August 2018 – Distinctions

Recognition of achievement


Deborah Dilbone, D.M.D., a clinical assistant professor in the department of restorative dental sciences, has been appointed chair of the department. She is the college’s liaison for the American Dental Education Association’s, Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education and serves on the Practitioner Advisory Committee for the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network’s South Atlantic Region.


Saleem Islam, M.D., M.P.H., chief of pediatric surgery, has been chosen to serve on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Surgery Executive Committee. This is a seven-year term, with the sixth year served as chair of the section and then immediate past chair in the seventh year. The AAP is the premier organization that represents all the specialties and physicians who care for children in the United States.


Sarah Westen, Ph.D., a 2017 graduate of the clinical psychology doctoral program in the department of clinical and health psychology, has been chosen as one of five recipients of JDRF’s National Fellowship in Psychology Program awards for 2018-2019. JDRF Fellows will receive specialized, multidisciplinary training to enhance research and clinical skills in pediatric psychology, with an emphasis on Type 1 diabetes.

Amy Blue, Ph.D., the associate dean for educational affairs, UF Health’s associate vice president for interprofessional education and a clinical professor in the department of environmental and global health, received the Association of American Medical Colleges Southern Group on Educational Affairs Career Educator Award. The annual award recognizes a compelling record of educational scholarship for at least the past five years, ongoing educational leadership and significant involvement in enhancing educational programs and teaching effectiveness.

Meryl Alappattu, Ph.D., D.P.T., and Mark Bishop, Ph.D., P.T., both faculty members in the department of physical therapy, are recipients of national awards from the American Physical Therapy Association. Alappattu, a research assistant professor, received the Lucy Blair Service Award recognizing exceptional contributions to the association. Bishop, an associate professor, has been named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow, the association’s highest honor.
Susmita Datta, Ph.D., a professor in the department of biostatistics, has been selected to serve on the advisory board of the National Science Foundation’s Board of the Mathematical Sciences Regional Conference Series for a five-year term. The conference series consists of five-day conferences that feature a distinguished lecturer delivering 10 lectures on a topic of important current research in one sharply focused area of the mathematical sciences.


McKenzie Grace Smith, a B.S.N. graduate, was named one of two University of Florida Outstanding Student Leaders for 2018. Smith was the 2018 Distinguished Military Graduate, and was commissioned as an active duty 2nd Lt. in the Army Nurse Corps graduation weekend after serving as a Cadet Company Commander in the UF ROTC. She received the Award for Excellence in Inspiring Others Through Nursing at the college’s Pinning Ceremony.


Alex Fox-Alvarez, D.V.M., a third-year small animal surgery resident, was awarded the Resident Award by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. The honor, given to only two veterinary residents in North America each year, recognized his achievements in the clinical, educational and scholarly arenas.


By Tyler Francischine

Ryan Nall, M.D., ’09, was honored by the UF College of Medicine Class of 2018 with this year’s esteemed Hippocratic Award. A ceremony held at UF Wilmot Gardens gathered faculty, students, friends and family of Nall to honor his impact as an educator, mentor and physician.

Established by the Class of 1969, the Hippocratic Award is presented to a UF College of Medicine faculty member who embodies humanism, professionalism and teaching prowess. The award is considered one of the highest honors a graduating class bestows on one of its teachers, and 32 different faculty members have received this honor.

Michael L. Good, M.D., who stepped down in July as dean of the UF College of Medicine, thanked the Class of 2018 for their thoughtfulness in bestowing this award and congratulated Nall, a graduate of the UF College of Medicine.

“This award is about being an excellent educator, doctor and role model,” he said.

Nall accepted a plaque and thanked the Class of 2018 for the honor, hugging tightly each one of the nine students from his small group.

“It’s no hard task being motivated and inspired by these students. I’ve enjoyed growing and learning alongside them,” Nall said. “I know you’re going to go off to residencies and be that shining light for those you care for.”