May/June distinctions

Hippocrates would be proud

Maureen Novak

It’s telling, perhaps, that one of the first things Maureen Novak, M.D., did after accepting the 2011 College of Medicine Hippocratic Award was dish out a little praise of her own. “I am really proud of all of you in the class,” said Novak, looking toward the area where members of the graduating College of Medicine class sat. “I am shaking. Thank you so much.” On May 3, surrounded by the lush green of Wilmot Gardens, Novak became the fourth pediatrician to receive the Hippocratic Award, widely considered one of the highest honors the graduating College of Medicine class bestows on one of its teachers each year. Novak has been at UF for 14 years, serving as a pediatrics clerkship director and pediatrics residency director before taking on her current role as associate dean for medical education three years ago. She also serves as medical director of the adolescent and young adult program in the department of pediatrics. Graduating student Sonja Boulware remembers being impressed with Novak almost from the beginning of her first year of medical school.

“Just seeing her work one-on-one with students and how she is with her patients shows what an amazing doctor and mentor she is,” Boulware said. “The best part about her is I feel like she is the same no matter what situation she is in, whether it is a lecture hall in front of 130 of us or with one of her teenage patients. You can tell she is genuine and she cares, and I think her patients can tell that, too.” — April Frawley Birdwell



Three times the honors

In March, Gator pharmacy students traveled to the 2011 American Pharmacist Association Annual Meeting in Seattle just like hundreds of other U.S. student-pharmacists. But the UF Academy of Student Pharmacists students returned home with three top awards. The UF students received the inaugural 2010 National Award for Generation Rx, an educational program that increases public awareness of prescription medication abuse and encourages health care providers, community leaders, parents, teens and college students to actively work to prevent abuse. They also received the 2010 National Professionalism Award and the 2010 Region 3 Operation Diabetes Award at the meeting. — Linda Homewood


College of Dentistry

Venita Sposetti


Venita Sposetti, D.M.D., an associate professor in the department of prosthodontics, has been appointed associate dean for education. Since July 2001, Sposetti has served as the assistant dean for admissions and financial aid, which is part of the Office of Education. In that role she managed dental admissions and financial aid, led efforts to implement holistic admissions practices in the D.M.D. program and effectively managed the program during a decade of dramatic growth in application numbers.




Ramon Bautista

Ramon D. Bautista, M.D., M.B.A., an associate professor and associate program director of the neurology residency program, received a UF Faculty Enhancement Opportunity award for the spring 2011 cycle. Bautista received $4,380 for efforts to enhance process improvement strategies and outcomes of quality measures and improve patient satisfaction through attendance at the American College of Physician Executives Three Faces of Quality seminar.

College of Medicine

Josepha Cheong

Josepha Cheong, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, was named the 2011 Educator of the Year by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Cheong, who is also associate chief of staff of the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was cited for her passion, devotion and excellence in geriatric psychiatry education. Her efforts in education include teaching medical students and residents in psychiatry, emergency medicine, neurology and critical care, as well as curriculum development and administration.

Jon Graham

Jon E. Graham, Ph.D., has been appointed deputy director of clinical operations for the UF Shands Cancer Center and a research assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology. Graham is a senior health care executive with more than 20 years experience in hospital operations, business development and oncology.  He will provide leadership associated with planning, developing, implementing and coordinating all clinical service oncology programs.

John Wingard

John Wingard, M.D., a professor and eminent scholar in the College of Medicine division of hematology and oncology, and director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, has been appointed deputy director for research for the UF Shands Cancer Center. Wingard’s principal responsibilities will be to oversee cancer clinical trials and to strategically advance the core grant-related initiatives and infrastructure of the center and its partner organizations.




College of Pharmacy

Larry Lesko

Lawrence J. Lesko, Ph.D., director of the Office of Clinical Pharmacology at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, will lead the college’s new pharmacometrics and systems pharmacology initiative in the interdisciplinary Institute of Therapeutic Innovation at the UF Research and Academic Center, now under construction in Orlando. Lesko, who assumes his new duties July 1, has influenced the profession and spurred scientific growth in clinical pharmacology, drug development and regulatory decision-making for the past 16 years.

Stephan Linden

Stephan Linden, B.S.Pharm., a senior graduate teaching assistant in the college’s department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, has been awarded the UF Graduate Student Teaching Award. A native of Germany, Linden also received recognition in April from the UF College of Pharmacy after graduating student-pharmacists chose him as Teaching Assistant of the Year.




College of Public Health and Health Professions

Babette Brumback

Babette Brumback, Ph.D., has been appointed to a four-year term on the Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Sciences Study Section of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review. Brumback is an associate professor in the department of biostatistics, a department jointly administered by the colleges of Public Health and Health Professions and Medicine.

Samantha Lupu

Samantha Lupu, a senior in the Bachelor of Health Science program majoring in communication sciences and disorders, received the Paula Porcher Criser Scholarship Award from the University Women’s Club. Lupu was recognized for her scholarship achievement, leadership and community service.

Anna Yam

Anna Yam, a doctoral student in the department of clinical and health psychology, received UF’s Leighton E. Cluff Aging Research Award in recognition of her research on measures of mental functioning designed to capture real-world tasks, like food preparation and medication use. Her research showed that real-world cognitive tasks could predict the level of functioning and amount of change in seniors’ self-reported everyday independence over a five-year period.