On the Same Page
"Welcome new HSC students"
September 10, 2010
Things are clearly different in Gainesville at the start of a new academic year-the
traffic, the restaurants and shops, the very energy on the streets. And although most of
this energy comes from an influx of the large undergraduate population at UF, the six
colleges that make up the Health Science Center enroll a total of 6,000 professional and
graduate students, as well as many undergraduate majors at the College of Nursing and
the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
The start of the new academic year at the Health Science Center, and the influx of the
new and returning students, is a humbling--and inspiring-reminder that educating
tomorrow's health professionals and scientists is at the very core of what we do. What
makes the HSC particularly special is the breadth of professional and graduate students
across all health professions and scientific disciplines.
The November 3, 2009 issue of On the Same Page profiled last year's entering classes
in each of the HSC colleges. This issue proved to be among the most popular, at least
judging by the number of comments I received. Using a similar format, a snapshot of
this year's entering classes is presented below. Each dean summarizes the overall
characteristics of the entering class, and then profiles a couple of "representative"
students, realizing there really is no such thing. In some cases, the profile is in the
student's own voice, and in some cases the dean provides a summary.
Last year, I suggested that a key question to ask in terms of our entering students is:
"Who will they be 5 and 10 years from now?" This is not so much a question about the
kind of health care or science they will practice or conduct, but rather, who our students
will be as people caring for other people. Quite apart from the influence of their
education at the UF Health Science Center and any subsequent training as a resident
or fellow, a major part of the answer to that question is rooted in who they are when
they arrive. Reading the profiles below, I think you will be very reassured that our
students come to the HSC not only with strong scientific preparation, but also with the
desire to enter the health professions for all the right reasons. Our future health care is
in good hands.
College of Dentistry-Dean Teresa A. Dolan, DDS, MPH
The College of Dentistry's entering Class of 2014 is comprised of 83 students with an
average age of 23.2 years. They were selected from 1,539 applicants. More than half
the class (57 percent) is female and the class average GPA is 3.6. At first glance this
may not seem like a particularly diverse group--75 members of the class are currently
Florida residents and the other eight hale from Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, North
Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. However, only 35 of the class
members are native Floridians. Another 17 were born in other states and 18 members
of the class were born in 18 different countries: Albania, China, Columbia, Cuba,
Ecuador, Egypt, France, Haiti, India, Iran, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Philippines, Puerto
Rico, Russia, Venezuela and Zambia. The class' undergraduate majors are also as
diverse. From architecture to zoology, the class brings a wide range of interests and
experiences together, and promises to be a compelling class of future dentists.
SKrystele, who received her Bachelor's degree in Biology from
Nova Southeastern University and her Master's in Biomedical
Sciences from Barry University in Miami, describes herself as
"a proud and devoted Haitian," and was born in Port-au-
Prince, Haiti, where her father was a dentist before he
passed away when she was 15. She was proud of the work
he did and she always knew she would follow in his
footsteps; his death made her even more committed to take
over where he'd left off. She said the first thing she notices in
a person is their smile and she looks forward to helping people achieve or maintain a
Krystele is also motivated by the ability to alleviate suffering from pain. She said, "In
Haiti, pain is everywhere, especially following the recent earthquake which shook the
foundation of life for every Haitian." Although she is helping her country by volunteering
with relief groups and organizing donations to the area, she believes that she can serve
her country best by earning her DMD, and returning to Haiti one day to treat some of the
least fortunate of her fellow Haitians. "Now that Haiti has a chance to have a new start,
I believe it is critical that the younger generation get the best educations available, and
then return to give the country the foundation it needs to be a truly independent nation,"
Born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and raised in Avon Park, Fla.,
Melvin Lopez visited a dentist only twice as a child. Both
were emergency visits due to oral infections and,
consequently, left less than pleasant memories. But after
joining the U.S. Air Force, Melvin's dental impression
changed. After receiving regular dental care and resolving
some personal oral health issues, he began to cherish the
field of dental medicine and wanted to be able to provide the
same, positive experience for others.
Having received his Bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida with a major
in Biomedical Sciences, Melvin's first choice for dental school was the UF College of
Dentistry because, he says, it has the reputation of being one of the most advanced
centers for healthcare, education and research in the country. He considers it an honor
and a privilege to be a member of the 2010 entering class.
