Dr. Donald Eitzman is a founding member of the College of Medicine and of the Department of Pediatrics. In 1959, following his training at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, University of Minnesota, and NIH, Don came to Gainesville to join Dick Smith as the first faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. In 1963, he became the director of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Shands Teaching Hospital, the first neonatal ICU in Florida. Although trained as an immunologist, Dr. Eitzman’s contribution to the discipline of Neonatology was in the area of neonatal asphyxia, working with Donald Barron and Sidney Cassin, two other early faculty members at the University of Florida with international acclaim.
In the 1970s, as Chief of Neonatology and working with Dr. Gerald Schiebler, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Dr. James Talbert, Chief of Pediatric Surgery, they tackled the problem of access to care for high-risk and high-cost neonates admitted to the ICU. These efforts led to the development of Florida’s Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Centers (RPICC), a national model that was successful in dramatically decreasing perinatal rapidity and mortality in the state of Florida.
From 1982-1984, with the hiring of Dr. Rick Bucciarelli as the new Division Chief of Neonatology, Dr. Eitzman was able to realize his passion for expanding neonatology into new areas of the world, particularly in China. Upon returning to the University of Florida in 1984, Don shared his passion for international medicine with residents and medical students leading medical mission trips on a yearly basis to Nicaragua and Central America. He continues to be a valued contributor to the educational mission of the Department through his input in morning report and medical student education. The Division of Neonatology celebrates the accomplishments and dedication of Donald V. Eitzman, MD, through an annual sponsored visiting professorship.