Steven Cuffe, M.D., the newly hired chair of the University of Florida Department of Psychiatry, will serve as a catalyst for change by bringing more than 20 years of psychiatry experience to the Jacksonville campus.
Cuffe, who joined UF April 1, said deciding whether to accept the position was easy to make. "The people I met during the interview process were really great and I was very impressed with the leaders. That [leadership] appealed to me the most," said Cuffe, who has spent the majority of his professional career working in child and adolescent psychiatry.
"This is a very exciting time for me because I am starting a new department that will be beneficial to the University of Florida, Shands Jacksonville and the greater Jacksonville area," said Cuffe, adding that "Jacksonville is an underserved area in child psychiatry and has great need for psychiatric services."
Robert Nuss, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville regional campus and associate vice president for health affairs said goals include building a department that will address the clinical needs of campus, grow the education programs, develop research activities and support the University of Florida at Shands role in the areas of psychiatric care. Nuss also said that Cuffe’s initial efforts will be directed toward recruiting faculty and staff, addressing clinical issues and re-instituting the medical student rotations.
"The significance of his appointment will be that our psychiatry department will be a full-fledged department on the Jacksonville regional campus and a member of the Jacksonville group practice. Dr. Cuffe’s vision and energy will allow him to build a strong academic faculty over time and provide the infrastructure to consider a residency in psychiatry," said Nuss.
Cuffe received his medical degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University. He completed both his general psychiatry residency and his child psychiatry fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.
He has served as principal and co-principal investigator on multiple research projects that exceed $2 million in public and private funding sources. Research topics include Epidemiology of ADHD in Young Children; Exploring Diabetes and Depression in Youth; and Epidemiology of Adolescent Depression. His contributions appear in more than 40 medical publications and book chapters. Much of his work can be found in scholarly publications such as the Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry and Journal of Child and Family Studies. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Journal of Attention Disorders.
Cuffe has held a number of prestigious positions within the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, dating back to 1997. He was the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Department of Mental Health professor of clinical neuropsychiatry and behavioral science, and director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Cuffe was also a consultant for the William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility and the Tri-County Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Orangeburg, S.C.
His other leadership roles at the national level include being a delegate from South Carolina to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Assembly of Regional Organizations in 1996. He also served as chair for the AACAP assembly from October 2003 to October 2005.
He was a member of the Executive Committee for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Steering Committee and the Written Examination Committee. Cuffe has served as a senior examiner for the Adult Psychiatry Part 2 Board Certification since 1999, and has been a senior examiner with Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Oral Certification since 2003.
Cuffe is president-elect for the Society of Professors of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from May 2006 through May 2008. Most recently, he has been asked to sit on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Psychiatry. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, AACAP and American College of Psychiatrists.
Cuffe is highly regarded in the mental health field, having received numerous awards and honors for his academic research. He is the recipient of the AACAP Elaine Schlosser Lewis Award for research on attention deficit disorder. He was awarded the South Carolina Department of Mental Health Director’s Annual Award for Excellence for the most significant contributions to the Division of Education, Training and Research.
His short-term goals for the psychiatry department include hiring new faculty psychiatrists to address the needs of the medical center and creating an infrastructure for the department. His long-term goals consist of developing a research agenda, gradually adding medical services, reinstating the undergraduate medical education experience in Jacksonville for College of Medicine students, expanding the teaching mission and establishing a residency program.
He is confident that his professional experience coupled with the superior faculty and staff already in place at UF and Shands Jacksonville will allow him to build a strong and vibrant academic psychiatry department.