ’14, Michelle R. Scargle, M.D., HS ’06, and Sarah Y. Vinson, M.D. ’07 on their profession and answer students’ questions and concerns.
Alumni specializing in pediatrics, Sonja Rasmussen, M.D. ’90; Janelle Hayes Barfield, M.D., FAAP, ’06; and Michael Ortiz, M.D. ’10, shared their training experiences and accomplishments challenges.
Alumni specializing in OB/GYN, Nyima S. Ali, M.D. ’09, Kendra Sylvester-Armstrong, M.D. ’14, Amelia M. Schaub, M.D. ’16, and Jason A. Schneider, M.D. ’17, shared their training experiences and accomplishments challenges.
During our final series for this semester, which focused on General Surgery, alumni Holly L. Neville, M.D. ’96, Stefanie D. Kolpak, M.D. ’96, Jason A. Shofnos, M.D. ’01, Ana M. Velez-Rosborough, M.D. ’12, Nicholas S. Laconi, M.D. ’17, Anna Beth West, M.D. ’18 and Justin C. Dourado, M.D. ’19, shared their training experiences, accomplishments, challenges, and insights.
The Gator Specialty Series is back! Alumni specializing in Internal Medicine: Joe L. Lezama Jr., M.D. ’97, Paul D. O’Rourke, M.D. ’11, Mary Solis, M.D. ’18, and Sean M. Taasan, M.D. ’19, shared their training experiences, accomplishments, challenges, and insights.
Hear from real-life doctors and four energetic alumni as they discuss maintaining balance in the carrier, army, home, and beyond. How family medicine specialty affords opportunities, flexibility, variety, and a lot of passion for caring for patients. Alumni specializing in Family Medicine: Patricia Calhoun, M.D. ’89, Holly L. Baab, M.D. ’00, Stacy Lundstedt, M.D. ’13, and Cordell R. Hachinsky, M.D. ’18.
Hear from alumni who have the great work ethics necessary to succeed in a fast-paced specialization like Emergency Medicine: Andreea S. Nemes, M.D. ’09, Andrew F. Miller M.D. ’10, Christopher E. Bucciarelli, M.D. ’09, Charles W. Hwang Jr., M.D., ’13, and Beulah D. Castor M.D., ‘18.
Alumni specializing in Dermatology: Philip G. Barton, M.D. ’92, Kathryn B. Holloway, M.D. ’92, Gina M. Sevigny, M.D. ’94, Amy E. DeVore, M.D., ’03 and Samantha H. Fisher, M.D. ‘18., shared their training experiences, accomplishments, challenges, and insights.
Alumni specializing in Cardiology: Dr. David L. Boone, M.D. ’16, Dr. Carl A. Dragstedt, HS ’12, Dr. Suzanne Feigofsky, M.D. ’97, HS ’04, Dr. Matthew S. McKillop, M.D. ’03, HS ’06, Dr. Ki Eun Park, M.D. ’06, HS ’13, Dr. John W. Petersen, M.D. ’04, HS ’10, Dr. Brian C. Taschner, M.D. ’98, shared their training experiences, accomplishments, challenges, and insights.
UF South Florida Virtual Leadership Series
Tune in for a virtual meeting of the UF Health Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment—a unique interdisciplinary program that integrates clinical care for children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders with community outreach, and education, and cutting-edge research. Together, we are improving the lives of individuals and families who are impacted by these disorders.
Check out healthy recipes submitted by alumni. Want to share a recipe? Email email@example.com.
Dr. Brian Taschner is a cardiologist in Fort Myers, Florida, and an avid athlete who completed the Spartan Beast obstacle course and race. Founder of Vibrant Beat, an educational platform that promotes healthy lifestyle habits, he hosts lecture at venues throughout the community to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet on cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Kavita Rajasekhar is a public health physician in NYC, serving as Associate Medical Director for a worker health protection program. She recently completed culinary school training at the Natural Gourmet Institute, a health-supportive, plant-based program, with an internship at Purple Kale Kitchenworks. Kavita enjoys learning and practicing knowledge on the healing properties of food and other lifestyle measures, especially yoga.
