USF Health Sciences founder dies from cancer

Dr. Ronald P. Kaufman, the founder of the USF Health and Sciences Center, died two weeks ago from pancreatic cancer. He was 73.

Dr. Kaufman combined the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health to form the USF Health and Sciences Center in 1987 and served as its first vice president until 1994. He also served as the executive director of the USF Physicians Group from 1996-2000.

Those who worked closely with Kaufman describe him as a hardworking individual with a good sense of humor.

“I worked with (Dr. Kaufman) at USF for the last 10 years,” said Brian Smith, executive director of USF Physicians Group. “He was a very proud and thoughtful individual who knew how to challenge himself and others, and his insight and sense of humor will be greatly missed.”

Paul Wallach, associate dean of curriculum and medical education, said he worked with Kaufman since 1987. Kaufman never lost interest in assisting students, he said.

“One of the most notable things was his activities over the last couple of years,” Wallach said. “He had a great passion for the education of our medical students and he never lost sight that we (faculty) are here for our students. He cared very much about his role as a mentor for both faculty and others he worked with.”

Betsy Willard, administrative assistant of the Practice Plan for USF Physicians, also worked with Kaufman. She said she has fond memories of him, too.

“He was a tremendous educator and administrator and he’ll be greatly missed,” Willard said.

Dr. Kaufman is survived by his wife, Beth, and three daughters.

Gifts can be sent to the Ronald P. Kaufman, M.D., Memorial Scholarship Fund in the College of Medicine. Checks should be made payable to the USF Foundation and sent to the HSC Office of Development, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC70 Tampa, FL, 33612.