Laurie Woodard, MD, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine
Described as “a leader by example and action,” Laurie Woodard, MD, inspires the next generation of health professionals to care for vulnerable and underserved members of the community.
During a 30-year career at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Dr. Woodard has taught thousands of trainee physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and public health professionals the art of caring for vulnerable populations through the Public Sector Medicine Program, which she has championed and directed since 1988. In addition, she is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities. She leverages her own expertise in disability health into developing specialized instruction for medical students at all levels, including classroom sessions, small-group learning, clinical interactions, and volunteer opportunities.
“Having both the patient comfortable and the student comfortable AND actually teaching is a rare talent that Dr. Woodard has mastered,” writes one student.
Dr. Woodard encourages learners to investigate barriers for the medically underserved in the Health Disparities Scholarly Concentration, a four-year experiential learning program that she codirects and cofounded in 2006. Student participants gain valuable insights into and affirmation of altruism through volunteer activities, journal clubs, and capstone projects. Through the concentration, Dr. Woodard has inspired and nurtured many student-led initiatives, including USF Health Nicaragua, Tampa Bay Street Medicine, and the BRIDGE Clinic.
“She reminds all comers that it is a privilege to work with patients from every walk of life, and her experiences and teaching highlight the value of the relationship and trust that can be formed between a compassionate physician and a patient,” attests Sarah Dimino, MD, a 2016 graduate of the Health Disparities Scholarly Concentration.
Dr. Woodard regularly volunteers and organizes student service–learning activities at the Judeo-Christian Health Clinic, Special Olympics, and the Bakas Equestrian Center’s “Horseback Riding for the Handicapped.” She is a founding board member of the Alliance for Disability in Health Education, served as chair of the Group on Disabilities (Society of Teachers of Family Medicine), and recently became a board member of the Florida Center for Inclusion.
Dr. Woodard is an honors graduate of Smith College. She received her MD from the University of Vermont and completed her family practice residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. As a faculty member, she was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. In 2011, she received the Morsani College of Medicine’s inaugural Innovative Teaching Award.