Jan. 10, 2023 — For a few summers during high school and college, C. Parker Gibbs, M.D., earned extra cash by mopping floors in the operating rooms of UF Health Shands Hospital.
During this time, Gibbs developed an unlikely relationship with William W. Enneking, M.D., the founding chair of orthopaedics at the UF College of Medicine. Through their conversations, Gibbs learned more about the complexities of the field, and on occasion, was even able to watch Enneking’s operations in action.
“It was remarkable that one of the giants in the field invested any time and energy at all in this 18-year-old kid who was mopping floors,” Gibbs said. “I was just very impressed by the creativity of orthopaedic surgery, and Enneking played a pivotal role in driving me to dedicate my career to orthopaedic cancer.”
Now, Gibbs’ career comes full circle as he begins serving as the new chair of the department of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine for the UF College of Medicine, effective Jan. 3.
A nationally respected orthopaedic surgeon with a history of exceptional patient care, leading-edge research and distinguished clinical leadership, he specializes in limb salvage surgery for children and adults with bone and soft tissue sarcomas of the pelvis and extremities and is one of fewer than 200 surgeons nationwide considered an expert in this field.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Gibbs assume this leadership role. He has displayed a longstanding commitment to the UF College of Medicine and has demonstrated remarkable administrative leadership during his time as chief medical officer,” said Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., dean of the UF College of Medicine and the Folke H. Peterson Dean’s Distinguished Professor. “With his extensive clinical and research expertise and deep familiarity with our clinical care locations throughout UF Health, Dr. Gibbs is ideally suited to lead the department forward.”
Gibbs earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and medical degree at UF before completing residency training in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Colorado and fellowships in orthopaedic oncology at the University of Chicago. He then served as the director of musculoskeletal oncology at the University of Colorado for five years before returning to UF in 2003.
“UF is one of the premier institutions in the country for orthopaedic oncology — the chance to come back was not one that could be turned down,” Gibbs said of being recruited by then-chair Mark Scarborough, M.D. “By coming here, I was given the tremendous opportunity to conduct research, secure NIH funding and start the Musculoskeletal Oncology and Stem Cell Laboratory with wonderful collaborators and mentors, which has contributed significantly to the understanding of bone cancer.”
Gibbs holds the Eugene L. Jewett Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and serves as chief of the division of musculoskeletal oncology at UF. He has also held roles as the deputy director of medical affairs for the UF Health Cancer Center and chaired numerous hospital and college committees. Most recently, he served as the chief medical officer for UF Health Shands and senior associate dean for clinical affairs in the College of Medicine, where he experienced the intricacies of the health system up close and gained a better understanding of the various disciplines of medicine.