Shands Hospital for Children activity room named for renowned pediatric neurologist

Even after his death, renowned UF pediatric neurologist John Joseph Ross, M.D., is still giving back to children and the community.

The John J. Ross, M.D., Pediatric Lecture and Activity Room was dedicated March 30 at Shands Hospital for Children at UF. The room will be used as a lecture and conference room and as a multipurpose room for pediatric activities, such as movie nights and crafts.

The new John J. Ross, M.D. Pediatric Lecture and Activity Room was dedicated March 30. Ross’ widow Nancy Hays Ross and son John Joseph Ross II unveil the plaque for the new room with Michael Good, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

Family and friends of Ross made a donation to Shands Healthcare to name room 4433 for Ross, who is remembered for his dedication to Shands pediatrics and contributions to the Gainesville community.

“This named conference room will give everyone the opportunity to remember John every time we pass by or gather, and recall his lifetime of extraordinary work and the many contributions he made to our medical school and health system,” said Michael Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine. “The John J. Ross, M.D. Pediatric Lecture and Activity Room is a wonderful tribute to Dr. Ross’ gentle and compassionate spirit.”

Ross, a UF professor emeritus who served 47 years in the UF College of Medicine, died at the age of 83 in Gainesville on July 17. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Nancy Hays Ross of Gainesville; three children MaryAnn Ross Neill, John Joseph Ross II and Edward Henessey Ross; and nine grandchildren.

He was the second pediatric neurologist in the state of Florida and served as the UF College Of Medicine’s chief of pediatric neurology for a number of years.

During his tenure, Ross founded many programs, including the Ross-Mercer Program, now known as the Florida Multidisciplinary Diagnostic and Training Program, which serves children with learning disabilities and underachievement difficulties in the school districts of North Central Florida. After retiring, he was heavily involved in fundraising for the Lung Transplant Program in Gainesville.

John Joseph Ross II said the hospital was a very special place for his father and he placed tremendous value on the strong relationships he built and enjoyed with his many colleagues and friends at Shands.

“We thought a room focused on children and education would be an extremely appropriate tribute to dad,” he said. “He dedicated his career to helping children develop and helping children learn.”

Ross grew up in Jacksonville, earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and studied Health Systems Management at Harvard Business School. After completing his pediatrics fellowship at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and his pediatric neurology training at Children’s Medical Center and Boston City Hospital, he came to Shands Hospital in 1965.

“I think he felt a real sense of obligation to use his talents to make a difference in the lives of others and clearly did so throughout his life,” said the younger John Ross.