By Jonesa Rodriguez - June 14, 2022
Every year, Moffitt Cancer Center’s faculty members are recognized for their outstanding achievements during the annual Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Ceremony. Several awards are given to those who continue to break barriers at Moffitt, allowing the cancer center to provide the latest advancements to its patients.
The top award, the Charles C. Williams Jr. Physician of the Year, is given to a member of the medical staff who goes above and beyond for their patients and truly embodies the finest qualities of a physician.
Team members within the cancer center vote on the nominees, and the previous physician of the year winners make the final selection.
This year’s recipient is Dr. Mokenge Malafa, a physician-scientist who has been a member of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Department for 20 years. He specializes in minimally invasive robotic surgery for gastrointestinal cancers. Malafa also conducts research investigating novel approaches to prevent pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
"I always want to deliver the best care to my patients. Whether it’s in the clinic or the operating room, I want them to know I am here for them, even after their appointment"- Dr. Mokenge Malafa, department of Gastrointestinal Oncology
He was selected as Physician of the Year by his peers for being an exemplary physician, having a passionate dedication to his patients and demonstrating integrity.
Surrounded by his family and colleagues, Malafa says he was shocked and thrilled to have won such an honorable award.
“It is a tremendous honor to be so recognized. This institution is full of amazing physicians that I am fortunate enough to call my friends. Any of them deserve this title, so being recognized was very humbling,” said Malafa.
Helping his patients has always been Malafa’s passion.
“I always want to deliver the best care to my patients. Whether it’s in the clinic or the operating room, I want them to know I am here for them, even after their appointment,” he said.
Malafa says he has learned many lessons from his patients over the past two decades, but the most important one is the incredible value of human life. Seeing patients being courageous has inspired him throughout his career.
The physician-scientist credits his success to the people around him, stating he is just one man but has an army of people that are behind him to make things run smoothly, and for that, he is incredibly thankful.
Malafa’s advice to those wanting to follow a similar path is simple.
“Never forget why you became a physician in the first place. It is easier said than done, but we must try to ease human suffering and do our best to not harm.”