A University of Central Florida College of Medicine professor is a finalist for the 19th annual Don Quijote Excellence Award, an honor that recognizes Hispanic Central Floridians who excel in their profession.

Dr. Aileen Caceres, clerkship director and assistant professor at the College of Medicine, is up for the Don Quijote Award that is sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund. The award honors those who have received national recognition and have served as a leader on a national level within their line of work.

In addition to her work at UCF, Caceres also is the medical director at the Center for Hereditary Syndromes and Genetics at Florida Hospital Celebration Health. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health from Boston University, her doctor of medicine degree at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and completed residencies in OB/GYN and pelvic reconstruction at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, respectively. She since has been honored for teaching and humanism by the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“The prestigious Don Quijote Award symbolizes the spirit of strength, courage, conviction and determination, exemplified by the legendary character of Spanish literature,” said Lourdes Mola, board chair of the Hispanic chamber. “For the past 19 years, this award has recognized the best of our region’s Hispanic entrepreneurs and professional leaders who inspire us all to dream big.”

Caceres is one of three finalists for the Excellence Award. The winner, along with the winners of other Don Quijote Award categories, will be announced Dec. 10 during a gala at Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion. Other awards include Hispanic Business of the Year, Professional of the Year, the Hispanic Community Champion Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Past UCF recipients of the Don Quijote award include Humberto Campins, physics professor, who in 2010 won the Professional of the Year category; Linda Chapin, director of the Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies, who in 2008 won the Hispanic Community Champion category; and Jose Fernandez, former dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, who won the Professional of the Year category in 2006.

For more information, visit donquijoteawards.com