How a history making project will impact Orlando for generations to come.
The Burnham Institute Nemours Childrenâ€™s Hospital The UCF College of Medicine The Veterans Affairs Medical Center Paradise Found: A guide for relocators A Special Publication of:
wenty years from now it’s likely that Orlando will be known not just as the theme park capital of the planet, but as a major hub in the burgeoning business of biotechnology. If that sounds like a booster’s overblown pipedream, read on.The Medical City emerging in the city’s southeast corner is more than a collection of classrooms and hospital buildings. It will be Central Florida’s biggest economic engine since Walt Disney bought all that unwanted swamp land in Kissimmee. The Mouse is about to be joined by the laboratory rat, and that changing of the guard promises to transform Central Florida in ways that will affect virtually everyone who lives here.
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The long-talked about development is no longer a hypothetical. Since last fall Medical City has gone from architects’ renderings to reality. Of the four anchor projects – the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Nemours Children’s Hospital – the Burnham building received its certificate of occupancy in April and the first UCF buiding is on schedule to open this summer. Ground was broken for theV.A. hospital in October and on the Nemours Children’s Hospital in February. While these four are the anchors of the 600-acre site, like the initial tenants in a shopping mall, they’re just the tip of an economic iceberg. The 600 acres is a small part of 7,000 acres
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Orlando’s planned life sciences cluster is no longer a plan. It’s here, and it will profoundly change the region.
University of Central Florida College of Medicine.
being developed by the Tavistock Group through its subsidiary, Lake Nona Property Holdings (LNPH). The four majors will be joined by other life science businesses, commercial and retail spaces and acres of housing in a variety of styles and prices. “As people start to move into the Burnham building and the UCF lab building opens this summer, the hospitals are going to swing into full gear,” said Thad Seymour,Vice President and General Manager of Health and Life Science Investments for Lake Nona. “The mass of construction will be amazing. The hospitals are going to dwarf the work that’s been done so far. “We’ll look back 20 years from now and say, those four anchors were essential, but look what else came behind them. They represent just a fraction of what’s to come.”
Industry analysts say this concentration of brainpower and technology could become a powerful magnet, generating spinoff biotech enterprises and attracting companies hoping to tap into the research being done there. A recent study by the Milken Institute projected that, in its first decade, the Medical City will directly create more than 25,000 jobs and generate $6.4 billion in economic activity in Orlando; a study by Arduin, Laffer & Moore puts the figure at $7.6 billion. Those kinds of numbers sound dizzyingly optimistic and make public policy types swoon, but to put them in context, another Milken study found that in San Diego – the hometown of the Burnham Institute – life sciences directly created 21,000
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jobs with a total impact of $5.8 billion to the area’s economy in 2002. Still, Milken’s Medical City projections are big numbers for a brand-new enterprise. What kind of start-up business could scale up that fast? Well, Orlando has been here before. To put the estimates in another context, a forecast done by Economic Research Associates in 1967 before the opening of Walt Disney World predicted that the new theme park might draw a total of 19 million visitors in its first ten years of operation and that it might generate about $5 billion in economic activity.Those numbers, too, were considered pretty optimistic. They weren’t. In 2007 alone, 48 million people visited Orlando. There are some 65,000 people employed at WDW, 49,000 by Disney itself, making it the largest single-site employer in the country. The impact on Orlando’s economy is estimated at $8 billion per year, WDW’s spending multiplied many times over by the dollars generated by SeaWorld, Universal Studios and the myriad of hotels, restaurants, retailers and service businesses that have grown up to support the parks. Industry observers believe Medical City could have that same kind of out-of-the-ballpark impact. For one thing, 80 percent of the elements Milken assumed in its 10-year forecast are already in place. More important, life sciences will be to the first decades of the 21st century what information technology was to the last decades of the 20th. “Information is important, and always will be. However, in the coming era information will be like electricity: cheap and ubiquitous. For the most part, electronic technology is now a commodity,” said Richard W. Oliver, author of The Biotech Age, a seminal early book on the subject.“It was clear to me when that book was released in 1999 that we were nearing the end of the Information Age and that biotech and biomaterials would be the growth engines that defined the next age. Molecular medicine is beginning to replace ‘cut and sew’ remedies and we’re starting to see a real increase in biotech drug approvals. On the industrial side, some bio manufacturing processes are proving a 100 to 1 reduction in costs over conventional chemical technologies and we’re starting to see the ability to mimic nature, as with food that is immune to traditional parasites or lab-grown
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This aerial view of Medical City taken in February shows the UCF College of Medicine in the foreground and the Burnham Institute in the background. The Burnham building (right) was certified for occupancy in early April.
