Ronald Cohen, Ronald Cohen, Ph.D., director of the Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research Program, or CAM-CTRP, and a professor of aging and geriatric research, neurology and psychiatry, has been named the inaugural Evelyn F. McKnight chair for clinical translational research in cognitive aging and memory. Cohen’s chair is funded by an endowment from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.

Saleem Islam, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of surgery, has been named chief of the department of surgery’s division of pediatric surgery. He replaces longtime division chief David Kays, M.D., who is retiring. “As the new chief of the division of pediatric surgery, Dr. Islam brings a unique skill set that will promote growth in children’s surgical services clinically and academically,” said Kevin Behrns, M.D., chair of the department of surgery. “He is an outstanding clinician who excels at minimally invasive techniques and gastrointestinal surgery.”

Michael S. Okun, M.D., a professor in the departments of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry, has been named chair of the department of neurology. Okun also co-directs the UF Health Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, which he established with neurosurgeon Kelly Foote, M.D., in 2002. The center, which includes more than 40 interdisciplinary faculty members, delivers personalized care to patients with neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome and dystonia.

Christiana Shaw, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor in the department of surgery, has received the Mentoring Outside the Box award from the UF Health Cancer Center. The award recognizes working with and serving as a role model for students, postdoctoral fellows and/or junior colleagues. At the center’s awards event, Shaw received a plaque and $1,000 to go toward professional development or program support.

Public Health and Health Professions

Aliyah Snyder, a doctoral student in clinical psychology, is one of two students nationwide to
receive the 2015 Benton-Meier Neuropsychology Scholarship from the American Psychological Foundation. Her research has focused on recovery from traumatic brain injury. She is the founder of
Athlete Brain, a student-run group that promotes concussion education and awareness. She is mentored by Russell Bauer, Ph.D., a professor in the department of clinical and health psychology.


Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, Pharm.D., M.S., an associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, has received the American College of Clinical Pharmacy’s 2015 Cardiology Practice and Research Network Distinguished Investigator Award. The honor was given in recognition of her significant and long-lasting research contributions to the field of cardiovascular pharmacotherapy. As a UF faculty member, Cooper-DeHoff has played a leadership role in several studies, including the NIH-funded Pharmacogenomics of Antihypertensive Responses, or PEAR, studies as well as the INternational VErapamil-Trandolapril STudy, or INVEST.

Small Animal Hospital honors

Margo Macpherson, D.V.M., a professor of equine reproduction, will serve as the 2016 vice president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Macpherson’s tenure as vice president will begin Dec. 8 during the association’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. Following completion of the two-year term of her office, Macpherson will become president of the AAEP in 2018. A member of the college’s faculty since 1999, Macpherson served as chief of the UF Large Animal Hospital’s reproduction service from 2007 until this year. Prior to joining the UF faculty, she worked in private equine practice in Kentucky and served as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

IT honors

UF Health IT earned Stage 6 status on the HIMSS Analytics questionnaire, a public measure of how well IT systems are used within health systems. Attaining a Stage 6 designation indicates that UF Health Shands Hospital has achieved a high level of clinical automation that is incorporated into the patient care services it provides. It puts UF Health in the top 18 percent of health systems in the United States in terms of adoption and use of electronic medical records, according to the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption model.

New CFO for UF Health Shands

James J. Kelly Jr. has been named senior vice president and chief financial officer for UF Health Shands. Kelly has served as interim senior vice president and CFO since January. He originally came to UF Health Shands in 2012 as vice president for finance. “Jim has tremendous expertise and has earned the confidence and trust of leaders at UF Health Shands as he stepped into the interim role,” said Ed Jimenez, chief executive officer of UF Health Shands. “He has shown that he can balance thinking about our patients and our employees while maintaining a fiscally healthy organization.” Kelly’s responsibilities include overseeing all revenue cycle activities, including managed care contracting, as well as accounting, tax and reimbursement, financial planning and analysis, supply chain and accounts payable, and treasury functions.