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First Academic Health Dept. in Florida to be established BY MAYDEL SANTANA-BRAVO

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By consolidating administrative offices at FIU, the Miami-Dade County Health The Miami-Dade County Health Department is expected to save the state at Department and Florida International least $8 million over the next 25 years. University will establish the first Academic The building, estimated to be 90,000 Health Department in Florida. square feet, comes with an authorized The Miami-Dade County Health budget of up to $32.5 million. The project Department is planning to consolidate its is included within the 2010-11 budget administrative and propassed by the Florida gram offices at FIU’s Legislature. Pending The planned facility will Modesto A. Maidique the governor’s increase joint teaching, Campus, bringing part of approval, the building its workforce to southwill be financed research, and clinical west Miami-Dade and through a bond and training opportunities for forming a partnership that repaid through will strengthen the educaDepartment of Health FIU students, faculty and tional experience of stulease payments. health professionals in dents pursuing health The health departcareers. ment component of the the health department. An Academic Health new complex will comThe move also will Department is an organplement a previously ized partnership between funded $23.3 million expand opportunities schools of public health, Stempel College of for both institutions to medicine, nursing and Public Health and allied health sciences with Social Work academic collaborate in attracting public health departfacility and a new $10 grants that can help ments. These partnerships million Ambulatory create dynamic academicCare Center funded by improve healthcare practice collaborations, a grant from Miamiin the region. which effectively pool the Dade County. The clinassets of all institutions ic and academic facility involved. are in the planning and design stages. The administrative and program offices The planned facility will increase joint of the Miami-Dade County Health teaching, research, and clinical training Department currently are housed in eight opportunities for FIU students, faculty and different locations around the county, caus- health professionals in the health departing operational difficulties and inefficien- ment. The move also will expand opportucies, as well as logistical challenges, said nities for both institutions to collaborate in Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Miami- attracting grants that can help improve Dade County Health Department. healthcare in the region. “Through this partnership, we can cut The collaboration between FIU and the costs and become a more efficient depart- Miami-Dade County Health Department ment,” Rivera said. “We also look forward also has the potential to create internship to playing an important role in preparing opportunities through which FIU students students pursuing careers in public health would work with public health experts in a and related professions to meet the 21st clinical and research environment. The Century challenges associated with the facility will include a public health teachhealth needs of our population.” ing clinic with an environmental laboratory The Miami-Dade County Health and a nutrition/ breastfeeding program. Department offices will be located in FIU’s “This is the kind of innovative, mutually Academic Health Sciences Center, which beneficial, strategic partnership that will includes the Herbert Wertheim College of enhance the education of our students with Medicine, the Robert Stempel College of real life experience,” said Fernando Public Health and Social Work, the College Treviño, dean of the Stempel College of of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the Public Health and Social Work. “At the College of Arts and Sciences. The same time, it will improve the local stateAcademic Health Sciences Center is run health facilities and save the state sigexpected to generate 66,000 new jobs and nificant money. It’s a win-win situation.” have an annual economic impact of more For more information about FIU, visit than $8.9 billion by 2025. online at <www.fiu.edu>.

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