April Department Highlights

For the Kids: CMN’s Dance Marathons Successful

Dance Marathon at the University of Florida celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and  raised a record-breaking $1.5 million for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, Gainesville’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Dance Marathon at Florida State University raised $781,106.22 and the University of Central Florida’s Knight-Thon raised $392,831.65.

All money raised is donated to Children’s Miracle Network at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital for research, technology and diversionary activities for patients, such as video games and art projects.

Read the entire article about Dance Marathon at the University of Florida.

Cathy Hoover Selected as 2014 Recipient of Beverly Millard Award of Excellence

Cathy Hoover, assistant to the pediatrics chair, who has worked in the department for more than 25 years, was awarded the 2014 Beverly Millard Award of Excellence in March.

In her nomination letters, Cathy was described as a “tireless, loyal employee who takes on all responsibilities without hesitation” and “kindly empathetic.”It was also shared that “Cathy has an innate ability to diffuse any situation and a hidden talent of people management.”

The Beverly Millard Award of Excellence recognizes University of Florida Department of Pediatrics employees for an assortment of exceptional efforts and contributions to the department. Awardees display the following qualities daily:

  • Demonstrate dedication in achieving the mission of the department;
  • Motivate and serve as role model to members of the department;
  • Perform assigned tasks in an exemplary fashion and inspire other employees to improve;
  • Exemplify outstanding conduct in the performance of duties over a period of years;
  • Execute outstanding reliability and cooperation toward departmental goals and objectives;
  • Established record of significant achievement sustained over a period of time;
  • Innovative and/or creative ideas that have improved the efficiency and/or effectiveness of the department;
  • Activity fostering cooperation and harmony; making the department a more humane place to work; and
  • Community advocacy for children.

Congratulations to Department of Pediatrics “Customer Service is the Key” Nominees

Several department members were nominated for the coveted “Customer Service is the Key” Award this year.

Customer Service is the Key recognizes and rewards UF Health Shands employees who make a difference by providing compassionate care and excellent service to our customers.

Patients, visitors, employees and physicians are encouraged nominate their peers who have exceeded expectations; this year’s pediatrics recipients were nominated by coworkers and patients.

An average of 3,200 employee nominations are received every quarter. Nominations come from all corners of our organization and recognize employees in clinical settings who provide direct patient care as well as those who are behind the scenes in administrative areas.

Congratulations on an outstanding achievement:

  • Torrey Baines, M.D. – Pediatric Critical Care
  • Thianchai Bunnalai, M.D. – Pediatric Critical Care
  • Faris Hashim, M.D. – Pediatric Nephrology (Housestaff)
  • Ralph Martello, M.D. – Pediatrics (Housestaff)
  • Sukesh Sukumaran, M.D. – Pediatric Rheumatology
  • Sharda Udassi, M.D. – Pediatric Critical Care
  • Vini Vijayan, M.D. -Pediatric Infectious Disease
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit – entire team

David Weinstein, M.D., Named Recipient of 2014 University of Florida College of Medicine Clinical Research Award

David Weinstein, M.D., M.M.Sc
David Weinstein, M.D., M.M.Sc

This special award recognizes a faculty member who has made exceptional contributions in the area of clinical research.

Dr. Weinstein has developed the world’s leading program in the treatment and understanding of glycogen storage diseases. His contributions to the field and the care of the children who come to see him from all over the world are matched only by his incredible passion and dedication.


Donna Parker, M.D., Inducted into Chapman Society and Recipient of Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Donna Parker, M.D.
Donna Parker, M.D.

Dr. Parker was one of only two faculty members in the entire University College of Medicine selected by medical students to be inducted into the Chapman Society, which is bestowed on those who are role models within the College of Medicine for humanism in medical practice and medical education.

Society members are recognized as leaders and role models for humanism in medicine within our institution.

Additionally, Dr. Parker was honored by receiving the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.  The UF College of Medicine Faculty and Resident Selection Committee selected Dr. Parker for this honor based on her demonstrating outstanding compassion in the delivery of care, respect for patients, their families and healthcare colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence.

Visit the Chapman Society for more information on these honors.

Sam Cheng, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D. Receives NIH Award

Sam Cheng, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.
Sam Cheng, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Dr. Cheng’s research, titled “Calcium Receptor Action in Childhood Diarrhea,” will be focused on novel antidiarrheal mechanisms and therapeutic approaches for diarrhea in children.

The five-year NIH Award totals more than $600,000.

Congratulations on all of these amazing Department of Pediatrics and UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital accomplishments!