‘spider silk.’ Genetic modification has changed everything from drug development to agriculture to biodegradable plastic.” So what makes some people think Orlando can become the Silicon Valley of this new age? Chutzpah certainly figures into the calculation. But so do the area’s existing advantages and the uniqueness of the Medical City concept. While there are existing life sciences clusters all over the globe, there is only one other that integrates all of the pieces needed for success on a single campus – and that one is still under construction in Dubai. “I looked at a lot of clusters and the best have four components,” Seymour explained, “research, education, treatment and commerce. If you have only one or two, you have a good little band of buildings, but you don’t have a viable cluster that will be a magnet.” All four of the anchors have research as a major part of their plans.The UCF medical school is the key piece of the education component while the two hospitals offer ample opportunities to get promising therapies directly to patients. Those therapies could spawn biotech start-up companies that will commercialize the discoveries.
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The ability to attract other medical services, researchers and businesses – just as Disney attracted Universal, hotels and bus services – is the key. The compactness of Medical City and the quality of its initial tenants make it very attractive. San Diego, which the Milken Institute rates as the most successful life sciences cluster, has all the elements, but they’re
“You need to have the critical mass and enough breadth in fundamental scientists who are side by side with those who are pushing the envelope in clinical medicine,” said Dr. Daniel Kelly, who is the Scientific Director of Burnham at Lake Nona. The complex issues surrounding molecular medicine mean interdisciplinary teams are needed to solve the problems. Kelly also pointed out that Burnham is building a state-of-the art robotic platform that screens molecules for use in potential new therapies, which will be available to other investigators in the cluster. At the same time, Burnham scientists will be able to use the electron microscope at UCF and the PT scanner at the V.A. hospital. Sharing this expensive gear makes a greater variety of advanced technology available to everyone. All of the principals we spoke with said that this confluence of talent and technology on a single campus can dramatically cut the time needed to get therapies into clinical trial. Great machinery can’t make discoveries by itself; you need world-class talent, too. Kelly and others say that having the four institutions in one place is a big plus for recruiting that talent. Not only do many medical researchers see clinical practice at
TO GET A PROJECT OF THIS SCOPE out OF THE GROUND This quickly IS NOTHING SHORT OF MIRACULOUS. geographically spread over a hundred square miles stretching north from San Diego all the way up the coast to Del Mar. And the university component? San Diego didn’t have a university until the University of California at San Diego opened in 1961 – just two years before the University of Central Florida, now the fifth largest university in the U.S., was founded. New York has a sizable life sciences cluster, but the pieces are scattered from eastern Long Island and up the Hudson River as far as Westchester. Boston, the number two cluster, is a bit more concentrated. But none has a major research university, two hospitals and a major research institution on the same property. This concentration will allow scientists and institutions to cooperate across disciplines in uncommon ways – sharing talent and expensive equipment.
