September 2019 – Distinctions



Scott L. Tomar, D.M.D., M.P.H., Dr.PH., a professor in the department of community dentistry and behavioral science, has won the American Association for Dental Research, or AADR, Jack Hein Public Service Award. The award honors those who have given exemplary service in the area of public affairs by promoting the interests of oral health research. Tomar also holds affiliate faculty appointments in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine.


Peter Carek, M.D., M.S., a professor and chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of community health and family medicine, has been chosen by the American Academy of Family Physicians for the 2019 Thomas  W. Johnson Award for Career Contributions to Family Medicine Education. The award, the highest honor presented by the academy, recognizes outstanding contributions to family medicine education in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education spheres.

Tim Edminster, Pharm.D., a UF Health pharmacist who works in the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, received the Excellence in Innovation Award from the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations in July during a session in Miami. The award recognizes the unique role Edminster plays  in direct patient care for patients of the UF Health inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, clinics.

Marie-Carmelle Elie, M.D., an associate professor with dual appointments in the department of emergency medicine and the department of medicine’s division of palliative care, has been appointed chief medical officer for Haven, formerly Haven Hospice and the Haven Medical Group. A UF Health physician since 2010 and triple board-certified in hospice and palliative care, emergency medicine and critical care, Elie will supervise Haven health care providers at each of its five care centers in 18 Florida counties. She will split her time evenly between her roles at UF Health and Haven.


Daryoush Tavanaiepour, M.D., an associate professor of neurosurgery, has been named chair
of neurosurgery. Tavanaiepour, who is also the medical director of neuro-oncology and movement disorders, has served as interim chair since 2015. His clinical specialties include functional and stereotactic neurosurgery, neurological surgery and skull base neurosurgery.


Jane Aldrich, Ph.D., a professor in the department of medicinal chemistry, has been chosen as a Fellow by the American Chemical Society. Aldrich’s research on analogs of opioid peptides has been continuously funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for more than 25 years, and she has been the principal investigator on more than $14 million in research grants.


Amy Blue, Ph.D., the dean for educational affairs and UF Health’s associate vice president for interprofessional education, has been selected
to serve on the board of directors of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, a nonprofit organization that provides certification
for occupational therapy professionals. The board offers initial certification of OTs through the national certification exam, a requirement for licensure in all 50 states. The board also protects the public through continuing certification of OTs and by monitoring continued education, ethical behavior and updated performance.

Joanne Foss, Ph.D., O.T.R., FAOTA, a professor emerita in the department of occupational therapy, has received a Retired Educator’s Commendation from the American Occupational Therapy Association. The commendation acknowledges exceptional leadership by retired occupational therapy educators who have demonstrated commitment to the advancement of occupational therapy education. Before her retirement from UF in 2017, Foss taught undergraduate and graduate courses in adult and child development, pediatric assessment and intervention, and professional development for 28 years. She received several teaching awards at the department, college and academic health center levels.


David Pascual, Ph.D., the interim associate dean for research and graduate studies and a professor of immunology, has been named a 2019 Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, a leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology. For 29 years, Pascual has developed and tested various nasal oropharyngeal and oral vaccines and therapeutics and vaccine delivery systems, which are readily adaptable for human and animal diseases.