He’s raised two children who are international judo champions, helped NASCAR pit crews get stronger and faster, and has taught senior citizens how to get fit using strategies popular with professional athletes. Now, Jeff Stout is bringing his passion for sports education to UCF’s new College of Health Professions and Sciences (CHPS).

Stout has been named interim dean of the college and took over on Aug. 8 when José Fernández stepped down. Stout will lead the college until a founding dean is appointed. Stout also is the founding director of the new School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy, which is housed in CHPS. The college is one of two new units created under an university-wide reorganization, which began July 2.

As a faculty member, Stout’s research focus is how exercise and nutrition impact the body and he has participated in a variety of sports his whole life. At 45, he won the U.S. Open in Judo’s masters division. His children – Jeff, 18, and Nicole, 21, have earned medals for judo in national and international competitions. Jeff Jr. is spending the summer in Argentina preparing to compete in the Pan American championships.

Stout said he was “surprised, humbled and honored” to be selected as the interim dean of CHPS and talked about his new leadership role.

What are your first priorities as interim dean?

“Creating a sense of unity. It will be important to recognize that we are more than just the sum of our parts. My focus will be to create opportunities for all CHPS members to be part of something bigger, to create an environment that allows everyone to feel a sense of community and a sense of belonging. Even creating a sense of ownership, through shared governance and teamwork, will be crucial in fostering open collaborations among our faculty, staff and students.”

How will the new Academic Health Sciences Center (AHSC) improve health education and patient care?

“The 21st-century healthcare environment demands innovation and integration that is best achieved by a team of highly trained professionals. CHPS, aligned with the AHSC, provides the ideal environment for students to learn by working together with co-curricular activities focused on quality-of-life for the patient, the patient’s caregiver, family and community. The blending of the medical and applied health sciences missions will entice student applicants as they look to institutions that truly produce an Interprofessional Education (IPE) environment. While many universities tout similar educational opportunities, together we will create powerful IPE scenarios that are focused on patient safety and quality outcomes. We can create simulations — that currently do not exist — that will train and evaluate clinical skills of interprofessional students.”

What’s your dream for the new Academic Health Sciences Center?

“The center will be the worldwide destination for preeminent healthcare. The College of Health Professions and Sciences will contribute to the center’s success by promoting, preserving and enriching the health and wellness of diverse populations, through innovative and collaborative education, research, service and patient care.”