The Villages®, UF Health enter into exclusive talks to transform regional health care

The Villages®, UF Health enter into exclusive talks to transform regional health care

For more information, please contact: Rossana Passaniti, or 352-273-8569.

THE VILLAGES, Fla. — The Villages® and University of Florida Health announced their intent today to develop a comprehensive health care campus that will offer a full portfolio of education, research, and advanced health care and wellness services for The Villages® community, including construction of a new general acute care hospital.

The Villages® seeks to become America’s “healthiest hometown,” and the broad vision will include a variety of UF Health medical practices as well as teaching and research alliances with various UF colleges, such as Dentistry, Health and Human Performance, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, along with associated centers and institutes. UF/IFAS extension programming focused on food and nutrition also will be a highlight.

The Villages® and UF Health officials have signed a letter of intent to continue exclusive talks as they work to build a new model for health care in the region. They will meet regularly to more specifically define the relationship over the next several months.

“This alliance is a game-changer as we work together to expand high-quality, compassionate, affordable health care that offers the best possible outcomes,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “Collectively we share big, bold plans that will bring the advantages of an academic health center across all its missions to the area.The Villages®, UF Health enter into exclusive talks to transform regional health care

Residents will benefit from topnotch doctors and other health experts while having increased access to the latest medical advances and clinical trials when they need them.

“This expansion also provides UF Health with long-needed additional clinical locations to support the training of the next generation of students, medical residents and fellows who will care for residents of Florida, now the third-most-populated state in the nation.”

Eventually, the health campus may also include residential facilities for faculty, graduate trainees and health students as well as space for innovative research that develops products and services for older adults.

Officials say they aim to forge a national model for expanding life expectancy through a healthy, active, continuous learning approach to living. Plans will integrate the educational, research and clinical resources of Florida’s leading university with the unique resources of the largest older adult community in the country.

“We are delighted to be working with the University of Florida to develop a one-of-a-kind medical campus featuring a new state-of-the-art UF Health Hospital strategically located here in The Villages,®” said Mark Morse, CEO of The Villages®.

UF, the No. 7-ranked public university by U.S. News & World Report, has a comprehensive land-grant mission and a tradition of comprehensive excellence and is seeking to grow access to its exceptional health care services. The public-private collaboration also will further economic development in the state of Florida.

“We at UF are dedicated to serving all the residents of our state, and strengthening our relationship with The Villages® offers an amazing opportunity to extend and expand this vital mission in one of Florida’s best-known communities,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “We look forward to joining The Villages® in exploring new and exceptional services across the broad spectrum of healthy living — from health care to wellness to health education and research — creating a model not just for other communities in Florida, but across the entire nation.”

The move complements an existing affiliation agreement the UF Health Shands hospital system has with Central Florida Health and its two hospitals — Leesburg Regional Medical Center and The Villages® Regional Hospital — which has emphasized the development of leading-edge patient care programs and access to clinical studies for residents of Lake, Sumter and Marion counties. The focus of that relationship has included laying the groundwork for the creation of primary care physician training opportunities to meet the increasing demand for primary care physicians as the region’s population quickly grows.

UF Health physicians work with Central Florida Health to provide comprehensive stroke care and telestroke services to their patients when needed, offering timely access to the latest technology and the most advanced treatments available, and providing around-the-clock access to consults with a vascular neurologist regarding treatment plans and decisions related to administration of the clot-busting drug tPA for patients who remain in the local area. UF Health also provides educational opportunities, including continuing medical education about the latest in stroke care.

“We’re pleased that Central Florida Health, which owns and operates The Villages hospital as well as the Leesburg hospital, is actively working with University of Florida as part of this exciting commitment to health care excellence,” Morse said.

About The Villages®

The Villages® is the world’s premier master planned, active adult community. The Morse family founded The Villages® over 40 years ago dedicated to the vision of creating a warm, vibrant, secure and friendly community where retirement dreams come true. Located in sunny Central Florida, The Villages® comprises quaint neighborhoods or villages where everything from recreation, entertainment, shopping and dining are just a golf car ride away. Over 125,000 residents from all over the country have adopted “America’s Friendliest Hometown” as their home. They enjoy amenities unmatched by any other active adult community, including over 3,000 resident special interest clubs, 693 holes of golf, 197 pickleball courts and 15 softball fields with over 600 teams, as well as a vast array of other recreational opportunities. Whether it’s sports, learning something new or volunteering and giving back, Villagers have endless opportunities to make the most of life.

About UF Health

With main campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville, UF Health includes six health colleges, nine research institutes and centers, eight hospitals, including two teaching hospitals and five specialty hospitals, and a host of physician medical practices and outpatient services throughout North Central and Northeast Florida. Its mission is to promote health through outstanding and high-quality patient care, innovative and rigorous education in the health professions and biomedical sciences, and high-impact research across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical investigation.


UF Health includes the UF colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, which has both a large animal hospital and a small animal hospital. The system also encompasses several UF research institutes and centers. The full spectrum of patient-care services are provided through UF Health Shands Hospital and UF Health Jacksonville, UF’s private, not-for-profit affiliates. UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville includes UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. Three additional specialty hospitals, UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital, UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital and UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, are also in Gainesville. UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North Hospital are the system’s Northeast Florida hospitals. UF Health offers a network of outpatient rehabilitation centers, two home health agencies in Gainesville and Jacksonville, and more than 100 UF physician outpatient practices throughout North Central and Northeast Florida.


About the University of Florida

The University of Florida is a major, public, comprehensive, land-grant, research university. The state’s oldest and most comprehensive university, UF is among the nation’s most academically diverse public universities. UF traces its beginnings to a small seminary in 1853. It opened its doors in Gainesville in 1906 with 102 students. Today, it is one of the most comprehensive and academically diverse universities in the nation, with an enrollment of some 52,000 students annually. UF is home to 16 colleges and more than 170 research centers and institutes and UF offers nearly 300 graduate degree programs. Only five other universities nationwide have as many programs of study on one campus as the University of Florida.


UF has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service. It is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities that belong to the Association of American Universities, the higher-education organization comprising the top 62 public and private institutions in North America.  UF is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities. UF has nearly 5,000 faculty members with distinguished records in teaching, research and service, including 37 Eminent Scholar chairs and 42 faculty elections to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, or the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Awards include a Fields Medal, two Pulitzer Prizes, NASA’s top award for research, and the Smithsonian Institution’s conservation award.

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