After a nearly 31-year career serving our department in numerous capacities ranging from helping to manage the Critical Care Medicine division and their fellows to assisting faculty, Poppy Meehan officially retired at the end of February.
Poppy began her career at the University of Florida in 1990 as an assistant to Betty Grundy, MD, the Chief of Anesthesiology at the Malcom Randall Veterans Administration Medical Center. After Dr. Grundy’s retirement in 1994, Poppy moved to assisting Jim Gallagher, MD, then Chief of the Division of Critical Care Medicine. In this role, she aided in the division’s growth, planned conferences, served as a key resource, and coordinated the Critical Care Medicine Fellowship program for nearly 20 years.
Poppy later helped to make Emergency Medicine a freestanding department and served that subspecialty for five years before transitioning back to Critical Care Medicine. She also worked with trauma surgery fellows, and she was instrumental in the hiring of several staff members, including Colleen Kearney and Jessica Lee, who both work as an Administrative Support Assistant II.
Over the past decade, Poppy has worked in several key roles supporting anesthesiology operations, including managing the Anesthesiology/Critical Care Clerkship for fourth-year medical students directed by Associate Professor Chris Giordano, MD. Most recently, she worked as an Administrative Support Assistant II on the Faculty Support Solutions team assisting faculty members with a wide range of administrative tasks that are essential for ensuring our department runs smoothly on a daily basis.
Poppy served our department through four chairs, beginning with the final month under Jerome H. Modell, MD. She then worked under Nikolaus Gravenstein, MD, now the Jerome H. Modell, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Professor of Neurosurgery and Periodontology; Kayser Enneking, MD, currently a Professor of Anesthesiology and Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation; and Professor and current Chair, Tim Morey, MD.
Poppy’s ties to the anesthesiology family are deep and lasting: She first worked with Dr. Morey when he was a resident under Dr. Grundy and even attended Dr. Morey’s wedding.
For Poppy, who brought infectious enthusiasm, positivity, and an enduring sense of commitment, the most memorable part of her career was playing an integral part on a strong team with aligned goals.
“It was a joy to be part of furthering the education of our residents and fellows while watching them grow,” she said. “Critical Care Medicine really became a family, in and out of work.”
The opportunity to serve faculty members including Dr. Gravenstein and Associate Professor Al Robinson, MD, provided Poppy with the opportunity to end her long career on a high note by coming full circle.
“It has been very important to me to clear your paths of distractions so you can take care of the most vulnerable among us,” she wrote in a farewell email to the department. “It really has been an honor.”
In retirement, Poppy hopes to travel frequently, something she has always done. Her husband has a sailboat captain license, and they have their sights set on the U.S. Virgin Islands and other far-flung destinations. She will also spend time caring for her family and making jewelry, a longtime hobby.
We are enormously grateful for all of Poppy’s many lasting contributions to our department. Please join us in wishing her the very best in retirement!