By Dan Leveton
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dr. Linda R. Edwards will serve as dean of the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville for a one-year term, effective immediately.
Edwards assumes the role in the wake of the sudden passing of Dr. Leon L. Haley Jr., who was also CEO of UF Health Jacksonville. She is the first woman to hold the position since the college was established in 1985. A national search to fill the role indefinitely will be launched next year.
“This has been an extremely difficult and challenging time,” said Dr. David R. Nelson, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “The loss of Dr. Haley has deeply impacted all of us. But in knowing Dr. Haley, and his commitment to the future of UF Health, we are taking steps to ensure his vision of excellence continues in the work we do moving forward.”
Edwards has been with the College of Medicine since 1985 and her contributions and accomplishments have made a significant impact on the organization, Nelson said. She is currently the senior associate dean for educational affairs, associate chair of the department of medicine, chief of the division of internal medicine and the medical director for the program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Dr. Edwards has spent her entire medical career at UF Health Jacksonville. After graduating from medical school at East Carolina University in 1981, she moved to Jacksonville to complete her internal medicine residency, serving as chief medical resident from 1984-85. She then joined the faculty of the department of medicine, and was appointed as the chief of the division of internal medicine in 1998. In 2013, she took over her position with educational affairs and has led the residency and fellowships programs ever since, seeing tremendous growth in both. She served on the UF Health Jacksonville Board of Directors from 2014 to 2020.
“Dr. Edwards shared Dr. Haley’s tremendous passion for education and research, which is why her stepping in as dean is a natural fit,” Nelson said. “Her stewardship of the College of Medicine has led the program to unprecedented new heights, and her partnership with Dr. Haley in developing a regional medical school in Jacksonville and collaboration on his vision for the organization will help as we heal and move forward.”