UF and Shands HealthCare announce new strategic plan

UF Health Science Center Aerial (Photo by Sarah Kiewel/University of Florida)

The University of Florida Health Science Center and Shands HealthCare unveiled a $580 million, five-year vision for the future Thursday that emphasizes close collaboration to ensure highest-quality, safest patient care, renewed engagement with the community and expansion of the research and educational missions.

The plan, titled “Forward Together” can be found in it's entirety here. It outlines shared values — excellence, trust, accountability, innovation, teamwork, integrity and diversity — and a series of one- and five-year goals. It grew out of a nine-month process spearheaded by a 25-member cabinet of university and hospital leaders who met monthly.

“Patient safety and quality care are paramount in everything we do,” said Dr. David S. Guzick, senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System. “All our decisions will be based on the overriding principle of what is best for the patient, and this principle will guide our research, teaching and clinical programs.”

Strategic investments will be made in facilities, information technology, equipment and personnel to help the academic health center achieve consistent and lasting growth across its research, patient care and educational missions. But UF and Shands will not go it alone.

“As part of our commitment to providing outstanding patient care, we seek to work closely with the community we serve and to engage area residents, community leaders and local agencies in our efforts to enhance access to health-care services,” said Tim Goldfarb, CEO of Shands HealthCare.

Advances include the following initiatives:

•Implementation of the EPIC electronic medical record across the system to manage patient information.

•Opening of the Shands Cancer Hospital last November along with a new and expanded emergency room and trauma center means space at Shands at UF can be used to create the Shands Hospital for Children and Women, with its own lobby, emergency department and inpatient and outpatient units. Similarly, ground-floor entries and inpatient space in the core of Shands at UF will likely be reconfigured to address the distinct needs of neuromedicine and cardiovascular services. Consideration would still be given to creating the children’s hospital in a new tower depending on financial feasibility, including the ability of philanthropy to bring in the necessary dollars, which would be substantial.

•Primary care offices will be located at several sites throughout the community, close to where our patients live, with special attention to new ambulatory facilities for patients who reside in East Gainesville. The UF Family Practice at Southwest Fourth Avenue, for example, will be relocated in the coming months a little further east and north of its current location.

•Specialty offices, meanwhile, will be co-located at designated specialty campuses. These would include those currently on the Health Science Center campus, the specialty practices adjacent to the orthopaedics facility on Southwest 34th Street, and expansion on the northwest Health Park Campus.

Health-care leaders also will seek to strengthen ties with the community, analyzing factors that impact the health of populations, strengthening research methods for studying the health of individuals and of populations, and working more closely than ever with area residents.

“UF and Shands plan to form a Community Advisory Council with broad representation that will help us continue to meet the health-care needs of area citizens,” Goldfarb said.

UF and Shands also will seek to enhance existing affiliations with the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, deemed critically important to efforts to develop the next generation of clinician-scientists and implement models of interdisciplinary education to prepare the next generation of health-care providers. Together they will form an Academic Partnership Council in conjunction with VA leadership.

Guzick said the plan also encourages and supports diversity across the academic health center. In-depth assessments will be conducted that will ultimately lead to a Summit on Diversity, after which additional goals will be established and specific programs developed to achieve them.

“In everything we do across our core missions, we will simply be more effective if our faculty, students, residents and staff reflect the gender, racial and cultural diversity of the populations we serve,” he said.

Strategic goals for the Jacksonville campus and other sites in the health system are still being refined and will be available soon.

“We want to optimize the state’s return on investment in the Health Science Center,” Guzick said.

“In turn, we want to become a national model for education in the health science professions.”

New educational space will be needed. Renovation has begun of the Communicore Building to improve the learning environment. Longer term, a new education building for the Health Science Center designed and funded through philanthropy will emphasize small-group learning rooms as well as contemporary information, media and simulation technology.

In research, a key goal will be to achieve 10 top-10 research programs in specific fields, while generating broad-based, consistent and durable growth of National Institutes of Health and sponsored research funding across the entire portfolio of fundamental, translational and clinical research. Guzick said they will seek to recruit faculty investigators who are at the very top of their fields and build new research facilities in both laboratory research and in clinical and translational research.

UF has already made considerable investment to create the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which will provide the new academic home for clinical and translational research, integrating and synergizing the scientific and educational activities of multiple UF colleges, two regional health-care systems (Shands and the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center), and the 67 counties of the state of Florida. One major goal of this collaboration will be to create new opportunities for clinical scientists and the citizens of Florida to participate in advancing patient-oriented research and to create the facilities necessary to support that.

Of the $580 million projected cost of the plan, about $230 million will be spent on new research, clinical and education facilities, $200 million on new research programs, $110 million on enhancement of clinical services and their quality, and $40 million on enhanced education programs. Sources of revenue include transfers from the clinical enterprise, philanthropy, royalty streams, grant income and UF support.

These represent new dollars flowing into the Gainesville community that will have “multiplier” ripple effects throughout the local and regional economy.

“This is a significant investment, but it will have significant impact,” Guzick said.

About the Author

Melanie Fridl Ross's picture

Melanie Fridl Ross

Chief Communications Officer/ UFHealth, the University of Florida’s Academic Health Center

Chief communications officer for UF Health. She also serves as senior producer and managing editor for the public radio program Health in a Heartbeat, overseeing operations for the nationally aired...Read More