I write to share news that later this fall, Danette and I will move to Salt Lake City, Utah, where I will join the faculty of the University of Utah as Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Dean of the School of Medicine, and Chief Executive Officer of University of Utah Health.
Transitions are bittersweet. The University of Florida and Gainesville have shaped our lives for over 34 years since we arrived here in the summer of 1984 to begin training in anesthesiology. We take so many wonderful memories with us. Our five children were born and raised in Gainesville, as was the Human Patient Simulator. We have had the opportunity to connect with so many gifted and compassionate individuals, working together every day to improve the lives of patients, students, communities and one another.
The Human Patient Simulator could only have been born at the University of Florida. In the 1980s, I was given the unique opportunity to work with a team of engineers and physicians, who rallied together to design, build, test, refine, patent and license a lifelike learning form that enables meaningful experiential learning across the educational spectrum. Today, there are thousands of HPSs in use around the world, helping learners master a large array of basic and advanced professional skills. At the VA in the 1990s, we were early adopters of balanced quality scorecards to measure and improve patient care, smoothly rolled out the VA’s then-novel Computerized Patient Record System, and successfully competed for two national VA research center of excellence awards.
During the past 10 years while serving as your dean, we have advanced excellence in each of our missions. Because of your tremendous compassion, skill and expertise, patients and their families drive by and fly over other health care providers to receive care from you at UF Health. Clinical growth has been robust, with ambulatory practice visits, hospital admissions, surgical procedures and emergency department visits all increasing 70 percent or more. Significant improvements have been achieved in quality of care and patient safety. Over the past decade, we have built and activated many new primary care offices, multispecialty care centers, freestanding emergency rooms and hospital bed towers. Our second Springhill facility will open its doors next month; new clinical space at the Oaks Mall and a new facility for Movement Disorders are coming in 2019.
Our research and education programs have seen similar advances, with NIH research funding awards to college faculty increasing from $61 million to $102 million (+67 percent) annually, and total extramural grant support now approaching $250 million. The UF medical education curriculum has been modernized, and a new, state-of-the-art medical education facility, the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building, built with the generous philanthropic support of our college alumni and friends. Medical student outcomes are strong, with nearly 30 percent of UF medical student graduates placing into residency training programs associated with top 10 medical schools. Initiatives to advance the diversity of the student body have been successful.
I have had the privilege of signing a historic number of diplomas and certificates, including over 1,300 medical degrees, 600 physician assistant degrees, 300 graduate degrees and 2,000 resident and fellowship certificates. Each represents a unique individual, now Gator alumnus, providing much-needed health care and scientific research in our state and nation. Our college faculty family now numbers over 1,400 strong. Twenty-five department chairs have been recruited and appointed over the past decade, and three of our department chairs are now deans at U.S. medical schools. I was honored to work with Florida legislators on many issues, including increased funding to the UF medical school, and to lead statewide efforts to assure Medicaid patients had access to high-quality specialty care.
Together in 2016, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the UF College of Medicine and memorialized our impressive legacy of innovation and collaboration in a commemorative history book (https://alumni.med.ufl.edu/60thbook/). I now look forward to using that volume to help me remember all the wonderful people who have blessed our lives and the many shared experiences of the past three-and-a-half decades.
I know this announcement comes at a time when many of you are concerned about the path forward, as decisions now need to be made about two pivotal senior leadership roles. Together we have accomplished so much. Yet I am truly confident you will achieve even more in the months and years ahead. Our shared values and vision — hardwired into who we are here at UF Health — will endure and will propel this fine academic health center forward anew. The momentum you’ve built will continue because of your lasting commitment to our patients, our students and each other, and because this great university, which recognizes the importance of our missions and respects what we’ve collectively accomplished, will ensure it does.
For each of us, the path of life takes many twists and turns, some anticipated, some not. It is always difficult to select a new trail when the current one has been so reliable and fulfilling. But personal and professional growth are often found on new trails, and so from time to time, it is important to avail oneself of a new opportunity. As we embark on our new journey to the west, we take with us our many Florida friendships, and fond memories of the special people that make the University of Florida a very special place. There is much we will miss, but never forget.
— Mike and Danette Good