Dr. Robert Zlotecki and Dr. Eric Brooks Honored at UF Spring Faculty Assemby

Robert A. Zlotecki, MD, PhD Physician Department of Radiation Oncology University of FloridaRobert A. Zlotecki, MD, PhD, UF Radiation Oncology Professor, Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs, and Medical Director, Gainesville, FL, and Eric Brooks, MD, MHS, Clinical Assistant Professor, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute (UFHPTI), Jacksonville, FL, were honored during this year’s spring faculty assembly, which took place April 14, 2023 in the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building. The assembly’s awards recognize the college’s most outstanding, active peers for providing extraordinary service.

Dr. Zlotecki (right) received the Wellness Committee of the Faculty Council Clinical Excellence Award for Leadership in the Advancement of Clinical Innovations. He was recognized for his excellence in patient care and his efforts toward the acquisition, installation, and successful operation of the Elekta Unity at the UF Health Davis Cancer Pavillion, the first 1.5-Tesla MRI-guided linear accelerator in the southeastern U.S.

“The UF Health Cancer Center would not have achieved this distinction without Dr. Zlotecki’s research, acquisition planning, collaborations, and departmental training efforts over the course of seven long years,” said Paul Okunieff, MD, Professor and Chair of the department.

“The greatest challenge in targeting a cancerous tumor or disease site with radiation therapy is the accurate identification of the treatment volume and simultaneous avoidance of normal healthy tissues and organs,” said Dr. Zlotecki. “With the capabilities of MRI-enabled, real-time image guidance, coupled with very rapid, adaptive daily treatment planning optimization, those lofty goals for cure and concurrent patient safety are now being realized, right here at UF Health.

“The ability to track in real time both the tumor and its biologic activity or response to treatment while ensuring healthy tissues and sensitive organs at risk are protected is, frankly, unprecedented,” he continued. “The Unity system is living up to its incredible promise in the areas of preserving both life and the quality of life, while minimizing social and economic impact, not just for our patients, but also for the delivery of oncology service across the UF Health system as a whole. As an oncology care provider for more than 30 years, it was the opportunity of my lifetime to lead what is the most positive and advanced improvement to radiotherapy treatment since the beginning of the twentieth century.”

Dr. Eric BrooksDr. Brooks (right) was recognized with the Rising Star Award as an exceptional early-career clinical faculty member whose actions and activities consistently exemplify excellence, innovation, and enthusiasm for patient care.

“One of the most exciting moments for me this past year was when one of my patients became the 10,000th treated at UFHPTI,” said Dr. Brooks. “I was fortunate to celebrate with her in a momentous ceremony attended by the media, our board of directors, and our amazing staff, all of whom have worked together to make that incredible moment of healing and recognition a reality.

“However, I hope to see more of our patients gain appropriate access to cancer care at UF,” he continued. “To this end I have worked as part of a team that leverages my legal knowledge to help overturn prior authorization barriers for cancer treatment at UFHPTI. The new successful strategies we employed resulted in a record 30.6% increase in patient access to UFHPTI in just 1.5 years.”

Read more about this year’s faculty honors on the Dr. Gator website.


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