University of South Florida


USF alumna blends medicine, adventure and global service in her work at USF Health

By Sandra Roa, University Communications and Marketing

Dr. Asa Oxner is a two-time graduate of USF. She first received her bachelor’s degree in 2007 from the Judy Genshaft Honors College, where she majored in biomedical sciences, and her medical degree from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine in 2011. As a young student, Oxner was inspired by the Indiana Jones adventure movies and wanted to be an archaeologist. However, her father persuaded her to try a science class first. She excelled in the coursework and decided to instead pursue a medical degree. But Oxner never let go of her love for adventure.

“I really believe it’s heart and mind. I went into medicine to help vulnerable patients,” she said. “But I also like to understand the ecosystem and culture of something and not just write prescriptions. I think that’s why I like homeless medicine and addiction medicine because there are cultural aspects that are part of taking care of that patient.”

Helping vulnerable patients is a priority for Oxner. She is a faculty advisor for the Tampa Bay Street Medicine Project, a student-run service that offers medical care to homeless individuals and to those living below the poverty line. She has also built a reputation for being at the center of crisis relief locally and globally. From the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico to Botswana and South Africa, Oxner has extended her services as a medical educator, primary care doctor and volunteer organizer.

Aside from being an alumna, faculty member, doctor and vice chair for the USF Health Department of Internal Medicine, Oxner is also researcher. In partnership with the University of Miami, she is conducting a five-year study funded by National Institutes of Health to learn the best way of delivering HIV and substance abuse treatment to patients who are homeless and dealing with drug addiction.

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