Message from the Chair

Gilbert R Upchurch Jr

As we head into the next decade, it seems appropriate that the Department of Surgery plan for our amazing future. We are blessed to be part of such a forward-thinking University, which recently moved up to the No. 1 public university in the country as named by The Wall Street Journal in its “2024 Best Colleges in the U.S.” report. 

It is important that we highlight just a few of the many areas in which we are leading as we strive to be committed to excellence. I will focus on just a few areas, even though it must be stated that I am proud of all of our surgeons, staff and residents equally as they are all critical to our mission.

Up until a few years ago, our lung transplant volume was modest. Following the implementation of a team-based approach, our lung transplant volumes have soared to being among the top 10 in the United States. While this increase alone is significant, it occurred alongside some of the lowest mortality rates and shortest wait times on the transplant list in the United States. Our lung transplant surgeons, headed by Dr.’s Tiago Machuca and Mauricio Pipkin, have worked tirelessly to make this happen, occasionally performing as many as three lung transplants in a single day! Patients from all over the world have sought to have their lung transplants here at UF Health. There is no end in sight in terms of the growth and quality of this multidisciplinary group.

Second, our Aortic Disease program, led by Dr. Tomas Martin, has increased our aortic surgical volume to over 600 cases per year. This places us in the top three aortic programs in the United States. From complex endovascular procedures to lifesaving open aortic surgery, and management of patients with rare genetic connective tissue disorders, this team of caregivers is compassionate and provides care to patients with life threatening aortic disease from all over the Southeast. Working across disciplines and departments, we were one of the first groups to deploy a fenestrated aortic arch endograft in the Southeast, a procedure that typically requires the sternum to be split and the patient to undergo cardiopulmonary circulatory arrest.

Third, we have made a significant commitment to address our elective general surgery practices to assure they are also destination programs. We recruited national leaders in both colorectal (Dr. Thomas Read) and endocrine surgery (Dr. Francis Moore, Jr.). Senior leadership in Surgical Oncology (Dr. Steven Hughes), Plastic Surgery (Dr. Bruce Mast), Pediatric Surgery (Dr. Shawn Larson), Vascular Surgery (Dr Thomas Huber), Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery (Dr. Thomas Beaver), and Acute Care Surgery/Trauma (Dr. Alicia Mohr) also continue to provide passionate and cutting edge surgery to our patients.

Finally, we have made a significant investment in our abdominal organ transplantation program. Once again, an entire team of physicians, headed by Dr. Thiago Beduschi, MD, are coming together to provide the best multidisciplinary and multi-departmental care for sick patients with liver and kidney disease. Our commitment to a newly invigorated Abdominal Transplant Center will allow the patient to be the focus of our care teams and will render amazing results.  

With all of the aforementioned excellence in clinical programs, combined with our outstanding educational and top-flight research programs, similar to the University, we are ready to compete for top five status. Expectations for excellence are changing and we are up to the challenge. Please enjoy our new website and send us any suggestions if you have them. My email is We are always looking for ways to improve.

Go Gators!


Gilbert R. Upchurch, Jr., MD

Edward M. Copeland III and Ann & Ira Horowitz Department Chair, Department Of Surgery