By Wendy Sarubbi | April 22, 2016 3:42 pm

The Florida Board of Medicine recently honored UCF medical student David Cantu with its Chairman’s Recognition Award for “exemplifying the professionalism, moral character, compassion, and intellect essential to the future leaders of the medical profession.” Cantu is an honor student who will graduate in May and then enter his residency in emergency medicine at Denver Health Medical Center.

Cantu served as president of all four of his classes and is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national honor society of medicine. He was also selected as an inaugural honoree of the new UCF Chapman Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which honors students for their humanitarian spirit, clinical skills and service.

“This is a huge honor for me,” Cantu said, “because it sums up the ideals of the profession I have the honor of demonstrating. I am grateful to UCF for offering me so many opportunities to grow.”

Born in Colombia, Cantu attended Orlando’s Boone High School and did his undergraduate work at the University of Florida. He came to UCF’s young medical school because he said it was “an opportunity to make a decision based on courage, not fear.” He arrived when the UCF College of Medicine was not yet accredited and was still growing its enrollment and clinical clerkships. He said being part of building a young medical school inspired him, brought unique opportunities for leadership and “the honor and privilege of seeing things evolve in real time. Today the UCF name is everywhere.”

He chose emergency medicine after volunteering at an ER as an undergraduate and because he likes the fast-paced atmosphere of a team that is on “the front lines of health care.” Emergency medicine also provides opportunity for global health, about which Cantu is passionate. He said doing his residency in Denver will be an exciting adventure – he spent half his life in Florida – and offer him the chance to work with diverse patients and use his native Spanish language. “Just like UCF, Denver is a new opportunity and a great program,” he said. “I’m excited to be part of it,” he said.

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