In the 1970s, Gainesville native Gary Gossman, PA ’82, had just graduated from Santa Fe College when he went to work for the UF College of Medicine division of cardiovascular medicine — an experience that quickly set him on a path toward becoming a PA.
“In 1980, the profession was new, but it seemed like a good fit for me,” Gossman said. “UF’s program was in its infancy but was already considered a solid educational experience. The application process was competitive, and I was delighted and relieved when accepted. The next two years were a blur.”
Nearly 40 years after graduating from the UF School of PA Studies, Gossman is reflecting on his UF experiences and finding ways to help future Gators who share his passion for patient care with the establishment of the Gary S. Gossman PA School Fund, which provides stethoscopes to first-year PA students.
“The stethoscope fund was established to give back to a caring group of bright people who will soon wake up every day — as I did — knowing their sole job is to help others,” Gossman said. “They will become a vital part of health care. The stethoscope is iconic, and I want them to receive it from a guy who began just as they are now and has had a remarkably gratifying and successful career.”
While at UF, Gossman discovered more than a love for medicine. After falling for fellow PA student Jeanne Geldbaugh, he married her soon after graduation. The two spent the next several years working in primary care and internal medicine, and beyond the clinical setting, they volunteered with local governments, community organizations, and state and national professional academies to improve public health outcomes.
The couple co-founded Gulfside Hospice in Pasco County and the Main Street Program in Hardee County. Gossman chaired the Hardee County Health Care Task Force for many years, and in the early 1990s he and his wife established two rural clinics in south central Florida — some of the first PA-owned medical practices in the state.
After returning to Gainesville in 2010, Gossman spent several years working at UF Health in hematology and internal medicine. Upon his retirement in 2019, he turned his attention to establishing the stethoscope fund.
He recently received a handwritten note thanking him for his generosity from someone sitting in the same position he was in when embarking on PA school in 1980. Liana Jawad, one of 60 first-year students who received a stethoscope during the School of PA Studies orientation in June, wrote to Gossman that she had been looking forward to this moment for years.
“Receiving this stethoscope truly signifies the beginning of my journey as a PA,” Jawad wrote. “I hope to use this to not only listen to the heart of my patients but also to touch their life in a meaningful way.”