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a hospital as a necessary part of their work, but often scientists come in pairs; a researcher may have a significant other who is a physician or vice versa. Being able to find work for the other partner can make or break a negotiation. The fourth piece of the puzzle – commercialization – is a particular specialty of Tavistock Group, which has a life sciences subsidiary located in San Diego. “Most people don’t know that Tavistock has been an early stage investor in life sciences companies for more than a decade,” Seymour pointed out. While it has no plans to fund any specific project at this time, Lake Nona is building a technology incubator – a lab building where many small start-ups can share facilities at a low cost – directly across the street from Burnham. The ability to go from
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orlando has enough structure to get things done, but not so much that it stifles innovation. lab to clinical tests at the hospitals and on to commercialization in the incubator, all without leaving the campus, will be a big selling point in getting businesses and other research organizations to locate here, Kelly believes. Those organizations are already lining up. The MD Anderson Cancer Research Institute – an affiliate of the world renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center – will occupy 30,000 square feet in the UCF laboratory building and the University of Florida is planning a 100,000 square foot lab adjacent to Burnham. Orlando already has significant concentrations of people and resources in the areas of medical lasers and, through UCF in robotics and simulation. The nation’s seventh largest research park is adjacent to the main UCF campus in east Orlando and is host to the armed services joint command for simulation projects, STRICOM. How these might integrate into the work of Medical City has yet to determined. But Florida’s other high profile, high tech organization, NASA, is already partnering, offering Burnham the use of a life sciences buildings at Kennedy Space Center until its own building was available. The irony – no doubt a satisfying one for Orlando’s civic leaders – is that Central Florida’s first attempt to lure a biomedical research group, The Scripps Institute, was rebuffed for the very reasons that were instrumental in bringing about the partnership with Burnham.
One of Scripps’ concerns was the lack of a significant concentration of life sciences organizations in Orlando. Now it’s that very lack of precedent that has attracted organizations looking for a place where they can be completely innovative, where they can write their own script on a “clean sheet of paper,” as Dan Kelly puts it. “Orlando’s an interesting place for something like this because there’s enough structure here to get things done, but not so much structure that it stifles innovation,” noted Dr. James Rippe, of the Rippe Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at UCF. Rippe, a leading cardiovascular researcher and lifestyle medicine expert, has begun discussions with Lake Nona about its goal to make the Lake Nona community a healthy place to live as well as a productive place to work. “As I talk to people around the country, what surprises them is not that we’ve been able to get Medical City started, but how quickly it’s scaled up,” Seymour observed. If it never spins off a single product, Medical City will create 5,500 jobs and $1.5 billion in construction spending alone. For Seymour and the other Medical City leaders, it’s a great start. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this degree of efficiency in getting a building up,” Kelly said. “I know this is a trademark of the Central Florida region, but now that I’m seeing it first hand, it’s pretty impressive.”
MEDICAL CITY TIMELINE To Orlandoans – even those accustomed to instant suburbs and a constantly changing skyline – Medical City seems to have appeared instantly and out of nowhere. In a way, it has. 1996 Tavistock Group purchases Lake Nona Development 1998 Development begins on NorthLake Park community in Lake Nona 2004 Development begins on VillageWalk, Morningside and Waters Edge communities 2005 Tavistock donates 50 acres and $12 million for UCF College of Medicine 2006 UCF College of Medicine approved by state • Burnham Institute announces it will locate at Lake Nona • University of Florida announces it will locate a research facility with Burnham at Lake Nona 2007 Lake Nona sells its 1,000th residence • V.A. announces it will build a new hospital at Lake Nona • UCF pours foundation for its first building at Lake Nona • Burnham breaks ground on its building • State approves Nemours application to build hospital in Central Florida • MD Anderson Cancer Research Institute announces agreement to rent space from UCF at Lake Nona 2008 Tavistock and Nemours agree to locate Children’s Hospital at Lake Nona • V.A. hospital breaks ground 2009 Nemours breaks ground • Burnham building ready for occupancy 14 S P E C I A L R E P O R T : M E D I C A L C I T Y
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Intellectual property developer.
