Lake Nona’s Medical City played host to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s monthly Cabinet meeting Wednesday as representatives from the Nemours Children’s Hospital, Sanford-Burnham Research Institute, Orlando VA Medical Center and UCF College of Medicine updated state officials on the partnership that is driving the life sciences cluster.
Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the medical school, began her presentation with an aerial view of Medical City in 2007, when it was just 7,000 acres of pastureland. and then compared the greenspace to today, as Medical City emerges as a location of medical education, research and patient care “Collaborative innovation is the word of the day,” Dr. German said. “We all work together here to accomplish our shared vision to be this century’s premiere Medical City.”
Dr. German presented facts and figures on how the UCF College of Medicine is quickly making a name for itself academically, pointing out that members of the charter class performed at or above national averages on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE.) “I just want you to know that you have a team of dedicated faculty, scholars and students who are doing their best in the short time that we’ve had, to emerge as a nationally relevant college of medicine, ” she said. The college’s first students graduate on May 17, and will take their skills into residency programs across the country.
Economic development was top of mind for the governor and Cabinet. Before the Medical City presentation, state officials presented positive economic news for Florida and the Orlando region. Florida’s 7.5 percent unemployment rate is the state’s lowest since October of 2008 and the greater Orlando area’s 6.6 percent rate is better than state and national averages. Education and health services account for the second highest increase in local jobs, behind tourism and hospitality and metro Orlando has reported job growth for the past 34 consecutive months. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said he suggested holding the Cabinet meeting at Medical City “to see what’s making Florida great and what it is to become.”
The Governor’s Cabinet meetings are typically held in the State Capitol Building in Tallahassee, but different locations are chosen periodically to showcase noteworthy sites throughout Florida.
“It was a great honor to see all the great things that are happening here, whether it’s the medical school, Nemours, Sanford-Burnham or the VA,” Governor Scott said after the meeting. “This research is going to help families around the world. I’m focused on making sure this is a great place for Floridians can get great health care.” Nemours CEO Roger Oxendale said he was proud to play host to the Cabinet meeting as a way to showcase what Medical City is doing through public-private partnerships. “It’s great for Nemours and it’s great for Medical City to be recognized on a state level,” he said. “We’re looking forward to providing families across Florida with even more world class specialty care, often found nowhere else in our state.”
Such partnership was also mentioned in the topic of nursing, as the Cabinet recognized seven UCF student nurses and UCF Associate Dean of Nursing Dr. Linda Hennig as part of National Nurses Week. As part of a proclamation event, Barbara Meeks, chief nursing executive for Nemours, applauded the hospital’s partnership with UCF, which is “providing very highly trained nurses who will care for all Floridians for generations.”