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Health Care Heroes Awards Recognize UHealth and Miller School Excellence

Physicians from UHealth – University of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine were honored at this year’s Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Health Care Heroes Awards.

Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D.

Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., director of the Mailman Center for Child Development, received the Equitable Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award for his legacy in advancing the education and research of sickle cell disease and cancer. With a calm demeanor and compassionate care, Dr. Armstrong has led the institute to national recognition and more than $3 million in recent funding to further advance care for children with disabilities and special needs.

“If someone picks up what I’ve done in sickle cell disease or cancer and applies it to their clinic, that has a multiplying effect of improving lives,” Dr. Armstrong said. “The real impact of our scholarship is that we can change the way care is provided and the outcomes in children worldwide.”

More than 450 attendees were on hand to celebrate excellence in health care at the annual event, which recognizes individuals and organizations who have made an extraordinary impact on South Florida’s health care community.

Leadership in Infectious Diseases

For her continuous leadership during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilian Abbo, M.D., professor of infectious diseases at the Miller School and associate chief medical officer at Jackson Health System, received the Health Care Professional Award.

Lilian Abbo, M.D., received the Health Care Professional Award.

Lilian Abbo, M.D., received the Health Care Professional Award.

Dr. Abbo has been instrumental in educating the public and advising leadership in the health system and local government. Her expertise has taken her to advise statewide government and the national public, making appearances on various news outlets regarding best health practices during the pandemic.

“She stayed the course and tried to make sure everybody stayed calm, understood what was happening and how to deal with it,” said Carlos Miyoga, CEO of Jackson. “Her leadership saved a lot of lives in South Florida. Having an infectious disease person in an entry point like Miami is extremely critical.”

Impact in Critical Care Nursing

Joe Falise, M.S.N.

Joe Falise, M.S.N.

In addition to the recognized winners, Joe Falise, M.S.N., director of nursing for critical care and progressive care at UHealth, was a finalist in the nursing category. Falise’s skills were vitally important during the pandemic, and he was instrumental in redesigning UHealth’s clinical practices, with safety for patients and caregivers as the top priority.

The results proved Falise’s excellent decision-making abilities and even led to an influx of nurses wanting to work at UHealth because of its strong stance on health care safety. Falise also achieved national impact as part of several publications and through his service on the board of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

“He not only has a voice at the bedside, but at the leadership table of the hospital as well as the country in terms of being a health care hero and a leader in critical care nursing,” said Tanira Ferreira, M.D., chief medical officer of UHealth Tower.

Institutional Recognition

The Miami Transplant Institute (MTI), a collaborative program with UHealth/Jackson, was recognized in the organization/programs category. A national standout in transplants and research, the MTI leads the country in the number of multiorgan transplants, and its lung team is one of the top programs in the country.

Currently, the MTI is leading research on pig kidney transplants in humans, at the forefront of taking the study to clinical trials.

“We have some of the most diverse patient mixes in the country, and in addition, through our residency programs, we are training future transplant surgeons for the world and our community,” Miyoga said.

Tags: Division of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Daniel Armstrong, Dr. Lillian Abbo, Health Care Heroes, Joe Falise, Mailman Center for Child Development, miami transplant institute