His ultimate goals extend beyond dentistry; after earning his D.M.D., Melvin wants to
rejoin the Air Force and inspire others as he was inspired. Eventually he plans to set up
a dental practice that helps people who live in poverty receive dental care so they, too,
can "have a positive outlook on dentistry and life."
College of Medicine-Dean Michael L. Good, MD
The UF COM class of 2014 consists of 136 students, 13 of whom join the class via the
Junior Honors Program (JHP). Six entering students are enrolled in the MD/PhD
program representing a significant increase over previous years. The class ranges in
age from 20 to 31, with 100 from age 22 to 24. Eighty-two are men and 129 are Florida
residents. Overall, recruitment of under-represented minority applicants was highly
successful, with twenty-three individuals self described as under-represented minority,
including 16 African-American students. The academic profile of the class is similar to
previous years with entering grade point averages of 3.67 for science and 3.73
overall. The average entering MCAT score is 32 distributed approximately 10 verbal, 11
biological sciences and 11 physical sciences. The national average for all entering
medical students is approximately 31. Entering students received degrees in 47
different undergraduate majors including; biology (29), biochemistry (13), microbiology
(13) and interdisciplinary biomedical science (10).
We received 2645 applications via AMCAS, approximately 20% from UF
undergraduates. We evaluated 1755 secondary applications and interviewed 347 of
whom 232 (67%) were offered acceptance. The acceptance rate of 8.8% is lower than
last year's 9.2% Thirty-three entering class members came from Barron's tier 1
undergraduate institutions; 88 attended tier 2 schools, including 79 from UF. Of 97
students who declined their UF acceptance, 49 came from tier 1 schools and 33 (29 UF)
from tier 2. As of June 1, 2010, the 89 students who declined their UF acceptance
matriculated at: Virginia (8), Harvard (6), Johns Hopkins (3), Emory (3), Miami (10), USF
(7), UCF (3), FSU (1) with 47 entering other schools including Yale, Washington U.,
Penn., Michigan, Cornell, Duke, Vanderbilt, Stanford and UCLA.
Leslie Goldberg, MD/PhD program
(Rice University, B.S., Biomedical Engineering)
I" realized the importance of good health earlier than most
when I began experiencing chronic back pain at the age of
13. At the time, I naively believed that one exam and one
procedure would immediately solve my back pain.
Countless doctors appointments later I realized that
medicine, even under the best of circumstances, is not nearly the exact science that I
had previously imagined. Rather, it is a constantly developing field with increasingly
Many years and two spinal surgeries later, I went to college to pursue a degree in
bioengineering, a young field that I knew very little about. However I quickly engaged
with my courses, and through my studies I learned more about engineering research
and its clinical applications. It was in college that I resolved to pursue a joint advanced
degree in medicine and bioengineering. This decision stemmed from my initial
experiences with back surgery and the necessity of continuing research and
advancements in the field.
Today at UF I know that my goal of integrating and developing medical technology with
biomedical engineering will be fulfilled. From my education at UF I know I will be able to
make a difference. UF recognizes that with increasingly complex issues encountered in
the medical field that a multidisciplinary approach is required, and I am excited to take
advantage of the academic opportunities that this approach provides UF students."
Christian Jeannot, MS1
(Florida International University, B.S., Chemistry)
"My desire to study medicine was a result of an illness that
my brother had when we were younger. My brother almost
died from the complications of his illness and hospital
politics. Fortunately, our pediatrician had him transferred to
another hospital where he underwent surgery the same day.
That day I thought to myself, if I wanted to keep my family
healthy I would study medicine. Of course that was child's
dream back then, but this fall being admitted to UF College
of Medicine brought me back full circle and I thought about how this dream was born
and how close to my grasp that dream is now."
Amanda Posgai, first-year graduate student
(UF, B.S., Microbiology & Cell Science)
Amanda is entering our Interdisciplinary Program in
Biomedical Sciences. She did undergraduate research with
Dr. Michael Bubb in the VA Medical Center on the
interactions of the plant-derived, anti-cancer compound
cucurbitacin E with cell cytoskeleton. She gained a global
perspective on health during a trip to Australia (aboriginal
herbal remedies) as an International Scholar Laureate.
Amanda is interested in pursuing research in the Physiology and Pharmacology
program and is supported by an Alumni Graduate School award.
College of Nursina-Dean Kathleen A. Lona PhD, APRN
Our nursing education program is comprised of our undergraduate (baccalaureate)
program and our graduate (master's and doctoral) program. Both have a number of
excellent students who were selected from a highly competitive application process.