Dr. Wendie Moore is a retired Diagnostic Radiology Specialist in Ocala, FL, and has over 28 years of experience in the medical field. As a Triple Gator, Dr. Moore is also a past and honorary member of the Medical Alumni Association Board. She is a part of the interview process for new medical students. Dr. Moore has recently been inspired to shift to a vegetarian/vegan diet after attending the first-ever UF Culinary Medicine Conference. She is enjoying incorporating her conference’s knowledge to her Gator lifestyle.
Miranda Scalabrino graduated in 2016 from the University of Florida with a doctorate in medical sciences and a genetics concentration. Currently, Dr. Scalabrino is a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Her research focuses on developing gene therapies for inherited blindness, and she was recently awarded a science communication fellowship from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Dr. Scalabrino also co-owns the North Carolina liquor company Oak City Amaretto with her husband. She spends her free time making, bottling and advertising the almond-based liquor, as well as developing cocktail and dessert recipes. For Dr. Scalabrino, making food is an act of love as well as a tasty application of science!
Gator Arts & Medicine
View art submissions from alumni. Want to share your work of art? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Avan Armaghani, an oncologist in Tampa, Florida, who enjoys dabbling in photography, captured this image in February at the Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm in Alachua.
Dr. Sonja A. Rasmussen, a professor in the UF College of Medicine’s departments of pediatrics and epidemiology, shares her passion for emphasizing the beauty in Gainesville and North Florida. The picture was taken during a boat ride on Santa Fe Lake.
Dr. Anthony J. Pizzo, a plastic surgeon from Tampa, Florida, shares valuable lessons from his time as a student at the UF College of Medicine and how a phrase from today’s headlines has led to a deeper understanding of events in his medical career, presented in one of the many forms of art — an essay.
Dr. Kyle Seifert is a professor and associate department head in the department of biology at James Madison University, a primarily undergraduate institution in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Dr. Seifert is a firm believer in work/life balance, using his time away from the classroom and lab to build boats. He’s built a variety of kayaks, canoes, and a paddleboard, with plans to make many more in the near future.
Wendy Welch, MD ‘90, MBA, CHCQM, is the Chief Medical Officer at Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, a specialty behavioral health plan serving Medicaid beneficiaries across 20 counties in North Carolina. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Atrium Health, where she teaches managed care literacy to faculty and residents. Dr. Welch shares her passion for beautiful surroundings like this photo captured by her camera lens.
Dr. Dempsey S. Springfield is a retired orthopaedic surgical oncologist after receiving his medical degree, completing an orthopaedic residency, and a musculoskeletal oncology fellowship at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. He lives in Palm Coast, Florida, with his wife of over 50 years, Deanna Saltzman Springfield. Dr. Springfield shares his story of how the musical interest stimulated him to make musical instruments.
Dr. David Westfall is a retired Family Medicine Specialist in Gainesville, GA, and has over 49 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine medical in 1972. A few years later, Dr. Westfall and his wife moved to Gainesville, GA, where he established a private family medicine practice. He became active in the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians and the medical staff of Lanier Park Hospital and Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). Northeast Georgia Health System recruited him in 1993 to help develop the Primary Care Network (the precursor to Northeast Georgia Physicians Group). He became the hospital’s first physician executive as vice president of Medical Affairs and the PCN medical director. Dr. Westfall is enjoying his active retirement by hiking and mastering the woodturning technic.
Dr. Tammy Euliano is a UF lifer and Triple Gator. Dr. Euliano has served on faculty since 1996, rising to full professor and honored with multiple teaching awards, several patents for simulation and maternal-fetal monitoring devices, and served as director of both the medical student clerkship and the residency program. Now that her three kids have moved on (one a third-generation Gator), she writes medical mystery/thrillers as an encore career. Dr. Euliano continues to work part-time at UF and lives in Gainesville with her husband and two dogs, who all enjoy intermittent visits from the children.
To enjoy an excerpt from Dr. Euliano’s novel, “Fatal Intent,” click below.
