UF Health

New Health Secretary To Keep Ties To UF

Jun 6, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis named Dr. Scott Rivkees as Florida's Surgeon General.
Governor's Press Office

When physician Scott Rivkees takes over as secretary of the state Department of Health, he will continue to be employed by the University of Florida. 

UF Health Jacksonville hospital recently underwent a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) study from the Urban Land Institute.

Jacksonville’s Memorial Hospital this week received state approval to operate its trauma center that’s a specialized facility treating the most gravely injured patients.

UF Health Jacksonville hospital is getting more than $2 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch a telemedicine project to treat urban patients with HIV.

Telehealth is the practice of treating patients from a distance using technology like computers, tablets and other platforms.

UF Health Jacksonville jumped 33 spots in an annual ranking of academic medical centers, according to hospital officials.

Updated Feb. 20, 12:34 p.m.

University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute treated nearly 200 kids with cancer last year. Now doctors there are hoping a new app will help young patients prepare before they arrive for treatment.


The Proton U App was developed by UF Health child life specialist Kim Todd. It’s an interactive storybook that introduces kids to the hospital environment to make treatment less intimidating.


UF Health Shands Hospital is moving forward on a $415 million planned expansion, the Gainesville Sun reports.

The new building will include 216 beds, 20 operating rooms, and two towers that will house neuromedicine and cardiovascular services, according to the Sun.

It’s a good-news day for researchers in Florida, with reports on stem cell treatments for heart damage and preclinical trials on an HIV vaccine, both from University of Miami. And for a feel-good story, there’s a TV report on a child raising more than half a million dollars for liver-disease research at University of Florida that might benefit his friend.

Here are some details:

Mary Shedden / WUSF

Cancer hospitals vying to earn National Cancer Institute designation would get $60 million next year under a budget proposal being released by Florida Gov. Rick Scott today.

Scott, who is running for a second term as governor, made Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center the final stop of his “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” tour on Tuesday. Flanked by dozens of researchers, university leaders and politicians, he said the $60 million proposal can help cancer centers invest in the research needed to earn the prestigious title.

A barrage of television ads blasting UF Health and Tampa-area hospitals is being financed by a senior advocacy group aligned with conservative causes. The ads appear to support the position of Hospital Corporation of America in a lawsuit brought by the non-profits.

A former state Supreme Court Justice will referee the bitter fight over hospital trauma centers. The Florida Department of Health’s attorney told the House Health Innovation Subcommittee that starting next week, former justice Ken Bell will referee talks about the rules determining where and how many new specialized hospital trauma centers can operate, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Nearly all of the Gainesville-area residents who died from flu this season didn’t have vaccinations. And flu shots may have prevented those illnesses, says the Gainesville Sun’s editorial board. A record number of school-age children in Alachua County were vaccinated last year, but the town’s huge population of college-age students also should be a priority for getting flu shots, the board said.

When Orlando Health announced Monday that it was switching its cancer-center affiliation from MD Anderson to University of Florida, there were two big questions: Who ditched whom? And Will UF try to muscle in on Moffitt Cancer Center's statewide network?


A South Carolina rescue dog is recovering after University of Florida veterinarians were able to remove a 9-pound tumor from its head.

Bubbles, a 5-year-old Neapolitan mastiff mix, underwent the complicated surgery to remove the tumor from her skull on Nov. 25.  UF veterinary oncologists said she suffered from multiobular osteochondrosarcoma, an aggressive tumor often found in the flat bones in the skull.


A University of Florida psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist who has an addiction history of his own has gone on leave after running into trouble with the Florida Board of Medicine.

Dr. Harold E. Smith, who was hired in July as an assistant professor at UF Health Florida Recovery Center, requested and was granted an unpaid leave of absence over the weekend, UF Health spokeswoman Michelle Blouin said Monday.

Virtual visits will be the norm at the state’s newest VA Medical Center. Leaders from the Veterans Health Administration National Simulation Center in Medical City are about to accept bids for the $20.3 million center, according the Orlando Business Journal. The center is being designed to serve veterans via online portals.

University of Florida Health -- the parent organization for a cluster of hospitals formerly called  Shands Healthcare -- has agreed to pay $26 million to settle a whistleblower case under the False Claims Act, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Erica Brough / Gainesville Sun

A diamondback rattlesnake bite required a record amount of antivenin for an 11-year-old Newberry boy  who was taken to UF Health Shands, according to the Gainesville Sun. As a Level One trauma center, Shands had the antivenin in sufficient quality to save the boy’s life.