Historical Highlights

The UF Health Cancer Center is a nationally recognized cancer center with nearly 380 members, consisting of clinicians and scientists, and hundreds of research assistants, nurses, technicians, and staff in Gainesville and Jacksonville, Fla. Multidisciplinary teams from colleges within UF Health, including the College of Medicine, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Public Health and Health Professions, as well as agriculture and life sciences, work in collaboration to help speed discovery and treatment options for individuals diagnosed with cancer. Center members are world-renowned experts who have participated in the research and development of many of the diagnostic and treatment methods used as standard medical practice today.

Timeline and Medical Firsts

  1. 2013

    UF Health and Orlando Health join programs to form UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, establishing one of the state’s largest, most comprehensive cancer programs.

    UF Health Breast Center receives reaccreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.


    UF Health Shands at Springhill

    University of Florida Shands Cancer Center becomes UF Health Cancer Center.

    UF&Shands at Springhill opens in northwest Gainesville with specialty practices in dermatology and women’s health using multidisciplinary diagnostic imaging.

    University of Florida Department of Radiation Oncology receives American College of Radiology accreditation.

  2. 2012

    The Park Avenue Imaging Center, a diagnostic facility of the UF&Shands Breast Center receives national accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR), becoming the first ACR Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in north central Florida.

    UF&Shands and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare announce affiliation to expand cancer care options for patients in the Big Bend region.

  3. 2011

    The Shands Jacksonville Breast Health Center is the first imaging center in North Florida to offer 3-D digital breast tomography.

  4. 2010

    University of Florida Breast Center at Shands at UF receives accreditation as a National Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer.


    UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital


  5. 2009

    Shands at the University of Florida Cancer Hospital opens (now named UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital).

    Paul Okunieff, M.D. named director of University of Florida Shands Cancer Center and chairman of the UF College of Medicine department of radiation oncology.

  6. 2008

    Shands Jacksonville Advanced Breast Imaging Center is the first in the region to offer 3-D breast ultrasound.


    UF Cancer and Genetics Research Complex


  7. 2006

    University of Florida opens the UF Proton Therapy Institute on the Shands Jacksonville campus, the first proton beam therapy facility in the Southeast.

    The 280,000 square foot UF Cancer & Genetics Research Building opens in Gainesville.Construction of the 200-bed Shands at the University of Florida Cancer Hospital begins in Gainesville.

  8. 2005

    Shands HealthCare and the University of Florida’s Health Science Center join to become UF&Shands.

    Center is founding member of the national consortium, POETIC, aimed at testing new therapies in children with cancer.

  9. 2002

    First in Florida and second in Southeast to participate in a multi-center, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma clinical trial conducted at 25 institutions throughout North America.

    University of Florida surgeons develop a technique that improves the accuracy of sentinel node biopsy.

    Center launches Jacksonville’s first multidisciplinary thoracic oncology program.

    Center selected as first core center for bone marrow transplant research by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Hematopoietic Cell Therapy (FAHCT).

  10. 2001

    UF Shands Cancer Center named to nationwide Association of American Cancer Institutes.

    Southeast’s first to use the CT-Guide for more effective biopsies.

    First in North Florida to offer ductal lavage to breast cancer patients in North Florida.

  11. 2000

    Florida’s first pediatric placenta/umbilical cord blood transplant for sickle-cell anemia is performed.

    The Bone Marrow Transplant Program is the first in Florida to receive national accreditation.

  12. 1999

    UF Shands Cancer Center is established, with the appointment of full-time cancer center director.Florida’s first “mini” bone marrow transplant is performed.

    The Center for Hepatobiliary Disease at Shands at UF is formed.

  13. 1998

    UF, LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and Shands at UF form the Cord Blood Tissue Bank.

  14. 1996

    Florida’s first placenta/umbilical cord blood transplant for leukemia is performed.

  15. 1995

    First gynecologic oncology program in Jacksonville.

    Nation’s third and Southeast’s first placenta/umbilical cord blood bank is established.

  16. 1990

    Southeast’s first pediatric neuro-oncology center opens.

  17. 1988

    One of the nation’s first centers for LINAC radio surgery is established; UF physicians perform Florida’s first radio surgery procedure.

  18. 1987

    Radiation Oncology is established as a separate department under the leadership of Rodney R. Million, M.D.


    Radiation Oncology team with Rodney R. Million, M.D., second from left.

  19. 1986

    First radiation oncology program in Jacksonville.

    University of Florida’s Hope Lodge is built to provide cancer patients a comforting home.

  20. 1983

    Duval County Hospital offers the first cancer program in Florida.

    Florida’s first pediatric bone marrow transplant is performed.

  21. 1981

    Florida’s first Blood and Marrow Transplant Program (one of the largest in the Southeast) is established.

  22. 1976

    The Division of Hematology/Oncology is established.

  23. 1972

    First gynecologic oncology program is established in Jacksonville.

  24. 1960

    First radiation oncology program is established in Jacksonville.

  25. 1948

    Florida’s first cancer center established in Jacksonville at Duval County Hospital.