On the Same Page
Year 1 in Review:
It's All About the Orange Ampersand
July 8, 2010
A few months after my arrival last July, having come to appreciate the power of The Gator
Nation, I concluded that the ampersand in UF&Shands needed to be orange.
The orange ampersand was first suggested last summer by my assistant, Cheryl May, who was
born and raised in Gainesville and who has worked at UF for 29 years. She came up with this
idea when I was new to UF and Shands HealthCare and we were thinking about a "brand" for
our academic health center that captures the concept of a team made up of individuals from
both UF and Shands. Initially I thought that Gator orange represented mainly athletics at UF. As
I learned about the culture and broad-reaching influence of The Gator Nation, however, and
reflected upon the challenge that drew me to Gainesville to create a nationally powerful
integrated academic health center by fostering close collaboration between Shands HealthCare
and UF I came to realize that Cheryl had it right.
The UF&Shands logo rings true, as it captures the potential for close collaboration between the
two entities, both in Gainesville and in Jacksonville. But in the years since this logo was
developed, it came to be recognized mainly as reflecting the clinical enterprise, reinforced by the
descriptor "The University of Florida Health System." The orange ampersand in our new logo
emphasizes the connection of the health system to UF
and incorporates the power of The Gator Nation. Our[ |-'
new descriptor, "The University of Florida Academic JShaL
Health Center," further reinforces UF's academic The University of Florida Academic Health Center
Andy Fletcher, UF's associate vice president of marketing and public relations and the originator
of The Gator Nation concept, explained some definitions to me along the way: a Gator is anyone
who has been associated with the University of Florida (student, faculty, staff, alumni, etc.); the
Gators are our teams; The Gator Nation includes all those who have been touched by a Gator.
As our medical school dean, Dr. Mike Good, has commented many times people in
Gainesville understand the meaning of "teams." I would submit that the concept of "The Gators"
applies not only to our sports teams but also to our health care, research and education teams.
There are many useful lessons that we can draw from UF's athletic teams and The Gator
Nation. Our sports teams regularly compete for Division 1 NCAA national championships, and
aim high as a matter of course. We aspire for the same national prominence from our teams in
health care and the health care sciences, but have some distance to travel to get there from
here. We can begin by aiming high and recognizing that regardless of whether we are employed
by UF or Shands, and regardless of the specific department within each organization in which
we work, we are all part of the UF&Shands team, and each patient, student, resident and visitor
we touch becomes part of The Gator Nation.
So what has been done thus far to give meaning to the ampersand? We have established a
daily forum in Gainesville for interaction between the leadership of Shands and the Health
Science Center to develop strategies and address issues in real time, with all needed decision-
makers in the room. I also work weekly with the leadership team representing both UF and
Shands in Jacksonville. We have appointed individuals in key "ampersand" roles to dual
positions in both Shands and UF who are responsible for both the Gainesville and Jacksonville
campuses e.g., the chief financial officer, chief information officer and chief development
officer and have promoted a close collaborative relationship between those leading other key
areas at UF and at Shands, including the offices of counsel, marketing and public relations,
facilities and strategic planning. The search for a chief quality officer who will have overall
responsibility for patient care quality and safety in both the faculty practice and inpatient units
will commence shortly.
In addition, we developed a strategic plan, part of our "Forward Together" campaign, in which
strengthened integration of the academic health center at Gainesville and Jacksonville across
Shands and UF is an overarching theme. In that plan, emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary
team research, cross-college curricular development, promotion of faculty-hospital partnerships
and the creation of Interdisciplinary Clinical and Academic Programs (ICAPs), with an
associated alignment of clinical programs with facilities. We have begun the process of
appointing the ICAP teams, which will include faculty from the HSC and key nursing and
administrative staff from Shands. They are charged with promoting the highest quality in clinical
care, as well as managing the resources and finances in their area. We will begin with ICAPs in
cancer, cardiovascular, children's and women's, neuromedicine and transplant services.
As a newcomer a year ago, I listened to stories from faculty, staff, alumni, and Board members
about the growing distance that had developed between Shands and UF. I came to realize that
my job was embodied by the ampersand in fact, it was all about the orange ampersand.
Along similar lines, a key one-year goal identified by the Strategic Planning Cabinet was getting
from "we and they" to "us." I am pleased to say that we have made some progress along these
lines, and I hope you agree. Establishment of a uniform price list for Shands laboratory services
charged to faculty research grants is one recent example, with both programmatic and symbolic
We face many significant challenges in the year ahead. Among many important goals, we need
to improve the quality and safety of patient care, especially as it relates to welcome and timely
access; develop new cross-college curricula and promote greater cross-college and college-
hospital interactions; enhance clinical research; and address the shortfall in clinical income due
to the dramatic retrenchment in state and federal Medicaid funding. I am confident that we will
meet these challenges effectively by working together to give true meaning to the ampersand in
UF&Shands. In so doing, we will also expand the influence of our academic health center within
The Gator Nation and beyond.
David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Health Affairs
President, UF&Shands Health System