early everyone talks about Medical City in terms of the four initial anchor tenants. But in reality, there are five: Lake Nona itself has been the key catalyst in making the project a reality. The senior leadership of Lake Nona Property Holdings (LNPH), the subsidiary of the Tavistock Group that owns the land where Medical City is being built, has been involved in creating the project from before its inception. They helped lay the groundwork for what would become Medical City through their work with local planning and development organizations and through their connections with the life sciences industry and sources of capital. The Tavistock Group is a private investment firm with interests in some 170 companies located in 15 countries. Its principal, Joe Lewis, keeps a low profile except when it comes to charity and civic endeavors, and he was named 2006 Central Floridian of the Year for his efforts. The Group’s contributions to the region to date – and they’ve been considerable – will likely pale in retrospect once the full scope of Medical City is realized. “One of the unique things is that there is a Tavistock in the mix here,” said Thad Seymour, Vice President and General Manager for Life Science Investments for LNPH. “If you look at other clusters, they’re either affiliated with a university or they just happen over a long period of time.There isn’t a central glue. We’re the land owner and very interested in accelerating the creation, so that’s one of the keys to moving it along fast.” Fast is an understatement. In addition to bringing four major partners into the development since 2005, the residential side of Lake Nona is springing up quickly as well. Continued expansion of the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club – a perennial list-topper for golf communities – has been matched with the development of NorthLake Park,Waters Edge and VillageWalk, which won the grand award in the 2007 Parade of Homes. The total property is approved for 9,000 residential units, 950,000 square feet of retail, 950,000 square feet of office space and 4.9 million square feet of commercial. Part of that space will be an incubator, built and managed by LNPH. The lab building will give life sciences start-ups a low cost place to develop their products and marketing until they’re viable stand-alone companies.
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Thad Seymour (upper left) manages life sciences investments for Lake Nona and has been deeply involved in bioFlorida, a publicprivate consortium focused on growing the biotech industry in Central Florida. Tavistock director Rasesh Thakkar (upper right) was an early proponent of Medical City and has been instrumental in its development. VillageWalk at Lake Nona (below) is just one of four active communities at Lake Nona.
Lake Nona Property Holdings, LLC • 7,000 acres in southeast Orlando • Master-planned community with 1,189 acres of conservation land and four existing residential communities • Donated $12.5 million and 50 acres of land for the UCF College of Medicine • Will build incubator to encourage life sciences start-ups M A Y
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Burnham Institute Bringing the A-game to Orlando.
hen the Burnham Institute for Medical Research began looking to expand beyond its home in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Orlando wasn’t an obvious choice. Orlando had already courted – and been rejected by – Burnham’s San Diego neighbor, The Scripps Research Institute, which chose a site in Palm Beach County. “The Burnham Institute made a decision to become more nationwide, so that meant an east coast site,” said Dr. Daniel Kelly, Scientific Director for Burnham’s Orlando campus.“New York and New England are both very saturated. A life sciences cluster really has to develop its own persona, so we were looking for a place where we could pioneer from the ground up.” And so, Orlando’s great weakness – that it lacked a thriving life sciences industry cluster – became it’s primary asset as far as Burnham was concerned. “We wanted a place where we could have a clean slate and where there was very significant enthusiasm for this kind of development. Those two things were there along with the potential for other partners including educational and clinical partners. It made it a kind of a no-brainer,” Kelly said. That’s a ringing endorsement from a heavyweight organization. The Burnham Institute was founded in La Jolla in 1976 by Dr. William Fishman and Lillian Fishman, who had retired
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from Tufts University in Boston to pursue cancer research. It now employs some 900 people and has received more than 200 patents, ranking among the top four institutions nationally for grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “The vision that Burnham has relates to a very bold and efficient pathway for the research programs, from discovery to clinical realities,” Kelly said. “Co-locating with the other partners along with having additional capacity and space for industry related to life sciences was important.” Seeing problems, solving problems, creating commercial applications for the solutions. That, according to Kelly, is “the home run” and he believes having a medical school, two hospitals and a commercial incubator right out his front door will make that happen. “I’m confident it will happen in Orlando, but I often get asked when it’s going to happen,” Kelly said. That’s probably an unfair question since the Orlando campus building was just certified for occupancy in April and isn’t due to officially open until this fall. Not that Kelly and his fellow researchers are waiting around. The Institute has had a core group of researchers working in temporary facilities at the headquarters of Florida’s Blood Centers since late 2008. During that time, in September, Burn-
