By Wendy Sarubbi | December 18, 2012 1:23 pm

Thanks to their 5K skills, UCF College of Medicine participants helped raise more than $38,000 as part of the Arthritis Foundation’s 2012 Jingle Bell Run/Walk at Orlando’s Baldwin Park on December 15.

Dr. Leonardo Oliveira, who specializes in sports medicine at UCF Health, the College of Medicine physician practice, was the college’s top athlete. He finished the 5K in 21:02, placing 22nd of 351 runners/walkers. Dr. Mujtaba Husain, professor of pathology, was the No. 2 finisher in his age group, crossing the line at 25:39.

The run/walk had a holiday theme with some participants wearing Santa hats, reindeer antlers and even ornaments and tutus. “The Jingle Bell Run by the Arthritis Foundation is a great way to connect with the community, raise awareness and funds for research for arthritis,” said Dr. Shazia Bég, a rheumatologist at UCF Health, who works closely with the foundation and participated in the event. “It was great seeing so many people at the run – both patients and their friends and family. Finding the right kind of exercise for your arthritis is absolutely an essential part of getting your symptoms under control.”

A running enthusiast, Dr. Oliveira said he entered the Jingle Bell Run “to test myself,” test his fitness level at the end of 2012 and set his goals for 2013. “This is a great opportunity to enjoy a healthy holiday activity together,” he said. “It reinforces the idea of getting into the habit of exercising regularly and making exercise part of your daily routine.”

As an event sponsor, UCF Health set up a tent, decorated for the holidays, and handed out T-shirts, pedometers, health tips and brochures.

In addition to Drs. Bég, Oliveira and Husain, the College of Medicine team included Dr. Martin Klapheke, professor of psychiatry; his wife, Kathy; Dr. Nasseer Masoodi, associate professor at Florida State University’s medical school, who finished second in his age group in the race; Habeel Gazi, Dr. Bég’s husband; Floyd Sturdifen, HR coordinator, and his son, Floyd III; and Brian Malberti, medical assistant at UCF Health.



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