CEO column: Ed Jimenez april 15

We are special and different at UF Health.

What makes us unique?

Ed Jimenez recently visited with UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital 4 West Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Unit staff, including (from left) Sadaf Malik, B.S.N., nurse, and Lauren Ochoa, B.S.N., CCRN, clinical leader.

In this edition of News&Notes, we’re reminded about organ donation — the ultimate gift of life that an individual agrees to give upon their death and that family members honor in their time of grief. Our local organ procurement organization, LifeQuest, is both a pioneer in the U.S., having started in 1966, and a leading advocate for organ donation. It covers 36 counties in North Florida, providing services and education to 78 hospitals and health care facilities. Last year, the LifeQuest team supported the wishes of 142 donors and families, resulting in the recovery of 402 organs. There are only 58 OPOs serving 249 transplant centers across the U.S. and Puerto Rico — and LifeQuest is one of only six hospital-based OPOs.

What does this say about UF Health? It means the federal government acknowledges and trusts that we have the capability to appropriately and compassionately support donor patients and families, while operating a top-tier transplant center and facilitating the gift of life for transplant patients. It acknowledges our commitment to excellence and to following the highest ethical standards.

We are special and different at UF Health. We sometimes take this for granted because we get used to working in an academic environment and doing incredible things for our patients and communities. There are so many examples.

Take the UF Health Shands Comprehensive Stroke Center being named a comprehensive stroke center by The Joint Commission. There are only 85 hospitals nationwide with this honor, which places our talented stroke team among the elite.

Consider our UF Health Shands expert nursing staff and our three-time Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This prestigious honor for nursing excellence and quality patient care puts us among only 400 hospitals worldwide and less than 7 percent of U.S. hospitals.

Meanwhile, David Kays, M.D., and his dedicated team at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital consistently maintained, over 20 years, some of the nation’s highest survival rates for treating children with chronic diaphragmatic hernia. The national average survival rate is 67 percent, while our team’s rate is 88 percent.

At UF Health Shands Hospital, we care for patients from all 67 Florida counties each year. And every day, at least 30 patients are transferred to us from other facilities for life-altering care by outstanding experts.

You are changing lives every day, and you’re enabling our patients and families, in turn, to change lives.

We’re at a preeminent organization — leading the way with preeminent faculty and staff who are among the very best health care providers. You, our everyday heroes, are the secret sauce.

This is on my mind, having just attended the Milestone Award banquet and meeting amazing staff who have dedicated decades of their lives to UF Health Shands. I honor all of you and thank you for your commitment to our patients and to each other.

Ed Jimenez
Interim CEO
UF Health Shands