August 2015 Special Section

Leadership Style: Fierce Urgency Of Now Drives UF Health

Written By: Chris Eversole


The cornerstone of Guzick’s leadership approach at UF Health became getting the key leadership team together every day for what he calls fun meetings, which stands for “Fierce of Urgency of Now.”

In 2009, then-University of Florida President and the UF Board of Trustees presented Dr. David S. Guzick with a major challenge – creating a strong working relationship between UF’s Health Science Center colleges and the Shands hospital systems.

The two entities always had worked side by side, but as separate legal entities, each pursuing its own goals, Guzick said. “The faculty and hospital administration were growing farther apart,” he said.

The position that Guzick assumed in 2009 encompassed two roles – serving as UF’s senior vice president for health affairs and as president of UF Shands hospital systems.

These meetings always include College of Medicine Dean Dr. Mike Good, UF Health Shands Hospital CEO Ed Jimenez and hospital CFO Jim Kelly.

This team brings in faculty members, managers and other leaders involved in particular subjects. For example, the FUN meeting one day covered two topics.

First was a decision about creating a system that would assess patient satisfaction with faculty doctors at every visit and make the results available to the public on the Web.

Second was determining how best to structure – legally and financially – the Florida Recovery Center, which is jointly run by the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine and the hospital.

On that day, the executive team met for 45 minutes with the director and key staff members of the marketing office along with the physician who heads the faculty practice plan.

The next 45 minutes included the Department of Psychiatry chair, the department administrator, the physician who heads the Florida Recovery Center and the chief counsels from the medical school and the hospital.

On another day, the FUN meeting involved the chief information officer, the Department of Pathology chair and the leadership at UF Health Jacksonville. The topic was about replacing the existing laboratory information and reporting system with a new system that would be integrated with UF Health’s electronic medical records.

“When I talk to people about the FUN meetings, people often ask with surprise, ‘You meet with the dean, the CEO and the CFO every morning?’” Guzick said.

“I reply that the FUN meetings are a key to our success in running UF Health in a manner that both provides superb patient care and advances UF’s missions of research, education and service.

“Clearly, plenty of important issues need to be considered each day,” Guzick said. “If we don’t address them proactively, they will come back to bite us at a later point, when something that we hadn’t given full attention unravels.”

Collaboration at UF Health goes far beyond meetings that Guzick attends. For example, crossdisciplinary teams worked together to develop the first strategic plan, Forward Together, which the organization developed during the first year after Guzick arrived.

Similar teams collaborated on UF Health’s new strategic plan, The Power of Together.

Guzick’s background helps him coordinate collaboration on the many complex issues that UF Health faces, he said. Prior to coming to UF, he was dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He is an internationally recognized reproductive endocrinologist, and he holds a doctorate in economics.

“Beyond my experience is my belief that medicine is a team sport,” he said. “With a commitment to this belief, we have built a cohesive group within the complex organization of UF Health. We’ve brought people together so that ‘we and they’ has become ‘us.’”

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