Speaker biographies

Brenda Butka, MD, Vanderbilt University, practices pulmonary medicine at Vanderbilt.  She has been writing poetry since childhood and has been published in The Threepenny Review, Slant, The Florida Review, The Cortland Review, Cleaver, JAMA, Chest, and other journals.  She feels that poetry should identify the heroic in the everyday, and the everyday in the heroic.

Elizabeth (Leah) Diehl, RLA, HTM is Director of Therapeutic Horticulture at Wilmot Gardens at the University of Florida. She is a licensed landscape architect, a master gardener, and a registered horticultural therapist. She has bachelor’s degrees in both architecture and art history and a master’s degree in landscape architecture. Leah began her work in horticultural therapy in Chicago in 1993, where she started up a therapeutic and pre-vocational program for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities at Misericordia Home.  She served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture from 1999-2014. Leah has taught landscape architecture, horticulture, and horticultural therapy courses at several universities and colleges and has published many papers on horticultural therapy and therapeutic landscapes including a chapter on healing gardens in Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. She has provided numerous presentations on people-plant interactions in the U.S. and abroad.  At the therapeutic horticulture program at UF she directs programming for many diverse populations, the newest being a program for those with autism spectrum disorder. She also coordinates research efforts and manages educational programs for students and volunteers.

Caridad A. Hernandez, MD, is a general internist and clinician-educator who directs the Practice of Medicine 1 and 2 courses at UCF COM.  She is also a faculty advisor for the UCF Chapman Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Jeff Jurgens has been the director of Gainesville’s Much Ado About Doris Improv Company since 2013 and has volunteered at Shands and the VA (Honor Center) participating in improvisation with veterans and patients.  He has been involved with improvisational acting for over 20 years, directing and teaching for over 10 years, and has led team building and role playing sessions for hospitals, companies, and the public.

Stefano A. Leitner is a second year medical student and Captain of the Chapman Community Health Program at the Florida State University College of Medicine.

Sandra Murphy-Pak is an artist living with ALS. She holds a BFA in painting from the Atlanta College of Art and a Master’s in Arts Education from the University of Florida. She is the mother of three amazing daughters. She has volunteered and worked with Arts in Medicine for more than a decade, creating community driven projects both here in the United States and in Africa, and has worked as Visual Artist in Residence at UF Health Shands Hospital. She derives inspiration from nature in all of its infinite forms. And in native cultures and their close relationship to nature as expressed and symbolized in their art and architecture. Now the artist, utilizing her feet, embarks on a new journey to create works of art that reflect her inner universe – to realize the innate drive of all humans to express themselves within nature, within their world, within their cosmos.

Patrick Ober, MD, FACP, is Professor of Internal Medicine (Endocrinology and Metabolism) at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC. He earned his BS in Biochemistry at Michigan State University, and his MD from the University of Florida. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at Wake Forest, and has been on the faculty there ever since. Dr. Ober is interested in the relationship between the humanities and the practice of medicine. He has written about the dehumanizing properties of the electronic medical record. He is well-known in Mark Twain scholarship circles for his book Mark Twain and Medicine: “Any Mummery Will Cure” in addition to other writings and presentations about Twain and medicine. He has been recognized as one of the “Best Doctors in America” on repeated occasions. He was nominated for the 2007 Humanism in Medicine Award of the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 2015, the Wake Forest Physician Assistant program established the Patrick & Cathy Ober Community Leadership Award to recognize a student “who had demonstrated remarkable dedication to community service and leadership in outreach, philanthropy, and humanitarianism.” He is the recipient of the 2016 Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Charles Pohl, MD, is a professor of pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (formerly known as Jefferson Medical College) of Thomas Jefferson University and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In his role as the Associate Provost of Student Affairs and Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Career Counseling at Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Pohl oversees all student life and engagement activities on campus as well as provides academic, personal, and career counseling for over 1,000 medical students. His commitment to professionalism and humanism in the practice of medicine is reflected by his implementation and oversight of the Jefferson chapter of the Gold Humanism Honorary Society (GHHS), his position as chair of the national GHHS Advisory Council and his development of the Applied Arts Program in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was inducted to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Austin Reed is a 4th year medical student at UF who serves as the Executive Director of the Equal Access Clinic Network and is currently founding a Primary Care Progress, PCP, Chapter here. He is interested in improving health outcomes by focusing on systems medicine and data driven quality improvement. To get started, he has worked toward increased interprofessional development for the student run free clinics and a culture of collaboration. By founding the local PCP chapter, he hopes to cement these ideals for future students to build upon.

Linda C. Stone, MD currently serves as Special Assistant to the Dean for Humanism and Professionalism.  As a family physician, Dr. Stone served patients in Columbus, Ohio for over 25 years.  She is past president of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP), past chair of the OAFP Foundation and served on the board for the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation (AAFP-F).  She received the Tow Humanism In Medicine Award , was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, received the OSU College of Medicine Professor of the Year award, and was designated a Local Legend by the American Medical Women’s Association.  Her teaching awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the OSU College of Medicine in 2009.  The Ohio State University College of Medicine’s Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and the Ohio State University College of Medicine created the Linda C. Stone Award in Mentoring and presented the inaugural award to Dr. Stone.  The Ohio State University Alumni Association honored Dr. Stone in 2014 with the Josephine Sitterle Failer Award. In November of 2016, the AMA honored her work in the medical humanities with the Isaac Hayes, MD and the John Bell, MD Award for Leadership in Medical Ethics and Professionalism.  In 2017, she was recognized by the Ohio Arts Council with a Governor’s Award in the Arts.  She founded the OSU College of Medicine Humanism in Medicine (HiM) program and she continues to direct this program including the Medicine and the Arts Series; Humanism in Medicine Student Section (the Professional School Orchestra, Ultrasound Choir, the HiM Writer’s Group, Photography Group, Visual Arts group, Theatre/Film Arts and Dance in Medicine; the Courage to Teach faculty recognition program; and the Medicine and the Arts Roundtable).

Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, University of Florida, teaches medical humanities including narrative medicine, literature and medicine, the use of arts in developing observational skills, reflective writing and nature writing. She is involved with the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism Honor Society at the national and local level and works with the UF Center for African Studies, where she teaches and serves on the advisory council.

Dr. Ana Turner is a graduate of UF COM and completed residency training at the UF Department of Psychiatry. Her work is focused mainly in the acute psychiatric ED setting at the NF/SG VAMC. She is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at UF and serves as the President of Board for the UF Chapman Society as well as the Faculty Advisor for the UF Chapman Resident Chapter of the GHHS. She is an avid advocate for compassionate treatment of those experiencing mental illness and enjoys spending her free time with her husband and four young children. She is currently dairy-free and is excited to learn that the Girl Scout’s Thin Mints are now vegan!