A UCF College of Medicine senior has received a national award from the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society, which promotes professional growth and leadership for women orthopaedic surgeons.

Fourth-year student Casey deDeugd received a Medical Student Achievement Award and will be honored at the society’s annual meeting March 11-12 in New Orleans. The award, given this year to six female medical students across the county, honors achievements in academics, research, leadership, mentoring, athletics and community service.

DeDeugd has received numerous honors during her four years at the College of Medicine. She is a charter member of the college’s Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, the National Honor Society for medical students.  A second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, she participates in the Health Professions Scholarship Program, which provides scholarship help to students who spend time with the military while in school and apply for a military service residency upon graduation. As part of her military training, deDeugd spent five weeks in officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL and graduated in the top 10 percent of her class.

During an orthopedics rotation, she worked at the Center for the Intrepid at San Antonio Military Medical Center, a research and treatment facility for war veterans with limb amputations. And she helped organize this year’s student “Joining Forces” event that brought together veterans and V.A. healthcare providers to discuss the physical and emotional health issues vets face when they return from military service.

She is also active with the College of Medicine’s “Adopt a Senior” program, which pairs medical students with senior citizens receiving services from the Osceola Council on Aging. Most of the seniors are confined to their homes with little access to transportation and are at risk for in-home accidents due to age and deteriorating health.

“Your accomplishments thus far are very impressive!” wrote Gloria Gogola, M.D. chair of the society’s scientific committee, in notifying deDeugd of her award. “We look forward…to welcoming you to our field of orthopaedic surgery.”

Ruth Jackson was America’s first female orthopaedic surgeon and deDeugd said the pioneer’s story is an inspiration to her. “I have always loved problem-solving, fixing things and understanding how stuff works,” she said. “These tenets are at the heart of my interest in orthopaedics. I am particularly excited to receive this award from the RJOS before graduating from UCF because I attribute much of my success over the past four years to being at a school that put students first and values hard work, leadership and enthusiasm. I knew that UCF was the right choice for me four years ago, and I have been reminded of that with each milestone and every accomplishment.”

DeDeugd is the second student in the class of 2014 to receive a national award for academic excellence.

In November, Avianne Bunnell, a UCF College of Medicine senior, won the national Annual Starr Poster Contest for Medical Students and Residents, which is named for Dr. Nina Starr Braunwald, a pioneer in the field of heart surgery who led the surgical team that was the first to implant a prosthetic heart valve, which she also designed. Bunnell was honored for her research into better detections for abdominal compartment syndrome, a condition where increased pressure in the abdomen causes reduced blood flow, organ failure and death. She hopes to enter residency training as a vascular surgeon.

DeDeugd and Bunnell will both graduate in May 2014 as part of the College of Medicine’s second commencement.

CONTACT: Wendy Spirduso Sarubbi, Director of Communications, UCF College of Medicine, 407-266-1418 (office), 407-409-2404 (cell) or wendy.sarubbi@ucf.edu