Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

Published August 9 2018
Updated August 10 2018

USF and preeminence

A team effort vaulted USF

The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System President Judy Genshaft’s bold vision and leadership. A vital part of this path to preeminence has been the academic emergence of USF Health, with its colleges of medicine, nursing, public health and pharmacy and the largest multispecialty physician practice group on Florida’s West Coast.

At USF’s academic medical center, the next generation of providers trains with many of the best and brightest minds in health care. With our new medical school and heart institute facility under construction in downtown Tampa, we are attracting highly successful, compassionate students. For the last four years, our incoming classes have achieved outstanding average Medical School Admission Test scores, placing the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine in the 90th percentile or better of all students taking the exam nationally. We make lives better for the communities we serve through hope and healing, even when confronted with the most challenging problems — whether it’s helping a patient with a complex case defying diagnosis, or combating emerging infectious diseases that threaten public health in our own community or across the world. An example: USF Health has been at the forefront of addressing mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, Zika, West Nile virus, dengue, encephalitis and other environmentally influenced pathogens. One recent prominent recruit, Dr. Christian Bréchot, president of the Global Virus Network and former head of the prestigious Pasteur Institute, will help lead our global infectious diseases research to the next level. As USF continues its drive toward national and international recognition, USF Health will continue to play a critical role.

Charles J. Lockwood, Tampa,

and John Sinnott, St. Petersburg

Lockwood is senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine University of South Florida, and Sinnott is chair of the Department of Internal Medicine there.

Heat is on to cool schools | Aug. 7

Why not 78 degrees?

This article says the temperature is set at 76 degrees during school hours in Hillsborough and 80 at all other times. The electric company advises that your thermostat be set at 78 degrees for normal use. Why are we paying additional taxpayer dollars to keep it 2 degrees lower than the setting recommended by the electric company?

Bernice Teske, Tampa

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8

Policies, then pollution

Gov. Rick Scott has shown little willingness to accept that his policies have much to do about the toxic algae blooms. His environmental decisions over the past eight years include dramatically reducing the size of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), negotiating with the Trump administration so the state can take over issuance of federal wetlands permits to make it easier to build in wetlands, repealing the statewide septic tank inspection program, and eliminating the words "climate change" from official DEP statements. His rejection of climate science is now coming home to roost in our beautiful blue waters. Deflecting blame will not solve the problem, and declaring a state of emergency in select counties is only a temporary fix. This is a problem that has been years in the making and is now in full bloom thanks, in part, to the policies of a climate denier.

Robin Frank, Tampa

A new Rays stadium

A way to pay for stadium

Officials are searching for a way to finance the new Tampa Bay Rays stadium in Ybor City. I suggest a $10 fee for every political commercial or ad in the state. Enough should be raised in two weeks to pay for all of it.

Tom Bunevich, Tampa

‘She was not an evil person’ | Aug. 5

Parent’s first responsibility

I am the mother of a 29-year-old son with autism. My husband and I personally know all of the difficulties that accompany raising a disabled child, especially one with autism, who, through no fault of their own, cannot usually communicate effectively. As a result they can have meltdowns, be unpredictable and intimidating as they become frustrated at not being able to integrate verbally or socially with non-disabled peers.

It is undoubtedly less taxing to have both caring parents in the home, but there was a time when I was a divorced single parent of an older non-disabled son, going to work every day and dealing with an abusive ex-husband. Never did it ever occur to me to harm either one of my now-grown children. There are always alternatives such as giving your child up for adoption or putting them in foster care. The most important role of any human being is being able to adequately raise a totally helpless child, dependent on the parent for everything to survive.

Mary Volpe, Tampa

Putnam, DeSantis lash out in debate | Aug. 9

Primaries are the problem

I tend to believe primaries bring out the worst in candidates. Venomous attacks turn voters off and drive them away from the voting booths in disgust. As a result, the voters do not truly know the positions and accomplishments of the candidates, just the hate and misinformation. After primary season, the candidates want to kiss and make up in a show of unity for the party. Are we really supposed to believe this? Hardly.

A part of the problem is the long cycle for American elections. I have watched too many local candidates wear themselves out over an 18- to 24-month campaign, and deplete financial resources which could be used for better purposes. The public is also burned out by the television ads, telephone solicitations and door-knocking. This is sheer madness.

Tim Bryce, Palm Harbor