Jan. 11, 2023 — While in medical school, Jennifer L. Hunt, M.D., M.Ed., became enamored with the field of pathology, drawn to its interprofessional nature and the opportunity to collaborate with physicians and staff across the health care system.
“I love the diversity of experience, the ability to interact with other physicians on a daily basis and the large impact we have across the entire hospital and clinical enterprise,” said Hunt, chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine. “Nearly every single patient who gets care at UF is touched by pathology in some way.”
Now, Hunt will leverage her experience collaborating across specialties as the new chief of staff for UF Health Shands, a position she takes on in addition to her role as department chair. In this new position, Hunt will direct credentialed medical staff and serve as the chief medical administrative officer, advising on clinical policies and best practices as well as being responsible for the application and enforcement of the bylaws, policies, rules and regulations of the hospital and its medical staff. She will also oversee the Medical Executive Committee and the Credentials Committee.
“Dr. Hunt brings a wealth of experience in medical staff affairs to this new role and is poised to work closely with hospital and College of Medicine leadership to provide excellent leadership, representation and support for our credentialed medical staff and providers,” 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.
An internationally known head and neck and molecular pathologist, Hunt joined UF in 2020 after serving for nearly a decade as the Aubrey J. Hough Endowed Professor and chair of pathology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she was also the chief of staff, chair of the credentials committee and chair of the professionalism committee. Hunt has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed scientific publications in her subspecialty and has also published on medical staff affairs, professional practice evaluation and quality improvement. She is a fellow of the College of American Pathologists and has served in elected board of director roles for various organizations, including the Association for Molecular Pathologists, the Association of Pathology Chairs and the Florida Society of Pathology.
She received her medical degree and a concurrent master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also completed a residency in anatomic pathology and a fellowship in molecular genetic pathology. She has held academic appointments and leadership roles at the University of Pittsburgh, the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to her medical expertise, Hunt is an International Coach Federation-trained and certified executive coach. She has deep experience with coaching in health care, with a particular emphasis on coaching for leadership development and professionalism.
Since joining the College of Medicine as the chair of the department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine, Hunt has focused intently on spearheading UF’s COVID-19 response, leading efforts to provide viral testing for the entire university. Under her guidance, the department went from performing 300-500 tests a month to an all-time high of over 8,000 tests in January 2021.
“This success was because of a huge effort of all the staff, administrators and technicians coming together to be incredibly innovative and dedicate extra hours nearly every day,” Hunt said. “I am extraordinarily proud because we were able to accomplish all the testing that UF needed — no matter the number, we always found a way. And because of that, we were able to assist the campus in staying open, testing students on a regular basis, supporting the sports teams, and, most importantly, performing all the clinical testing of patients and employees.”
Before coming to UF, Hunt served a six-year term as the elected chief of staff at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she created a robust structure for credentialing providers and developed a streamlined monitoring and competency system for the practice.
As the new chief of staff for UF Health Shands, Hunt looks forward to leveraging her experience to advance the clinical enterprise, while also becoming more integrated with the medical affairs office at UF.
“My vision is to serve the credentialed medical staff and the hospital to provide assurances to our community, physician staff, nurse practitioners and PAs that we have the absolute best practices in place and we are modeling the highest standard of care,” Hunt said. “We want to create structures to serve our credentialed providers with the professional practice support they need, as well as the avenues to celebrate the kudos they regularly earn and deserve.”