UF presents the 2023 Win Phillips Town Gown Relations Awards

The University of Florida presented three different Win Phillips Town Gown Relations Awards Friday to a government agency, a Gainesville community member and a UF employee. The honor recognized their respective achievements creating a mobile health unit to save more lives, advocating for health care in underserved neighborhoods, and fostering a relationship between artists and the community. 

“The University of Florida values the importance of town-gown relations," said Mark Kaplan, vice president for government and community relations. "We know that a university thrives when there is a strong partnership with its community. The people we are honoring with this award work tirelessly to strengthen these connections and make Gainesville a great place to live and work.  We are grateful for their leadership.”

David Nelson, senior vice president for health affairs, Jim Kelly, interim chief executive officer for UF Health Shands, and Traci d’Auguste, chief operating officer for UF Health Shands presented the award for a government agency or official to the Alachua County Fire Rescue for their collaboration and support in establishing the UF Health Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit. 

“This supercharged emergency response vehicle provides faster, highly specialized and targeted care to those who suffer strokes,” Nelson said.  “This vehicle — put in service on July 25, 2023 — has to date responded to over 340 calls and of those, provided support and interventions for over 50 patient stroke events.” 

Chief Harold Theus and Alachua County Commission Chair Mary Alford accepted the award on behalf of the Alachua County Fire Rescue.

Heather White, vice president for student life, presented the award designated for a community member to Gerard Duncan, pastor of Prayers by Faith Outreach Ministries, for leadership efforts for numerous education and outreach initiatives, including being an outreach adviser for the UF Health Cancer Center and advocating for vaccination in underserved communities.

When nominating Duncan for the award, Deputy Director of Emerging Pathogens Institute Dr. Michael Lauzardo wrote, “Pastor Duncan was an instrumental and vital leader in helping UF Health's COVID response reach all members of our community — not just on the east side of Gainesville. He did everything from getting his own vaccinations through our clinics at east side churches, calling up pastors to spread the word, even working in the clinics to make sure people received the very best in care. In short, Pastor Duncan's efforts saved lives."

College of the Arts Dean Onye Ozuzu presented the award for faculty and staff to the College of the Arts Center for Arts, Migration and Entrepreneurship Director Osubi Craig for his work at the center of fostering relationships between the community, artists, creatives, and researchers to utilize the arts for positive social change.  

When nominating Craig for the award, Senior Director of UF Advancement Kim Kruse wrote, “Gainesville and UF need more individuals like Osubi who embrace the depth and richness within our local community and find creative ways to channel this for the greater – and Gator – good.”

This award is named in honor of UF’s long-time former vice president for research and most recently executive chief of staff, Win Phillips, who spent 35 years maintaining UF’s bonds with local government and businesses, played a key role in creating Gainesville’s Innovation District, the UF technology licensing program and UF Innovate in order to cultivate economic transfer in Gainesville.

Blake Trauschke December 8, 2023