By Wendy Sarubbi | September 25, 2015 2:49 pm

Dr. Judy Simms-Cendan, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of International Experiences at the College of Medicine, was honored September 21 as a UCF Woman of Distinction for her community engagement and outreach efforts.

Three UCF faculty winners were announced at UCF President John C. Hitt’s welcome reception for new women faculty. The other two recipients are Dr. Jennifer Tucker, lecturer from the College of Health and Public Affairs and Dr. Michele Gregoire Gill, associate professor from the College of Education and Human Performance. President Hitt praised the winners for their innovative spirit and showing how faculty and staff can make a difference by being bold

Dr. Simms-Cendan was honored for helping found the KNIGHTS (Keeping Neighbors In Good Health Through Service) student-run free clinic at Grace Medical Home in Orlando. The clinic cares for the community’s uninsured residents and UCF’s efforts have helped Grace Medical ease of long patient waiting list.

She was also recognized for her work in providing patient care and medical education across the world. In July, she led the College of Medicine’s fourth medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic. This year’s team included 49 UCF medical, nursing and engineering students, University of Florida pharmacy students, local physicians, dentists and a pastor working together to provide care in underserved rural areas of the Caribbean nation. She is also providing educational assistance to a new medical school in Ethiopia, where she visits several times a year and gives lectures to students and physicians about women’s health.

“It’s exciting that UCF is recognizing outreach and engagement as a measure of success,” said Dr. Simms-Cendan, “Oftentimes it’s just about papers published and courses taught, but UCF has a commitment to the partnerships efforts of faculty beyond the classroom and labs.”

Dr. Simms-Cendan specializes in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. She received her M.D. at the University of Florida, where she also did her residency training. She had her husband, Dr. Juan Cendan, chair of medical education, assistant dean for simulation and professor of surgery, joined the College of Medicine in 2010 after teaching at UF and providing patient care in Gainesville.

Award winners received a $1,000 stipend, which Dr. Simms-Cendan said she will use to support her global medicine efforts. “I wouldn’t be receiving this award without the encouragement and support of the College of Medicine,” she said.


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