Reflecting on 2014 and looking ahead

Celebrating UF Health’s 2014 accomplishments

Looking ahead to 2015

It’s been an exciting year for UF Health, full of achievements, celebrations and outstanding performance by our faculty and staff. We upped the ante in 2014, expanding our outreach, introducing front-line technology and evolving at the forefront of health care.

As we look back at UF Health’s monumental year, we can’t help but anticipate what will be an eventful new chapter for our organization in 2015.

2014 in review

The year began with the creation of the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, a collaboration of expert cancer doctors and researchers that provides outstanding cancer care. The integrated environment offers patients better access to clinical trials, leading-edge treatments and enhanced personalized care.

In March, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital unveiled a new Pediatric Cardiac ICU, located on the 10th floor and   part of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center. With 23 private patient rooms, the specialized ICU has more space for our UF College of Medicine pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiac anesthesiologists and their UF Health Shands Nursing teams to provide the highest-quality and innovative care for young patients and their families.

A successful organization has outstanding leaders at the helm, and this year UF Health celebrated one of its finest and longest-tenured as he transitioned into a new position. Tim Goldfarb, who was CEO of UF Health Shands for 13 years, took a new role July 1 as UF Health executive vice president for regional and governmental affairs. Goldfarb passed the torch to Ed Jimenez, who served as UF Health Shands Hospital chief operating officer for four years before assuming the role of UF Health Shands interim CEO.

UF Health ShandsCair added an EC-155 model helicopter this summer — the largest, fastest and most advanced civilian aeromedical helicopter in the Southeast. Its ability to transport two patients to Gainesville from as far away as the Keys, Atlanta or Pensacola, without stopping to refuel, expands UF Health’s ability to reach patients with the most complicated cases.

In July, Alachua General Hospital was honored with a historical marker at Innovation Square Park. The commemorative sign was installed on the site where the hospital stood for nearly 82 years. AGH was Alachua County’s first community hospital, where staff members provided life-enhancing medical care to the residents of the county and its surrounding communities.

Later in the summer, we celebrated the opening of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital Sebastian Ferrero Atrium. The lobby area, decorated in serene hues with youthful pops of color, is a calming environment and pleasant distraction for pediatric patients and their loved ones. In U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospital Rankings, seven pediatric specialties were ranked among the nation’s best, with four earning a higher ranking than last year.

UF researchers received a $12 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center. The center will bring together physicians from different disciplines to gain a better understanding of what causes sepsis and to develop better methods for treating and preventing this devastating complication in patients.

Fall began with the 10th anniversary of the UF Health Shands Level 1 Trauma Center, where our critical care teams have treated more than 22,000 patients. The center’s highly specialized experts are the reason for our continued Level 1 certification and outstanding reputation. A trauma attending physician is in-house 24/7, and in all trauma alert cases, an emergency room attending and resident, two registered nurses, a critical care tech and other staff members are present. They draw on the expertise of a multitude of specialty and subspecialty physicians and clinical teams who can be mobilized quickly to care for patients with highly complex, traumatic injuries.

The UF Health Shands Emergency Center at Springhill also celebrated its one-year anniversary in 2014. The freestanding, 911-receiving E.R. served more than 16,000 patients in its first year.

The UF Diabetes Institute was established in October to offer a systemwide collaborative approach toward the research and treatment of diabetes. The institute brings together more than 100 faculty and staff from across UF — including the colleges of Medicine, Engineering, Public Health and Health Professions, and Nursing, as well as the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences — as a comprehensive hub for diabetes research and patient care at the state level.

Later in October, UF Health Shands Hospital was nationally recognized with a four-star rating from the University HealthSystem Consortium for overall quality and accountability performance — an important accomplishment that highlights our outstanding patient care.

“This has been a banner year for UF Health,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “We experienced tremendous progress and reached many exciting milestones this year, thanks to the momentum and passion of our incredibly talented UF Health faculty and staff, and I thank you for all you’re doing.”

A look ahead to 2015

We look forward to a strong partnership with UF’s 12th President W. Kent Fuchs, Ph.D., who will begin his new role on Jan. 1. Fuchs previously served as provost of Cornell University and will guide UF as it moves toward its preeminence goals.

UF Health in Gainesville will continue expanding in 2015 with the construction of the new UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital on our south campus, which will help us meet our patients’ increasing needs for these services. Site preparation began in the fall for the new facility, which will have 216 private beds and 20 operating rooms. The hospitals will be located east of the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital and will include another parking garage. The facilities will open for patients in 2018 and enable us to accommodate an increasing demand for expert care.

Gatorade celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015. The sports drink was first developed in 1965 by a group of UF researchers to replenish water, carbohydrates and electrolytes during rigorous athletic activities. Gatorade has become a global brand distributed in more than 80 countries.

This spring, UF Health will share a new strategic plan as our road map for continued collaboration and partnership in the years ahead, building on the Forward Together plan.

UF Health will welcome the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building in the summer of 2015. Named after UF College of Medicine’s founding dean, the facility will boast technologically advanced teaching and learning tools, and it will provide collaborative, multidisciplinary education and small-group learning to nurture great future physicians.

“Our future is bright and our academic health center’s growth will provide our exceptional employees with better resources than ever before. This will help us reach our goal of becoming the best academic health center in the Southeast,” Guzick said. “As promised, we are moving forward together to make a real impact on people’s lives as a regional health care resource.”

UF Health Shands interim CEO Ed Jimenez extended his thanks to everyone at UF Health for their contributions.

“We could not have reached these exciting milestones and we would not have so much to look forward to without your vision, passion, skills and hard work. We have incredible talent and many special people in our UF Health family, and together we’re building a very bright future for UF Health and promising a healthier tomorrow for our communities.”