The Hugh A. Walters, M.D., Distinguished Speaker and Humanitarian Award

photo of surgeonThe UF Department of Surgery has established an annual award, The Hugh A. Walters, MD, Department of Surgery Humanism Award, in honor of the unexpected loss of resident Dr. Hugh A. Walters, a 2004 UF medical graduate who was a promising young surgeon.

Each year the award is presented to the “surgical resident who embodies the qualities of compassionate care and selfless dedication to excellence,” said Dr. Kevin Behrns, UF’s chief of general surgery and director of the surgical residency program in 2008.

“Hugh was a perfect example of what perseverance and hard work can accomplish,” Chen said. “He came from Jamaica and played college football at Florida A&M for a year or two. He stopped because he needed more time for class work.”

Dr. Walters and his family moved from Jamaica to Florida shortly before he entered high school. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University before coming to UF for medical school. As a second-year medical student, Walters was accepted into the prestigious year-long Research Scholars Program sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health. In addition to his surgical residency, Walters also completed one year of training in critical care medicine.

Behrns said Walters’ lifelong ambition was to be a trauma surgeon in an academic setting, where he could continue to do research.

“He was setting himself up to succeed in just such a position,” Behrns said.

Dr. Donna Parker, assistant dean for minority affairs for the College of Medicine in 2008, met Walters during his third year at Florida A&M when he was accepted into the junior honors program. She also accompanied him on a medical mission trip to his home country.

“He was a very smart, humble and wonderful young man,” Parker said. “People who worked with him have commented to me how incredibly smart he was.

“He also had a great love for other people and took good care of others, whether they were his peers, his patients or students,” she said. “He had a quiet positive spirit.”

“Hugh was a caring physician in the finest tradition of our profession.” said Dr. Timothy Flynn, associate dean for graduate medical education and professor of vascular surgery in 2008.

The fund continues to support humanitarian efforts and awareness in surgical education. For more information about this program or how to help support the fund, contact Ted Kruljac at 352.273.9059.

Table Caption

Resident Year
Darrell L. Hunt, MD, PhD 2009
Tad Kim, MD 2010
Dean J. Yamaguchi, MD 2011
Tad Kim, MD 2012
Claire L. Griffin, MD 2013
Makesha Miggins, MD 2014
Alex G. Cuenca, MD, PhD 2015
Lori F. Gentile, MD 2016
Ahsan Raza, MD 2017
H. Charles Peters, MD 2018
Tyler J. Loftus, MD 2019
Kyle M. Staton, MD 2020