Deb German takes the reins on teaching hospital that will ‘develop UCF into top-notch medical school’

The new year is ringing in new projects and new leaders, but one familiar face stands out in the crowd — and for good reason. 

Dr. Deborah German, the University of Central Florida’s first dean of the College of Medicine in Lake Nona, is taking the helm on a project that the college has waited for for nearly a decade: to establish a teaching hospital. And that’s why German is one of Orlando Business Journal’s 2018 game changers.

“Every great medical school has a teaching hospital, and great hospitals are affiliated with top-notch medical schools. If you’re sick and have exhausted all the treatments of your local hospital, where do you go for the next level of care? Many people say Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Cleveland Clinic. All of those are teaching hospitals,” German told Orlando Business Journal.

A hospital to advance teaching and clinical research programs has been a priority since the university opened its medical school in 2009.

German is working with the university’s partners at Hospital Corporation of America in setting the strategy and vision for the new 100-bed teaching hospital adjacent to the 50-acre College of Medicine campus in Lake Nona. The teaching hospital is expected to be completed in 2020.

German will help select the new hospital CEO and serve on the hospital’s governing board, which has equal representation from UCF and HCA. Overall, she will work with HCA to ensure that the hospital keeps its promises to all of its stakeholders and the community.

The new teaching hospital will be a living/learning lab for training medical, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy and social work students in teamwork skills and communication.

Plus, it will help address a serious statewide problem: lack of doctors. The Teaching Hospital Council of Florida and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida forecast that shortage will grow to 7,000 physician specialists in the state by 2025. German has said that UCF started building residency programs a few years ago to address the shortage and now has 255 slots and expects to have more than 560 by 2020 through the partnership with HCA.