The University of Central Florida built the College of Medicine thanks to outstanding partnerships throughout our community. Partnerships will again be important as we develop a university teaching hospital in the Lake Nona Medical City.

The UCF teaching hospital will be critically important to the community, researchers and students.

Located next door to the UCF medical school, this facility will be the focal point for the College of Medicine’s three areas of focus — education, research and patient care. It will allow us to take research from the laboratory to the patient bedside while teaching future doctors in a hospital setting.

Nationally, most successful medical schools have university teaching hospitals, or wish they did. For our community, a teaching hospital represents our opportunity to establish a superior foundation for medicine that will benefit our community for decades.

Much of our region’s population growth is projected to be in and near the Medical City. The VA Medical Center and Nemours Children’s Hospital will provide health care for veterans and children. But without a teaching hospital, Medical City will be missing health care services for non-veteran adults.

The teaching hospital will complement what our local partners are doing. The hospital is not projected to be open for five to 10 years, and initially will add no more than 100 beds to our community.

Those beds represent just a fraction of the 5,000-plus hospital beds now available in Central Florida. A need for more hospital beds exists right now, and certainly will when the teaching hospital opens.

At UCF, we consider ourselves America’s leading partnership university. As we develop plans for the teaching hospital, we will work with our local hospital partners. In fact, we are doing so already.

I often hear UCF President John Hitt say that in Central Florida “the impossible becomes the inevitable.” What that means to me is that by dreaming big, working together and striving for the common good, we can make a difference in our community.

The College of Medicine and Medical City are creating jobs, spurring economic development and are national models for public-private partnerships. A university teaching hospital will serve students, researchers and patients, providing health care and economic opportunities to us all.

Deborah German is dean of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs.

Appeared in the Op-Ed Section of the Orlando Sentinel on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012.