The UCF Lake Nona Medical Center opened March 1, bringing full-service, acute care to the growing Lake Nona community in a hospital that will also train the next generation of healthcare providers and support innovative medical research.

Located next to the UCF College of Medicine in Orlando’s Medical City, UCF Lake Nona Medical Center provides 24/7 emergency care, comprehensive inpatient and outpatient hospital services, and is expected to serve more than 17,000 patients in its first year.

The hospital is also the centerpiece of UCF’s new Academic Health Sciences Center, that one day will bring many of the university’s clinical training programs to Lake Nona and create more interprofessional medical education and research.

“Our new academic hospital will provide outstanding medical care to our community as it trains the next generation of healthcare leaders,” says UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright during a virtual ribbon-cutting broadcast on Facebook Live. “This hospital helps create a new UCF Academic Health Sciences Center at Lake Nona, where UCF will train doctors, nurses, social workers, physical therapists and others to meet the medical needs of today. With this new hospital adjacent to the College of Medicine, our healthcare students will train together – and develop communication and teamwork skills to better serve their patients.”

The hospital is a joint venture between UCF and HCA Healthcare’s North Florida Division. HCA is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, with more than 185 hospitals and 2,000+ sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom. HCA invested $175 million to build the hospital, which was created with no state funds. UCF Lake Nona Medical Center stands to create more than 350 jobs, will provide $13.8 million a year in charity and uncompensated care, and will pay an estimated $1.4 million a year in local and state taxes.

It has 64 inpatient beds, a 20-bed emergency department, four operating rooms, a cardiac catheterization lab and six private birthing suites. Designed to meet the needs of the growing community, UCF Lake Nona Medical Center has room to expand to 80 beds and is designed for future growth up to 500 beds. See additional features of the new hospital here.

“The grand opening of UCF Lake Nona Medical Center is the realization of a vision that will impact the community for years to come,” says Wendy H. Brandon, FACHE, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “With the rapid growth in Lake Nona, this community needed a hospital close to home. Our team looks forward to becoming more engaged in the region’s wellness and supporting Lake Nona’s commitment to health and well-being.”

As an academic hospital, UCF Lake Nona Medical Center will have three missions – patient care, medical education and research. The hospital will serve as one of the multiple training sites for UCF medical students. It will also partner with UCF researchers and scientists from across the country to discover tomorrow’s treatments and cures. That partnership will be magnified by UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center, a research and patient care facility opening next door to the hospital.

Such a hospital has always been the dream of the medical school’s founding dean, Deborah German, who is also UCF’s vice president for health affairs.

“We needed a teaching hospital to accomplish our goals to be one of the nation’s premier 21st century medical schools anchoring a Medical City that could one day be a global destination for education, research and patient care,” she said. “Today, we celebrate the next step in creating a healthcare hub in Lake Nona that will increase economic development and improve health for all.”

To learn more, please visit www.ucflakenonamedicalcenter.com. To see more reactions to the hospital’s opening, visit here.