BSN Program: The undergraduate program received 877 applications. In Fall, 2010 the
College enrolled a total of 54 students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in
Nursing (BSN) program ranging in ages from 23 to 55. Of these 54 students, 90
percent hailed from Florida, and 22 percent are from an under-represented minority.
The Generic BSN program enrolled 137 students ranging in ages from 19 to 41, with 95
percent from Florida and 28 percent from an under-represented minority group. UF BSN
graduates consistently exceed national and state norms for NCLEX-RN licensure
examination pass rates, averaging above 95 percent. The majority of those completing
a BSN at UF advance to graduate degree programs in nursing.
Graduate Program: College of Nursing graduate programs include the Master of
Science in Nursing (MSN) program, the clinical doctoral program, Doctor Nursing
Practice (DNP) for advanced practice, and the PhD in Nursing Science. In Fall, 2010
the College enrolled a total of 30 students in the MSN program ranging in ages from 22
to 51. Of the 30 students, 94 percent hailed from Florida and 23 percent are from an
under-represented minority. The DNP program enrolled 85 students ranging in ages
from 22 to 56, with 97 percent from Florida and 16 percent from an under-represented
minority. The DNP degree is a practice-focused doctorate designed to prepare expert
nurses to practice at the highest levels of specialized advanced practice. Finally, the
PhD program enrolled a total of 6 new students with ages ranging from 31-51 with 100
percent of the students hailing from Florida and none from under-represented groups.
Carolyn Mollo, Postbaccalaureate DNP student
Carolyn Mollo says she has the best of both worlds. After
graduating from Florida Atlantic University with her Bachelor's
degree in nursing in May, she came to Gainesville to pursue her
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at the University of
Florida and begin a new position as staff nurse in the Shands at
UF OR. As someone who aspires to be an advanced practice
nurse in acute care, being around both expert faculty members
and high-level clinical staff is a perfect experience. "I am learning
from the best and with the best," Mollo explained.
She didn't always know nursing would be her career path. When
her grandmother was in hospice care in Rhode Island, she saw the impact that one kind
nurse could have on a patient, and began reflecting on her own positive experiences
with nurses. She realized that becoming a nurse was her calling. Mollo was named her
community's Nursing Student of the Year by Palm Healthcare Foundation's 2010
Nursing Distinction Awards Ceremony and is on the Executive Board of the Florida
Nursing Student Association. "Attaining my DNP will allow me to stay true to who I am
as a nurse while giving me the opportunity to impact the way that care is delivered in
acute care settings," Mollo said. "I feel that this degree helps to elevate our nursing
Anastasia Albanese O-Neill, BSN to PhD Student
For Anastasia Albanese-O'Neill, a promise she made to her
6-year-old daughter is what brought her to pursue a career
in nursing. Albanese-O'Neill's daughter was diagnosed with
Type 1 diabetes at the age of 16 months.
"My husband and I have always told our daughter that we
have to do more than simply 'hope for a cure.' We have to
engage in the process of contributing to its discovery --
whether that's through raising money, awareness, or
participating in research." After years in marketing and
public affairs, Albanese-O'Neill enrolled in the UF
accelerated BSN program and received her BSN degree in 2008. She learned to greatly
admire the extraordinary and critical role nurses play in our health care system.
After graduation, it seemed Albanese-O'Neill would fulfill her promise when she was
hired in her current position of Director of the UF nPOD diabetes project, a collaborative
type 1 diabetes research effort headed by College of Medicine Eminent Scholar Chair
Mark Atkinson to understand better the causes of diabetes in humans and ultimately
find a cure for the disease. In addition to acting as the Director for nPOD, she also
serves as a diabetes nurse educator in the pediatric diabetes clinics.
But it wasn't enough. Albanese-O'Neill couldn't stop thinking about all of the possible
ways to improve the lives of children who live with diabetes and the family members
who care for them. So she enrolled in the College's BSN to PhD program to conduct her
own research and contribute to the field. "I believe that we can better leverage
technology to improve both diabetes education and diabetes management, and I
believe some of those improvements will come from best practices in nursing,"
Albanese-O'Neill said. "I also believe that nursing research can complement the
extraordinary efforts already underway at the UF Diabetes Center and engage more
people in research and progress toward a cure."
