News clips — Winter 2020
PA professor joins national committee | Recent alum wins award | UF researchers play role in Ebola vaccine
PA professor appointed to national medical education committee
Pamela Patton, MSP, PA-C, DFAAPA, director of admissions and the William M. Hall associate professor for the UF School of Physician Assistant Studies, was recently appointed to the Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry, a federal committee under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Service Administration agency.
“It’s a huge honor to be appointed to the federal advisory committee that focuses on the education and training of medical and dental primary care providers,” said Patton, a triple Gator with degrees from the colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine and Pharmacy. “The committee’s goals to reduce gaps between primary care resources — including the shortage of primary care providers — and the needs of rural and underserved populations very much align with my own.”
For five years, Patton provided low-cost medical care to the uninsured and poorly insured residents of rural North Central Florida through her work each week at the federally designated Alachua County Organization of Rural Needs health care clinic. Funding constraints forced its closing in October.
Patton is a member of the fifth graduating class of the UF School of PA Studies. She began her medical career on the UF kidney transplant team in the late 1970s and in 2002 was named associate clinical director of UF’s kidney and pancreas transplant programs. Patton served as clinical director for those programs from 2007 until 2014, when she joined the faculty of the UF School of PA Studies. Today she dedicates her career to admitting, teaching and mentoring the next generation of PAs at her alma mater.
An emerging leader
Jodi Fitzgerald, MD ’19, began her residency in family medicine in Westminster, Colorado, as an award winner from the Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute. She was named one of three best overall project winners by the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. As a participant in the institute during her fourth year of medical school, Fitzgerald studied ways to improve nutrition counseling through her project, “A Nutrition Counseling Framework for Family Medicine.”
“So much of our patients’ suffering can be traced back to obesity-related conditions,” Fitzgerald said. “When I learned how these diseases can be prevented and even reversed through a healthful diet, I couldn’t help but wonder why we as family physicians weren’t talking about this with every single patient.”
She said the overall goal of her project was to support family physicians in having that conversation. The Emerging Leader Institute aims to increase the number of well-trained future family medicine leaders by offering up-and-coming residents and medical students a yearlong leadership development opportunity.
A game-changing discovery
Work by UF researchers Ira Longini, PhD, and Natalie Dean, PhD, landed on National Geographic’s list of Top 20 scientific discoveries of the decade. Longini, a professor in the department of biostatistics at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine, and Dean, an assistant professor of biostatistics, played an integral role in the design and analysis of trials that tested efficacy of the successful Ebola vaccine. Approved for licensing in November, the vaccine is expected to save thousands of lives.
This story originally ran in the Winter 2020 issue of the Doctor Gator newsletter.