UCF Lake Nona Medical Center CEO

By   – Staff Writer, Orlando Journal
 Updated 

The University of Central Florida’s planned teaching hospital, dubbed Medical Center, now has a CEO.

Central Florida Regional Hospital CEO Wendy Brandon will take on the role Jan. 1. The proposed 100-bed hospital is expected to be completed by 2020.

“Wendy is a seasoned, dynamic leader who has played a pivotal role in our partnership with at Lake Nona, and we are excited to have her lead our newest hospital in the Central Florida region,” HCA Healthcare’s North Florida Division President Michael P. Joyce said in a prepared statement. “Under her leadership, we will advance health care in Lake Nona , improve quality of life for the community and provide education that ignites careers in medicine at UCF Lake Nona Medical Center.”

Brandon has been CEO for HCA Healthcare Inc’s (NYSE: HCA) 221-bed Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford for the past 10 years, with accomplishments including the launch of the hospital’s Level II trauma center and the development of Oviedo Medical Center. She earned a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin and her MBA from Belmont University. She also has leadership roles with several organizations, including the Orlando Economic Partnership Board, CareerSource Central Florida Board, the Sanford Rotary Club and Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce Board.

The center will create 302 high-wage jobs, with salaries ranging from $60,000 to $600,000, and has the potential to retain some Sanford Burnham researchers.

Along with the hospital, UCF plans to add more developments as it moves its colleges of nursing and medicine to the campus. University partner Alter+Care will design and develop a 150,000-square-foot building, which will include 90,000 square feet for the College of Nursing and 60,000 square feet for expansion and future Academic Health Sciences Center use at the campus. Those projects are targeted to open by spring 2022.

In addition, Lake Nona’s daytime population continues to grow with its Medical City life sciences hub and future developments such as New York-based audit giant KPMG LLP’s $430 million, 55-acre training facility being built on Lake Nona Boulevard. The community already boasts more than 11,000 residents, 5,000 employees and more than 11,000 students at its schools.

It will be built in Medical City near Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, a facility UCF is set to take over as La Jolla, Calif.-based Sanford Burnham winds down its Florida operations.

The university received approval in August to take over the 175,000-square-foot Sanford Burnham research facility. The public research university closed on the existing facility Aug. 27, with Sanford Burnham occupying the building until Nov. 30. The university will begin doing research there by March 1.

UCF wants to turn the facility into a cancer research and treatment center with partner organizations such as Knoxville, Tenn.-based Provision Healthcare LLC, and HCA’s Sarah Cannon Research Institute LLC. UCF has projected its plan will result in a $578 million economic output after five years of operations.

“It’s fantastic for a couple of reasons,” UCF President Dale Whittaker previously told Orlando Business Journal. “One is it creates a private investment in the community, it gives us an additional treatment option, which is fairly unique in the community as well as significant clinical research. Sarah Cannon has been involved with almost 75 percent of the cancer research drugs that have been approved recently, so this is a nationally very powerful clinical research organization added to our university-level basic research.”