March 2019 – Distinctions



Mark Atkinson, Ph.D., a professor in the departments of pathology and pediatrics and the director of the UF Diabetes Institute, and Desmond Schatz, M.D., a professor and associate chair of pediatrics in the college and medical director of the UF Diabetes Institute, have been ranked in the Top 10 worldwide by Expertscape, a website aimed at helping the public find doctors and researchers devoted to specific medical conditions and disorders.

Jamie Conti, M.D., FACC, a professor of medicine, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine and vice chair for clinical affairs for the department of medicine has been named chair of the department of medicine. Conti, who has served as interim chair of the department since January 2018, is internationally recognized in the field of clinical cardiac electrophysiology. She joined the faculty in 1994 and has held a number of positions that have shaped the division’s clinical and training programs. She served as the cardiology program training director from 1998-2009 and the director of clinical cardiac electrophysiology from 2005-08, and was promoted to full professor in 2007.

Robert Hatch, M.D., M.P.H., has been selected to receive the 2019 Excellence in Education Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. The award honors Hatch, who has been involved with the organization for more than a decade, as an exemplary medical educator who has demonstrated excellence in family medicine education through his teaching, curriculum development, mentoring and leadership in education on local, regional and national levels.

Thomas A. Pearson, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor of epidemiology and medicine, has been appointed director of the M.D.-Ph.D. program, which trains clinician-scientists for a career in academic medicine. Pearson is the former executive vice president for research and education. He received his medical degree, master’s in public health and Ph.D. in cardiovascular epidemiology, all from The Johns Hopkins University, where he also completed residencies in preventive medicine and internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiology.


Brian Yorkgitis, D.O., a UF Health trauma surgeon and assistant professor of surgery, has been selected by the American College of Surgeons as a member of its Future Trauma Leaders program. The two-year program offers in-depth training, mentoring and leadership opportunities to junior trauma and acute care surgeons across the country. Yorkgitis will begin his two-year membership during the committee’s annual meeting in March.


Cindy Prins, Ph.D., assistant dean for educational affairs, a clinical associate professor of epidemiology and director of the Master of Public Health program, has been elected to serve on the national executive committee of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health as member-at-large for the 2019-2020 term. The national executive committee is responsible for governance of the society, as well as advising on issues related to the society’s mission and management. There are more than 100 Delta Omega chapters with more than 20,000 members.

Rachel Zahigian, a doctoral student in the department of biostatistics, was awarded the Biopharm-Deming Student Scholar Award from the American Statistical Association’s Biopharmaceutical Section and the Deming Conference on Applied Statistics. Zahigian attended the 74th Annual Deming Conference in December in Atlantic City and presented a poster titled “Novel Response Adaptive Allocations in Factorial Designs: A Case Study.”