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ham received a six-year, $97.9 million grant from NIH to become one of four national centers for the screening of small molecules that may be useful in creating new drug therapies. About 40 percent of that money will come to the Orlando campus, where Burnham is building a robotic screening platform that Kelly said is “the most efficient system in the world” capable of screening up to 2 million compounds per day. The Orlando researchers have also been looking into a compound derived from a sponge found off the coast of Florida that appears to be very effective against colon and pancreatic cancers. The primary focus of the work in Orlando, however, will be diabetes and obesity and their many complications, especially cardiovascular effects. “We chose this focus in part because it complements the expertise in La Jolla, which is primarily known for its cancer research and for its work in neuroscience and Alzheimer’s,” Kelly explained. “That’s also where my passion lies, and that’s one of the reasons I was recruited here.” Kelly, like other leaders of Medical City institutions, brings an impressive resume to the project. His last post was director of the Center for Cardiovascular Research and Chief of the Cardiovascular Division in the Department of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis – one of the nation’s top medical schools and research universities. The collaborative potential of Medical City was a key reason for Burnham’s decision. “To effectively address diabetes and its cardiovascular complications we need to bring together those who understand diabetes, those who understand metabolic disease and those who understand vascular and heart disease,” Kelly said. “At big universities, these people exist in large numbers, but they tend to be segregated. We want to bring them together as a team. What we’re doing with this research center is innovative, and in terms of its scope, hasn’t been done before.” Getting the rubber – discoveries – to meet the road – commercial application – is something else Kelly cares about. 20 S P E C I A L R E P O R T : M E D I C A L C I T Y
“We’re working diligently with our clinical partners in Orlando to create an easy platform to test our discoveries in humans.” Another initiative, Kelly said, will be in metabolomics. Cellular processes leave chemical fingerprints – metabolites – which are small molecules that can be used to deduce the effects of genes. Metabolic profiling can give an instantaneous snapshot of the physiology of a cell. Burnham’s expertise in identifying small molecules makes this a natural field of investigation. Kelly said that the help Burnham has received from the Orlando community, especially the use of state-of-the-art lab facilities at Florida’s Blood Centers, has helped kick-start its programs, and Burnham is already partnering with area organizations in significant ways. That cooperation goes both ways, too. The MD Anderson Cancer Research InstituteOrlando is working directly with the Burnham lab in La Jolla. “Joining forces is already paying dividends,” said Cheryl Baker, Ph.D., Director of MDACRI-Orlando. The lab in La Jolla recently co-authored a paper with MDACRI that appeared in the Journal Clinical Cancer Research, and Baker said she’s excited about continuing to work together. That’s just the kind of collaborative spark Kelly is counting on.
The Burnham Institute for Medical Research – East Coast Campus • 175,000 square feet in two buildings • Cost: $367 million • Initial construction completed March 2009 • 300 empoyees by 2017 • Designated one of four small molecule screening centers by NIH M A Y
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University of Central Florida Building physicians for the future, not the past.
eborah German set herself a near impossible task: To attract 40 of the best medical students in America to a medical school that did not exist. When the members of the first class take their seats next fall, it’s likely that her competitors, the deans at places like Tufts, USC and Harvard, will have to admit that the dean of the University of Central Florida’s brand-new College of Medicine succeeded. Dr. German, herself a Harvard-trained physician and former Senior Associate Dean at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine, accomplished her goal with a single stroke of bravado: she raised more than $7 million from the community to give each of the initial 40 students a full four-year scholarship. Since the average medical student in America graduates with more than $100,000 in debt, German created a powerful incentive for the best and the brightest to take a chance on this new school. That single act illustrates better than any other why the Medical City can succeed in a crowded field. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, UCF will be the first ever to provide full scholarships to an entire class. “Can you imagine Deb German at a 150-year-old medical school saying, ‘Hey, I have a great idea – let’s give the next class a free ride?’” asked Thad Seymour,Vice President of life sciences for Lake Nona. “It couldn’t have happened in that kind of setting for cultural and economic reasons, but it could happen in a brand-new place.” The Lake Nona group helped make it happen, too, by volunteering to fund the first two of the 40 scholarships. Orlando corporations and private donors stepped up, funding the other 38 slots.
