Celebrating Excellence

Celebration of excellence

UF Health Cancer Center associate directors Jon Graham (left) and John Wingard (right) present Frederic Kaye with the Bench to Bedside award.

The UF Health Cancer Center recently honored the outstanding work of clinicians and researchers during the second UF Health Cancer Center Celebration of Excellence Awards ceremony. Those honored were nominated by cancer center members and represent the best qualities of the award categories for which they were being honored.

MVP Award

Thomas George, M.D., was recognized with the MVP Award. UF Health faculty and staff members from cancer research, clinical and administrative areas are eligible for the MVP Award, which seeks to acknowledge personal and professional excellence that has made a significant positive impact. Dr. George has done just that. He is described as being “hardworking,” “passionate,” “an excellent oncologist, wonderful person and patient advocate,” and one of the “nicest guys around.” Another wrote, “He fights for his patients… and any patient … to get them the most excellent care our center is able to provide in a quick, consistent and coordinated manner.”

The Top Team Effort Award

Daniel Indelicato, M.D., and his team at the UF Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville received the Top Team Effort Award. As one nominator wrote, “families are often displaced from familiar surroundings for six to eight weeks during the most stressful time of their lives. The team meets before the patient arrives to coordinate care and cover every aspect of anticipated need for each child and family.” Team members include Indelicato, Nancy Mendenhall, M.D., Julie Bradley, M.D., Ronny Rotondo, M.D., Amy Sapp, Annie Rini, Erinn Parvin, Gina Newton, Kendra Alipio, Adrianne Mansen, Heather Oakley, Kim Ely and Mitch Kubacki.

Bench to Bedside Award

Frederic Kaye, M.D., the co-director of the thoracic oncology program, was honored for his work as a physician-scientist. His work focuses on the transition of scientifi c discoveries into new cancer therapies. In his research, he has found a striking correlation with the ability of two COX-2 inhibitors to block lung tumor growth in cell lines with mutant LKB1/CRTC activated status but not LKB1 wild type samples. This fi nding offers the opportunity to open a new fi eld of diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer treatment and provide a rational strategy for the use of a large family of commercially available COX-2 inhibitors as an effective therapy for lung cancer patients.

The Golden Glove Award

Andrea Penley, R.N., a nurse navigator in the thoracic oncology program, was honored for her unwavering and consistent commitment to cancer patients. One nominator described her as “the embodiment of excellence.” Another colleague said she “is amazing in so many ways. She is invaluable to us, the physicians, in coordinating the care of our lung cancer patients. But more importantly, she is invaluable to our patients.”

Mentoring Outside the Box Award

Dietmar Siemann, Ph.D., was the recipient of the 2013 Mentoring Outside the Box Award. Nominees eligible for the Mentoring Outside the Box Award are UF Health cancer research or clinical faculty members who have provided extraordinary leadership and mentoring to students, postdoctoral fellows and/or junior colleagues. A nominator said, “Overall, he is an ideal mentor that really cares and perseveres towards the progress and development of his students into proficient scientists geared to conquer in the war against cancer.”

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