Ten years ago, the UCF College of Medicine was created to train new doctors, advance medical research and improve the health and economic well-being of Central Florida.

Today, the next phase of that mission begins to takes shape.

UCF is seeking a partner to build a university-based teaching hospital in the heart of Lake Nona’s Medical City. The proposal will be open to local, state and national health care institutions.

“We have talked for years about when would be the right time to build a university-based teaching hospital. That time is now,” said UCF President John C. Hitt. “A UCF teaching hospital is needed to fulfill our commitment to Central Florida – and to all of the citizens of this state – to build a healthier community, train more doctors, and power economic growth through research.”

The new teaching hospital would be located adjacent to the College of Medicine on property already owned by UCF. The university will not seek new state funds for this project.

“Our invitation will look for a partner to bring most, if not all, of the funds needed to build a hospital,” said UCF Board Chairman Marcos Marchena. “This invitation is open to all and we look forward to combining our academic and research expertise with a hospital-focused partner.”

On Aug. 5, the UCF Board of Trustees approved having UCF Academic Health, a direct support organization to the university, pursue finding a partner to build a university-based teaching hospital and obtain a certificate of need from the State of Florida.

Established in 2006, the UCF College of Medicine was created with an explicit economic development purpose, as well as its teaching and research mission. University leaders believe a new teaching hospital will be a great investment for the region and beyond.

“Without a university-based teaching hospital, the research mission and the economic impact promised to our community cannot be fully realized,” said Dr. Deborah German, founding dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs. “This will help Central Florida become a national, then global, health care destination that will benefit all of our partners and our community.”

David Silbersweig, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Medical School, recently wrote in The Washington Post about the benefits of teaching hospitals: “They are major life science and biotechnology incubators/attractors (sought-after ‘external innovation’ partners of choice and recruitment pipelines for the pharmaceutical and biotech industries), economic engines, large-scale job creators, and talent magnets for the cities, regions and states in which they reside. They are the place where the next generation of physicians and other clinicians are trained. This is particularly relevant in light of the aging population and the large predicted physician shortage by the year 2025. They are the birthplace of many latest scientific and technological discoveries, and their translation into improved care with near-term and long-term impact.”

Said German: “In the United States and around the world, the best health systems have an academic component at their heart and the best medical schools have teaching hospitals.”