College of Pharmacy-Dean William H. Riffee, PhD
For the 2010 entry-level PharmD class:
S1723 applications were received from which 292 individuals were successful in gaining
admission for the fall semester at the four campuses
o Gainesville 130
o Jacksonville 52
0 Orlando 54
o St. Petersburg 56
SThe science grade point average for the 292 admitted students is a 3.47.
SThe average composite score on the Pharmacy College Admission Test is at the 80th
r The entering pharmacy class is composed of:
o 99% Florida residents
o 56% of the admitted class has a baccalaureate degree
o The average age of students admitted in 2010 is 24 years
o Minority students represent 44% of the class
S40% of the class completed most of their pre-professional coursework at the University
of Florida and 37% completed coursework at other four-year colleges and universities.
S22% of admitted students completed pre-professional coursework at community
Sherin Reji, Gainesville Doctor of Pharmacy program
Sherin was born in India and immigrated to the USA. She is a USA
citizen and Florida resident with her home in Bradenton, Florida.
Sherin was admitted in Summer 2008 to the University of Florida,
where she declared a pre-pharmacy major. She received her
Associate of Arts degree in April 2010 with a GPA of 3.86. She has
been a volunteer at Shands Pharmacy Services Department, was a
member of the UF Pre-pharmacy Society, and was selected for
membership in Golden Key International Honour Society. She served
as treasurer of the Gator Malayalee Association, an organization that performs cultural
activities to raise awareness of the local Indian community and encourage cultural
interactions among students. She is a recipient of the Florida Academic Scholars
Award, a Metta Heathcote Grant and a Johnnie Ruth Clark Scholarship. In her essay
she stated the following: "The Doctor of Pharmacy program is my dream and I intend to
fulfill it with my whole heart. It would allow me to fully cultivate my skills and talents to
better the lives of my fellow human beings and give me the personal satisfaction that
every person needs from their career."
Andrea Ruiz, Jacksonville Doctor of Pharmacy program
Andrea was born in Bogota, Columbia and is now a US permanent
resident who lives in Delray Beach, Florida. She completed an
Associate in Arts degree in May 2010 at Palm Beach Community
College, where she attained a 3.88 GPA and was selected for Phi
Theta Kappa honorary society. She worked while attending
/ community college as store assistant manager at Piercing Pagoda.
S She was a volunteer at Boca Helping Hands where she was
responsible for cooking and distributing food for the community around the
neighborhood. Andrea stated in her essay, "The fact that I come from a country where
medicine is not at the reach of everyone, and where very few scientific investigations
are conducted due to scarce economic resources, motivated me to study pharmacy.
Hearing that thousands of people die because they do not have access to any kind of
medication really makes me believe that this career is a great opportunity to contribute
to the community."
College of Public Health and Health Professions-Dean Michael G. Perri, PhD
The College of Public Health and Health Professions has over 2,000 students across a
diverse array of programs including seven PhD degrees, two professional doctoral
degrees, five master's degrees, and a bachelor of health science degree offering two
majors. We also offer a number of certificate programs, including public health, geriatric
care management, life care planning, psychometry pre-certification training, and
emerging infectious disease research. One of PHHP's primary missions is to foster
collaboration between disciplines within public health and health professions. Our
academic program offerings reflect this philosophy as evidenced by the number of
available concurrent and joint degree programs, such as public health and medicine
(MPH/MD), veterinary medicine (MPH/DVM), law (MPH/JD), rehabilitation science
(MPH/PhD) and psychology (MPH/PhD). This year's entering PHHP class of 792 is as
diverse as the college's choice of majors. PHHP students range in age from 18 to 56
and represent a broad range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Approximately 30% of
the entering class is composed of students from minority groups. The entering class is
8% African-American/Black, 12% Latino/Hispanic, and 10% Asian/Pacific Islander or
Two of our entering students describe why they chose PHHP degree programs:
Angela DeQuesada, MPH candidate, Epidemiology concentration
"UF's Public Health program is both a new and familiar experience
for me. While working as a full-time research coordinator in the UF
Department of Pediatrics, I completed the program's on-campus
Public Health Certificate which consists of five core classes
covering the basics of a public health education.
