By Matthew Vaccaro | January 10, 2024 8:30 am

More than 600 community physicians serve as preceptors at the UCF College of Medicine – educating third- and fourth-year medical students going through clerkship, elective, and acting-Internship training. The doctors are based in hospitals and clinics across Florida and provide education and mentorship in a variety of specialties, including internal medicine, surgery, OB-GYN, pediatrics, neurology and psychiatry. We’re sharing stories about these amazing faculty physician educators who are helping create UCF’s future Physician Knights.

Drs. Christopher Cooper (left) and Giselle Castaneira are both UCF College of Medicine graduates. Both educate UCF medical students in their role as internal medicine hospitalists at UCF Lake Nona Hospital.

Our first spotlight features Dr. Giselle Castaneira and Dr. Christopher Cooper at UCF Lake Nona Hospital.

Dr. Giselle Castaneira is a 2016 graduate of the UCF College of Medicine.  Dr. Castaneira’s residency training was in Internal Medicine at Orlando Health, where she participated in the educational program for the Internal and Family Medicine Clerkship and was the recipient of the Advancing Clinical Teachers Award in 2018. 

Dr. Castaneira joined the medical staff of UCF Lake Nona Hospital, the medical school’s partnership academic hospital with HCA Healthcare, in 2021 as an Internal Medicine Hospitalist, and has been teaching our students ever since. 

“Here is what students say about Dr. Castaneira:

Dr. Castaneira is an amazing teacher. She could always tell what I found difficult to understand. She focused on those topics and asked us questions to make us think for ourselves.”

Dr. Castaneira was an excellent attending. She very clearly communicated expectations from the first day and helped us understand what our role was on the team. She gave us regular constructive feedback, which I think was very helpful in improving as the rotation went along. Furthermore, she was kind, respectful, and open to answering any questions we had.”

“Dr. Castaneira is an excellent example of a patient advocate and is great at her job. Very efficient and caring physician.”

Dr. Christopher Cooper is a 2014 graduate of the UCF College of Medicine.  He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Orlando Health in 2017, where he was involved in teaching as the Resident Simulation Center Chief. 

Dr. Cooper has been an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UCF since 2017, initially as part of the Internal Medicine Residency Program in partnership with HCA Florida Osceola Hospital. He joined UCF Lake Nona Hospital in 2021 as an Internal Medicine Hospitalist and Site Medical Director for the Internal and Family Medicine Clerkship, where he teaches UCF medical students.

Here is what students say about Dr. Cooper:

“I thought he was an excellent teacher who taught us a lot about the practice of modern medicine, including the critical components of patient care, the doctors note, and even how to approach UWorld questions more effectively. He also was great at pushing students to perform to their full potential.”

“Dr. Cooper was very clear about his expectations of us, which made it easy to understand our role at the hospital. He took time to discuss patients with us, despite a busy schedule, and encouraged us to make our own plan for patients and justify it. I feel that he really helped me develop skills in patient management.”

“Dr. Cooper is an excellent teacher. I really enjoyed seeing him interact with patients and learning better physician-patient/family communication skills.”

“Dr. Cooper clearly communicated expectations and was very approachable when it came to student questions/concerns.”

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