State Surgeon General presents CCOE award

Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong presented the Florida Cancer Center of Excellence Award to Dr. Paul Okunieff, Ed Jimenez and Dr. Thom George.

UF Health cancer leadership gathered for a photo with Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong, M.D., (center, with award) during the Florida Cancer Center of Excellence award presentation.

The UF Health Cancer Center was recently recognized as a Florida Cancer Center of Excellence by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Health. State Surgeon General John D. Armstrong, M.D., FACS, who previously served as a UF College of Medicine trauma surgeon and medical director of our Level I Trauma Center, presented the award on April 16. Only three other cancer centers — Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami — qualified for the designation.

In his quest to personally recognize each of the four Cancer Center of Excellence institutions, Armstrong embarked on a marathon road trip, crisscrossing the state to visit each of the four cancer centers of excellence to hand deliver framed certificates of designation. He began his day at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville, followed by visits to the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital in Gainesville and the UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health. These three cancer treatment centers represent UF Health’s wide scope in providing cancer care to Florida’s residents and visitors.

Established by the Florida Legislature, the Cancer Center of Excellence designation recognizes hospitals and treatment centers that demonstrate excellence in patient-centered coordinated care for people undergoing cancer treatment and chemotherapy, with the goal of encouraging excellence in cancer care, attracting and retaining the best cancer care providers in the state and helping Florida be recognized nationally as a preferred destination for quality cancer care.