During these introductory classes, I realized that the field of health
research, evolving as rapidly as it does, would require a more
formal educational commitment if I wanted to know how to stay
current. In my job as research coordinator I had already been
practicing limited aspects of public health, but through those initial classes I began to
understand the science, methods, and reasoning that informed those practices. I was
hooked and wanted to learn more. I applied to the full-time Master of Public Health
(MPH) degree program to extend my studies and continue building the necessary
foundation for my career in health research. Now, as a new full-time MPH student this
fall, I find myself in good company. There are many students, like myself, who have
gone back to complement a current health career. We all bring unique perspectives to
this multidisciplinary program of study, while taking away a common skill set of effective
health communication, strong analytical skills, and disciplined scholarship. I am certain
that my training at UF will continue to serve me well throughout my health career."
Maria Quidgley, Bachelor of Health Science program
"Two years ago I began my journey at the University of Florida
after graduating at the top of my class in Puerto Rico. I decided to
attend the University of Florida because it is one of the best in the
nation, it is close to home, and has many facilities and programs
that will help me develop as a student and future medical
professional. My first few months at UF were quite tough since I
came from a small private school in Puerto Rico with a graduating
class of 50 students to a hugely diverse university of almost
50,000 students. I declared health science as my major during the
second semester of my freshmen year because I felt that it was
the one program that would best prepare me for a health-related career.
My lifelong passion for helping others and my fascination for the sciences, particularly
anatomy and physiology, have fueled my desire to become a medical care provider.
However, I had my doubts, since becoming a doctor entails many years of preparation
and sacrifice. A conversation with a relative of mine, Dr. Raul Garcia-Rinaldi, a
cardiothoracic surgeon from Puerto Rico, reassured me that medicine is my calling. His
own story of how he became a doctor and him telling me that I have what it takes,
inspired me to pursue my dreams. I consider my humbleness and perseverance to be
characteristics of my strength. This is exactly how I have succeeded during my time at
UF. I am inspired by the power of positivity and the idea that whatever your mind can
conceive and believe, it can be achieved, but that you need to work hard to make things
College of Veterinary Medicine-Dean Glen F. Hoffsis, DVM, MS
The UF CVM Class of 2014 is comprised of 100 individuals, including 79 females and
21 males. The class, which ranges in age from 22 to 46, includes 89 Florida residents
and thirteen individuals who self describe as an under-represented minority. The
entering grade point averages are 3.53 for science courses and 3.44 overall. The
average entering GRE score is 1210, including average scores of 535 and 675 in verbal
and quantitative sections respectively. All members of the class earned bachelor's
degrees with the most common undergraduate majors being animal science (36),
biology (27), and zoology (7) as well as 23 other majors. In addition, eight members of
the class earned a Master Degree.
The final class of 100 was selected from 833 VMCAS applications. Members of the
entering class came from 33 undergraduate institutions with the greatest number (46)
earning degrees from the University of Florida. Other state institutions represented in
the entering class include FAU, FlU, FSU, UCF, UNF, UM, USF and UWF. Non-Florida
undergraduate institutions were represented widely in the entering class, including
Auburn, Ball State University, Cornell, Dartmouth, Rutgers, University of California-
Davis, and University of Georgia. Recruiting of under-represented minority applicants
remains a high priority. This year was successful insofar as10 applicants who were
accepted in the class included 1 African American and 9 Hispanic applicants.
Lynda Mason completed her undergrad at the University of Georgia
and earned a MS in forensic sciences at the University of Florida.
Lynda is a national board certified teacher and taught forensic
sciences and zoology to high school students for ten years. Lynda
worked at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation and
Research Center where she assisted with reproductive strategies
and conservation efforts on a fellowship. Lynda's art interest is
animal pop art, which can be seen at
Ly.n Ma" http://www.horseofadifferentcolorart.com
David J. Hsi
David completed a BA in Classics from Kalamazoo College in
Michigan where he also played on the men's tennis team. He
worked as a Resident Assistant gaining skills in mediating conflicts
and bringing together students from a variety of backgrounds. In
his freshmen year he co-founded a campus martial arts club.
During his junior year, David went to Australia where he was a
research assistant on two swine studies. Over the last four years
David has externed at Angell Animal Medical Center in the dental
and orthopedic surgery departments where he saw cutting-edge
Duld ft plastic and orthopedic surgeries. David is now enrolled in the
MPH/DVM combined degree program offered at UF.
Whew! And this is just a small sample of our extraordinary entering students. I know
you will agree that they comprise an extremely diverse and talented group of future
health professionals about whom we can be very proud.
David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D
Senior Vice President, Health Affairs
President, UF&Shands Health System