Dec. 1, 2021 — With a career as an Army physician that has taken him to Washington D.C., Afghanistan, Germany and Texas, UF College of Medicine graduate Aaron Saguil, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, will soon return to Gainesville to join the faculty at his alma mater.
Saguil has been named to lead the UF College of Medicine Department of Community Health and Family Medicine as its next chair, effective June 6. He will take over for David Feller, M.D., who served as interim chair of the department.
Saguil is currently an Army colonel and associate dean for Regional Education-San Antonio for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, where he directs medical student education, faculty affairs and recruitment to the USU Southern region. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine for USU since 2008 and became a full professor in 2021.
He also worked as the assistant and then associate dean of recruitment and admissions from 2012 to 2019. He has held several leadership positions with USU and Army hospitals across the country, including faculty liaison for student affairs at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and assistant program director for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center Family Medicine Residency.
Saguil first started on the path to medicine during a youth leadership session when he was in high school. While attending Duke University for his undergraduate degree, he received an Army ROTC scholarship to finance the private school’s tuition.
During his time in medical school at UF, Saguil was drawn to family medicine to treat a variety of people.
“Your patients are young and old; they can have any sort of medical issue, from a cardiovascular problem to a renal problem,” he said. “I liked the idea of being able to treat a father and his son, a pregnant person, anyone that needs assistance.”
He said that in medicine and in the military, it has been important to remain optimistic and flexible. While serving in Afghanistan, Saguil was the Army physician on call when a deadly helicopter crash around 4 a.m. sent 11 casualties to the hospital for medical treatment. Another 12 people died on the scene or on their way to the hospital.
Saguil and his chief nurse led an international team in triaging patients. The 11 patients evacuated to the hospital all survived, which Saguil said was largely due to the team effort.
At UF, Saguil plans to maintain his department’s conditions of success for patients, faculty, residents and staff at the college’s various clinics.
“I’m excited for us to work together to engineer systems that allow us to do the things we do better. Together, we can anticipate and remove obstacles that might prevent people from doing their best work,” he said.
Saguil said he is excited to work alongside his previous UF College of Medicine mentors, like Robert Hatch, M.D., M.P.H., director of medical student education in the Department of Community Health and Family Medicine.
“To join that long line of faculty members who pass their lessons on to students and other faculty is a huge honor,” Saguil said.