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Dr. Juan C. Cendan appointed senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Dr. Juan Cendan

Dr. Juan C. Cendan appointed senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

July 6, 2022 at 3:27pm

Interim Dean and Professor of Surgery Dr. Juan C. Cendan has been appointed senior vice president for health affairs and dean of FIU's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM).

Cendan, 56, joined FIU last summer as vice-dean and executive associate dean for student affairs. He is a board-certified surgeon with a clinical focus on minimally invasive surgery and surgical disorders of the breast. He also has a lengthy career in academic medicine.

“Dr. Cendan is the right leader for this moment in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s history,” said FIU Interim President Kenneth A. Jessell. “He has a unique combination of practice and academic leadership experience coupled with a clear and ambitious vision for our College of Medicine.”

Following his medical training at the University of Florida, Cendan practiced as a general surgeon in Gainesville, Florida. He then returned to UF as faculty, where he developed an academic focus on simulation-based medical education; his undergraduate training in biomedical engineering (Tulane University) was particularly useful allowing him to align the technical specifications to end-user educational needs. Cendan’s scholarly focus in this area garnered national funding, international recognition and numerous publications. Additionally, the intellectual property developed in virtual patient simulation has been patented and commercialized.  

Cendan joined the University of Central Florida College of Medicine as founding faculty in 2010, where he served several institutional roles, including assistant dean for simulation, medical director of the simulation laboratory, and chairman of the department of medical education. As provost chair and associate dean in residence alongside UCF’s provost, he developed the framework for founding the UCF Academic Health Center. A career educator, Cendan has taught across the medical curriculum topics ranging from cardiovascular shock, disorders of the adrenal glands and obesity, to case-based anatomic clinical scenarios.

In 2017, Cendan began a relationship with the web-based publication platform, Cureus, which now serves as an important scholarship outlet utilized by most of Florida’s medical colleges. He has mentored students and residents interested in surgical careers and supervised clinical trainees in a range of venues including international health care and medical student educational exchanges in Mexico, Peru and Ethiopia.

“This is an exciting time for the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, and I am honored and eager to collaborate with our FIU family and our community partners to improve the health care ecosystem in South Florida,” said Cendan.

Since his appointment as interim dean of the HWCOM, Cendan has built on the strong foundational work of Drs. John Rock and Robert Sackstein. He worked with the faculty to revise the HWCOM strategic plan to meet internal college and broad university goals.

Cendan and his leadership team are creating infrastructure that will serve as the platform for clinical practice, education, and research for all FIU Academic Health Center units. He plans to harness strategic opportunities that will benefit both FIU health students and faculty, clinical partners and our community in areas of common strengths and interests such as the disorders of aging, access to health care and optimization of health care delivery and education models.

A native of Cuba who spent his early years in Spain, Cendan said he is looking forward to helping build on HWCOM’s impact and to serve Miami, the city that welcomed him.

“Since he was appointed interim dean of the College of Medicine, Cendan has built on the solid foundational work of his predecessors,” said Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth M. Bejar. “He has worked with the faculty to revise the HWCOM strategic plan and redouble efforts to increase the impact of FIU's clinical capabilities as well as develop clarity in the vision for our collective work across our academic health center programs.” 

Cendan and his wife Dr. Judith Seline Simms-Cendan, a professor of pediatric and adolescent gynecology at the University of Miami, live in Coral Gables. The couple has two adult sons.