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The move was bold enough to garner national attention when Dr. German and UCF were featured on the NBC Nightly News in March. “Our goal is to build this century’s best medical school. Together with our faculty, researchers and partners, UCF will set the standard for medical education and improve health care in Central Florida,” German said.“A student who is focused not on the dollar, but is focused on the learning, might come out to be a different kind of doctor.” Recruiting high-quality students is essential to that effort. About 10 percent of all 2009 medical school applicants in the U.S. – 4,300 – submitted applications for the 40 scholarships. That’s more applicants per opening than applied to Harvard Medical School this year, flocking to UCF with freshly minted undergraduate degrees from MIT, UCLA, Dartmouth and other topflight universities. “The very first applicant who was accepted had a perfect 4.0 college GPA and perfect MedCat score,” said Dr. John Dr. Deborah German Hitt, President of UCF. Those who are selected will have opportunities available in few other places. Many of the researchers coming to Medical City will have joint appointments at UCF. This means the students will be learning from some of the country’s leading biomedical investigators.They’ll work in labs alongside them on the most advanced equipment, studying the hardest problems in cancer, heart disease, pediatrics and gerontology and creating new therapies that they, as physicians, can use to help patients. Although the medical school is new, UCF is hardly new to medicine. Its Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences is a highly
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THE UCF BUILdings are the faint impression of a much larger footprint to come. respected research and teaching institution whose faculty has made a number of important discoveries. Dr. Henry Daniell made national headlines when he found a way to make a vaccine for anthrax grow in tobacco plants. He later adapted the technique to make insulin in lettuce, and was awarded a $2 million NIH grant to perfect the discovery. More recently, Daniell has grown a vaccine for bubonic plague – a potential bioterrorism agent that wiped out a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century – in his tobacco plants. Meanwhile UCF researcher Dr. James Turkson identified compounds that show significant promise in disrupting the growth of breast cancers.
The university itself has moved up significantly on the national radar as well. UCF is now the fifth largest univeristy in the country. UCF’s strengths in nanoscience, robotics, imaging and computer sciences were cited by several Medical City partners as potential leverage points for their own organizations. The two buildings now going up – the laboratory building and the classrooms – are just the faint impression of a much larger footprint to come. At buildout, UCF programs could occupy up to 2 million square feet of space in Medical City. According to UCF Provost Dr. Terry Hickey, “This will allow programs such as nursing, radiological technology, communicative disorders, health information systems and physical therapy to benefit from close proximity to, and collaborative educational and research initiatives with, the medical college and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.” By then, the College of Medicine is projected to graduate 130 new physicians a year. Harvard Medical School currently graduates about 100 per year. “In a time of declining economic activity around the globe, Central Florida has a proven economic engine in the UCF College of Medicine and Medical City at Lake Nona,” Hitt said. “This development is a powerful demonstration of our city, counties and state partnering with an entrepreneurial public university for the public good. Few things, if any, are as important to our Central Florida economy as the continued support of the medical school.”