Christa Matrone, M.D. ’12, is a neonatologist at Mednax and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Children in Orlando, Florida. In the NICU, she is the director of therapeutic hypothermia and a member of the Complex Care Unit. She helps take care of and plan discharge for babies with special medical needs, including long-term reliance on mechanical ventilation.
Dr. Matrone enjoys many different arts and crafts, especially when her two daughters can join to participate. For Dr. Matrone, painting has always been the most meditative and calming practice. Her painting recently has been nature and biology-inspired, and it tends toward the abstract. She also loves plants of every kind, and her garden reflects that. Her particular interest in collecting plants that look alien—the weirder, the better!
John Chase is a recently retired orthopaedic surgeon. Dr. Chase attributes his values to growing up in Iowa and his solid fund of knowledge from receiving his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University and his medical degree from the University of Iowa. After that, he completed the Orthopaedic residency at the University of Florida and graduated in 1986. During his fourth year of residency, Dr. Chase received the Hugh Hill award at the UF. Orthopaedic residency at the UF rounded out his academic and surgical preparation for a career in orthopaedic surgery in Orlando, focusing on knee and ankle problems. Dr. Chase wanted to pass along humorous stories from his medical journey to those in medicine, insights for those who are not in the medical field, and lessons for young people just starting down the medical path. His recent book, “You What?!” rounded out about 35 years of orthopaedic surgery. To enjoy some of the stories from Dr. Chase’s book, click below.
Robert “Bob” Dein, M.D., is a retired pathologist-turned-philanthropist who’s bringing hope to others by supporting fundamental research at UF and candidly sharing his own trials as a long-term caregiver.
From that dark place bloomed a determination to ease others’ burdens. His experience caring for the loved ones with Parkinson’s disease led in 2017 to endow a UF professorship for Parkinson’s research in his wife’s name by Dr. Dein.
When Dein entered medical school at the University of Florida, he was the youngest in the class. After receiving his medical degree in 1970, Dr. Dein also completed his residency at the University of Florida.
Back home in Venice, Florida, Dr. Dein is enjoying remarried life. He also developed a new passion. Dr. Dein is evolving in street portrait photography.
To admire Dr. Dein’s lens capture, please click below.
James W. Ziegler, M.D. is a Pediatric Cardiologist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Brown University Medical School. Dr. Ziegler is a 1984 graduate of the University of Florida College of Medicine and a lifelong, fiercely proud Gator (displaced in New England). His career has taken him from Florida to Boston to Colorado and then to Rhode Island, where he has lived for 25 years. He feels incredibly thankful for his time in Gainesville, easily the funniest, most academic four years of his life. James and his wife Joy, a Pediatrician, live in Saunderstown, RI. They are the proud parents of two amazing young women, Meg and Kate.
Dr. Ziegler wanted to pass along his experience in participating in two amazing trips, and in 2016, he felt compelled to share the back stories of these journeys with others, resulting in the book Road Worthy.
Dr. Lealani Mae (Leah) Acosta is an associate professor of neurology and a board-certified neurologist specializing in neurodegenerative memory disorders. Currently, she serves as co-editor of the Humanities section of the journal Neurology. Dr. Acosta joined the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine faculty in 2013. She completed graduate studies, obtaining a master’s in public health at Vanderbilt, with her research focused on error frequency and quality in a task of semantic fluency in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Her interest in this topic stems partly from her hobbies of poetry, drawing, and calligraphy. Her publications reflect these varied interests, including peer-reviewed research articles and creative writing, primarily poetry. Dr. Acosta’s humanities pursuits also extend to the fiber arts, as she has crafted several hats along a medical theme
Gator Family Fun
Check out these Gator-themed resources for the whole family.
Watch this step-by-step tutorial on how to draw Florida’s mascot: the alligator.
Break out the orange and blue crayons and express your Gator spirit with these printable coloring pages.
Learn how the sky gets its orange and blue hues with this step-by-step science experiment.
An appropriate activity for children ages 3 to 8, this experiment uses an orange to demonstrate why things sink and float.