Nemours Children’s Health, one of the nation’s largest multistate pediatric health systems, and UCF today announced a formalized, expanded partnership aimed at improving the health of children in Central Florida and beyond. Together, they will establish the UCF College of Medicine — Nemours Children’s Health Department of Pediatrics to train the next generation of pediatric physicians. In addition, Nemours Children’s has signed on as UCF’s first Pegasus Partner whose sole focus is pediatric healthcare.

With projections forecasting a shortfall in the number of physicians needed to meet the demand within the state of Florida in the coming years, this expanded partnership aims to help address those potential shortages by drawing from the organizations’ long-standing history of collaboration and accentuating their mutual commitment to advancing medical training, workforce development, innovation, community partnerships and advocacy to ensure the delivery of high-quality health care for children.

The UCF College of Medicine — Nemours Children’s Health Department of Pediatrics is expected to impact all 480 UCF medical students each year and will set a new standard for pediatric academic programs by further leveraging Nemours Children’s preeminence. Expanding upon current joint educational programs, the department will enable new collaborations and support both organizations’ efforts in clinical excellence, research and the recruitment and retention of the next generation of pediatricians.

“Nemours Children’s has been a fabulous partner to the College of Medicine, providing pediatric education to every UCF medical student,” says Deborah German founding dean and UCF vice president for health affairs. “Nemours shares our three missions. They are fully engaged in research, finding new cures and treatments. They provide care across the spectrum of pediatrics. And they are focused on education — of UCF medical students, residents and fellows. We are now expanding a great partnership that has allowed us both to thrive.”

Every UCF medical student receives their pediatric training at Nemours Children’s. Over the years, the pediatric health system has trained more than 1,100 M.D. candidates across a number of clinical departments and pediatric disciplines, including general and orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, pathology and radiology. After graduation, medical school graduates must complete residencies in their specialty of choice and pediatrics has been one of the most popular specialties for UCF students. Nemours Children’s also participates in many of the UCF College of Medicine’s residency and fellowship programs, which are among the fastest growing in the state.

“We have long valued our partnership with UCF, and this newly established department is a natural continuation of our joint efforts,” says Martha McGill, president of the Central Florida Region for Nemours Children’s Health. “Nemours Children’s is one of the nation’s largest pediatric health systems, and together we will be able to provide medical students and trainees with the depth, complexity and variety of experience and skill-building we offer.”

The partnership further emphasizes Nemours Children’s commitment to directly supporting the growth and training of future clinical leaders. Other partnerships for Nemours Children’s include working with the Mayo Clinic and University of Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, to train pediatric residents and fellows representing more than 15 specialties. In Delaware, Nemours Children’s jointly runs a pediatric residency program in collaboration with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.

“This new department underscores the value and importance of partnerships between industry and academic institutions, especially those aligned to a common mission,” says Kanekal Gautham, pediatrician-in-chief for Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida who will serve as the inaugural chair of the department. “Pediatric health care is more complex than it has ever been, so creating a pipeline of skilled, well-trained clinicians is pivotal to meeting the ongoing and evolving care needs of children.”

The UCF Pegasus Partner Program is a comprehensive partnership initiative designed to foster deep, intentional, mutually beneficial relationships between the university and leading industry partners. UCF’s objective is to strategically align in key partnerships where the university and an industry partner can collectively drive talent development, discovery and innovation through collaboration and philanthropy.

Through the Pegasus Partner Program, Nemours Children’s and UCF will work collaboratively to identify opportunities and establish initiatives that leverage their collective medical and academic preeminence toward the overall advancement of pediatric healthcare.

“By further aligning our nationally recognized pediatric expertise with UCF’s prowess in innovation and technology, this expanded partnership builds upon Nemours Children’s commitment to creating the healthiest generations of children,” says R. Lawrence Moss, president and CEO of Nemours Children’s Health. “As we expand our long history of collaborating to address the unique health needs of children, we improve the care given in the multitude of communities we serve, and positively influence children’s quality of life for years to come.”

“We are grateful for Nemours Children’s longstanding partnership with UCF and the impact growing our collaboration will have for children and their families and for our College of Medicine students and faculty,” says UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright. “Together, we are strengthening our community’s health and well-being, investing in the development of new innovative clinical practices and devices, and developing the talent that will serve future generations of Floridians for decades to come.”