Superior Accomplishment Awards program honors 11 PHHP employees

Eleven College of Public Health and Health Professions employees have been named UF Superior Accomplishment award winners in the Health Science Center division. They will be honored at an upcoming virtual event.

The award program recognizes employees who contribute outstanding service, efficiency and/or economy to the university, or play a role in the quality of life provided to students and employees. Health Science Center division winners are submitted as nominees to compete for the university-level Superior Accomplishment Awards.

Nominations for the selected employees reflect faculty and staff taking on additional responsibilities to meet the extraordinary challenges the COVID-19 pandemic posed to education, clinical service, research and operations. The 2021 PHHP Superior Accomplishment Award winners, along with comments from nominators, include:

Francesca AntoineFrancesca Antoine, MHSI, business manager, department of health services research, management and policy

“She is smart, efficient and organized. To my knowledge, she is the first to arrive in the department each morning and the last to leave each evening. She speaks politely and holds everyone with due respect. She is competent, innovative, helpful, skillful and excellent at interpersonal relationship building. I frequently go to Francesca for advice and guidance in my role and she is quick to go above and beyond to help me out. She is instrumental in guiding and enabling the department to accomplish its mission and vision.”

LuzMaria EscotoLuzMaria Escoto, M.S., MLHR, academic coordinator, department of clinical and health psychology

“Ms. Escoto truly came to our rescue this year when we had two staff members leave for other positions just before things shut down in March, but we were unable to hire more staff during the pandemic. I don’t know what we would have done if she did not pick up even more additional responsibilities. With our business manager out on maternity leave during this time as well, Ms. Escoto rose to the challenge and was absolutely essential to our department running smoothly during a very stressful time.”

Amanda Gillis, clinical services representative, department of clinical and health psychology

“A shining example of Amanda’s amazing character was in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Literally over the weekend the governor’s stay-at-home order was issued, she volunteered to come into the clinic to help close the office and get processes in place to be able to work from home. To add insult to injury, the department’s fiscal and HR representatives had left their positions just prior to that, so their positions were just being reposted, but then immediately closed when the hiring freeze was imposed. Amanda graciously volunteered to take over the purchasing for not only the clinic, but the entire department to include the grants core, while still maintaining her clinic duties.”

Mary GipsonMary Gipson, administrative specialist, department of epidemiology

“Mary carries out her busy, multifaceted work with high efficacy, great enthusiasm, calm demeanor and utmost professionalism. She often deals with large volumes of diverse, highly technical material to organize and disseminate. In this time of COVID-19, she has created and coordinated multiple calendars to set up numerous meetings of standing committees, working groups, etc., with the Health Science Center but also at other parts of UF, and at universities across the U.S. and abroad.”

Lauren GuidiLauren Guidi, J.D., administrative specialist, dean’s office

“During the pandemic, Lauren has taken on a new set of unique challenges. Most important among these has been serving as coordinator of three national searches for new chairs in our college. Importantly, she has taken on these critical assignments without the assistance of an outside search firm. Instead, on her own, she has assumed responsibility for organizing all elements of the search and screening activities. She orchestrated all of these diverse activities in a flawless and collegial manner that left all deeply appreciative of her superb organizational talents but more importantly, impressed with Lauren as an outstanding ambassador for the University of Florida!”

Lisa KingLisa King, Psy.D., ABPP, clinical assistant professor, department of clinical and health psychology

“Dr. King has become a leader within the department around clinical administrative and clinical training. She has a tireless work ethic and a high standard of care that she provides to her patients. She has eagerly taken on the additional duties that have resulted in improved services for our patients and cutting edge training to our graduate students. Her previous background in providing telehealth was invaluable in allowing the department to pivot to this treatment platform seamlessly.”


Pizarro, KatherineKatherine Pizarro-Gutierrez, M.P.H., academic program specialist, dean’s office

“She is creating a better MPH program by being forthright and accessible to each of the MPH cohorts. She collaborates and is eager to learn more to better serve the college and students. In a time with a lot of uncertainty, Katherine stepped up and added two completely different roles to her duties. She was enthusiastic about learning new responsibilities and fully training for these new roles, always keeping the student experience in mind.”


Plowman, EmilyEmily Plowman, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, associate professor, department of speech, language, and hearing sciences

“Unfortunately, COVID-related student withdrawals from clinic extended into the Summer 2020 semester and with this announcement, student anxiety was at an all-time high. It was at this time that Emily proposed another creative solution to offer an online clinical practicum experience for eight students (approximately one quarter of the class impacted) to gain real world experience in learning and then performing validated assessments of swallowing studies in ALS patients from her laboratory dataset. Again, this was in a volunteer capacity on top of her already hectic summer schedule. The program she provided included provision of several weeks of intensive trainings, weekly team meetings, and one-on-one mentoring by Emily. Over a four-month period, each student completed approximately 50 assessments with Emily mentoring a total of 400 assessments.”

Jacky_ScottJacky Scott, marketing and communications specialist, department of physical therapy

“Jacky possesses a refreshing blend of cerebral and personable traits. She maintains a balance between accomplishing the necessary detail oriented tasks associated with her usual duties along with providing an excited, caring and approachable manner as a consultant to faculty and fellow staff on emerging communication issues. Jacky is organized and considerate of others’ time, making the lives of those around her easier with her consistent willingness to perform duties above and beyond her usual tasks.”

Smith, RobynRobyn Smith, college academic programs coordinator, dean’s office

“Robyn coordinates the academic aspects of the MPH online program with exemplary devotion and impressive ease. She has exceptional organizational and communication skills. She advises and manages all of the online students by herself with great care. It is amazing how Robyn knows the entry point, the progress and the projected graduation time of every student in the online program! She has been very instrumental in constructing various algorithms that have proven helpful (especially in terms of their flexibility) to faculty as well as students, which make the whole process easier.”

Young, IkiahIkiah Young, academic programs coordinator, department of health services research, management and policy

“Ikiah has a can-do attitude and a positive spirit. In just 16 months, we have worked together to strengthen and improve the MHA program. I have total confidence in her skills and abilities. Many of the ways Ikiah helped in the improvement process were not in her job description. She saw the need, stepped up, and delivered a quality outcome.”


Update: 3/30/21
View the 2021 Superior Accomplishment Awards virtual recognition ceremony