UF Health recognized for outreach program

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Health program that helps improve local residents’ lives by pairing them with students from various health professions has been recognized for excellence.

UF Health’s Putting Families First program has received one of the inaugural Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Awards for Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education. UF Health is among four individuals and institutions recognized by The Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and the Beyond Flexner Alliance. The awards recognize individuals and groups that educate health professionals and have included initiatives such as community engagement, diversity and reduction of health disparities as part of their social mission.

At UF Health, Putting Families First, a program offered through the Office of Interprofessional Education, has students from all six Health Science Center colleges working with families on ways to improve and maintain their health. Students cover dental, medical, mental health, nursing, nutritional, physical therapy, pharmacy, animal health and a variety of social needs while making regular home visits and working with families in small group sessions. Families who join the program get free health resource support, free health consultations and the opportunity to share their experiences and concerns about the health care system while helping students gain valuable experience.

“This award is a wonderful acknowledgment of our interprofessional education efforts here at the University of Florida and how they positively impact the local community,” said Amy Blue, Ph.D., UF Health associate vice president for interprofessional education and associate dean for educational affairs at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions.

The awards are supported by the New York City-based Macy Foundation, which promotes public health by advancing the training and education of health professionals. Each honoree receives $2,000 and a commemorative plaque at a conference Sept. 19 in Miami. Winners were selected by a committee of the Beyond Flexner Alliance, a national movement that emphasizes the role of medical education in addressing social inequities.