The UF College of Public Health and Health Professions celebrated outstanding students and graduates at the college’s annual convocation ceremony April 29.
The college’s departments and programs presented students with awards and scholarships. Students graduating magna cum laude and summa cum laude — high and highest honors, respectively — received their honors cords at the ceremony.
The college recognized Mark Robitaille, M.B.A., FACHE, as the PHHP Outstanding Alumnus for 2017. Robitaille received a UF master’s degree in business administration with a focus on hospital administration in 1976. He served as a senior health care executive for more than 33 years before retiring recently as president and chief executive officer for Martin Health System in Stuart, Florida, a position he held since 2008. Martin Health System has been named one of the nation’s Top 100 Health Systems eight times. The system includes 4,000 associates, three acute care hospitals, 11 outpatient ambulatory care sites and a multi-specialty medical group with 100 physicians. Robitaille’s accomplishments include the opening of Tradition Medical Center campus and laying the groundwork for its future expansion; a highly successful joint venture with HealthSouth; expanding several service line capabilities; and improving quality. He is the past chair of the Florida Hospital Association Board of Trustees and was recognized by the American Hospital Association in 2011 as a National Grassroots Advocacy leader.
Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D., served as the ceremony’s distinguished speaker. He leads the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health, and served as the institute’s acting director from 2015 to 2016. The RDoC was formed to expand the institute’s effort to develop a research classification for mental disorders based upon dimensions of behavior and neural systems. He has led the RDoC project since its inception, while also serving as director of the Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development from 2009 to 2014. Cuthbert served on the faculty of the PHHP department of clinical and health psychology for 17 years before joining the National Institute of Mental Health in 1998. For his contributions to psychology research and policy, Cuthbert was awarded UF’s Distinguished Achievement Award at a graduation ceremony on April 30.
Cuthbert advised graduating students that with constant changes in the economy, health care and technology, the knowledge they gained as students will eventually become outdated, adding “the mark of an outstanding professional is the ability to relinquish old ideas and learn the new.”
Cuthbert recalled the lessons he learned in graduate school from his mentor Peter Lang, Ph.D., a graduate research professor in the department of clinical and health psychology, which shaped the basic principles of how Cuthbert has approached research on behavior and mental disorders throughout his career.
“Sticking with the basic principles that I learned in graduate school is a major reason why my career developed as it did and why I am standing here before you today, even though our technologies and methods have changed drastically,” he said. “Of course, the nature of these basic principles varies for different people, depending upon our careers and our own aims. In the long run, it is up to each of us to find our own guiding principles as we develop. Only in this way, I believe, can we build on a solid foundation to strive for the excellence that we all seek.”