The UCF College of Medicine • Phase 1: 370,000 square feet in two buildings on 50 acres • Cost: $113.3 million • Lab building to be completed summer 2009; classrooms opening spring 2010 (Top) Students such as Annete Kahled benefit from working with researchers like Dr. James Turkson (right). Some of the more than 4,000 prospective students who applied for the medical school’s first class (above) toured UCF and Medical City this spring. 24 S P E C I A L R E P O R T : M E D I C A L C I T Y
• 500 employees by 2010 • 2 million square feet at final buildout M A Y
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Nemours Children’s Hospital Taking care of the most vulnerable patients.
nlike his peers at the other anchor institutions, William Winder, administrator of the Nemours Childrens Hospital, had a special affinity for the “other” Orlando when the decision was made to locate its new facility in the Medical City. “Nemours has had a presence in Central Florida since 1997, and in looking around, this is the fastest growing region of the fourth largest state, plus it has an international brand for children and families,” Winder said.“So Central Florida makes a lot sense for a children’s hospital. Add the Medical City, and you really have a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity. “It starts with recruiting the best talent in the world to come here. Any organization doing it alone would have more of a struggle than when you put these pieces together in the same geography and link them through collaboration and technology.” Those factors convinced Nemours, which was founded in 1936 as a hospital for disabled children by the late Alfred I. Dupont, to build its first freestanding hospital outside of Delaware in the Medical City. “Our mission is taking care of the 15 percent of children with significant medical conditions, things like childhood cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and so on,” Winder said. “These children require the coordinated efforts of multiple specialists. I can envision a situation where Nemours works with Burnham to advance and expedite discoveries and quickly get them to the bedside so that children can benefit. Similarly, we’ll work with UCF in training physisicans in the unique needs of taking care of children with complex medical needs.” To do that, Nemours is not just building a hospital. “The campus will include specialty physician practices along with research. It includes teaching programs for medical students, residents, fellows and allied health professionals. It also includes child advocacy and health and prevention services. This is what makes Nemours different from any of the existing health systems and will enhance our impact on children at a national level,” he explained. Nemours will also enhance the work of the other tenants by providing opportunities for their staff to practice and – in what may be a very important piece of the puzzle – was recently accredited by the Association of Human Research Protection
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Programs, joining the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital as the only three accredited freestanding pediatric programs in the nation. Nemours is also a leader in digitizing patient records, which has been identified as a key national healthcare priority. “By the end of this month, our entire organization will be on a single platform from one vendor, which greatly improves the safety and effectiveness of outcomes,”Winder said.
The Medical City campus for Nemours is its first hospital outside of Delaware and will include a clinic, specialty physician offices and research labs.
Nemours Children’s Hospital • Specialized care and research for children with complex health conditions • Broke ground in February 2008 • Planned opening 2012 • Cost: $400 million • 600,000 square feet on 60 acres • 2,600 staff • 95-bed main wing plus pediatric clinic and medical office buildings M A Y
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Veterans Affairs Medical Center Central Florida military vets get state-of-the-art facility.
or years, Orlando has been the largest metro area in the country without a veteran’s hospital. The Orlando V.A. Clinic, located in Baldwin Park on the former site of the Naval Training Center, has been the lone local source of care for the area’s former service members. That’s about to change. From being the least served, Central Florida is about to become among the best served. “There’s quite a long history, dating back to the mid1980s, of a need for a veteran’s medical center in Orlando,” said Timothy Liezert, Director of the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “The decision was made in the early 2000s to locate a new center here, and in 2006 the secretary of the V.A. made a decision – I think for all the right reasons – to locate the center in Medical City. “Many people know about us being in healthcare, but we also have critical missions in education and research. “We have affiliations with 107 of the 125 U.S. medical schools, so it makes sense for us to be across the street from the UCF College of Medicine. In research, the cardiac pacemaker was invented at the Buffalo V.A., and the first successful liver transplant was done at a V.A. hospital as well. So Medical City made a lot of sense.” The new center will be enormous – more than 1 million square feet – will cost more than $650 million to build and, Liezert estimates, another $200 million to furnish and equip. That’s nearly a billion dollars before the doors open. Add to that an annual operating budget that may touch $500 million and the economic impact is clear. More important is what it will mean to area veterans. The center plans to serve up to 400,000 veterans when fully operational. The services will include not only hospital care, but also counseling for homeless veterans and treatment for substance dependancy and other conditions. “The veterans of each war have unique needs,” Liezert pointed out. “The World War II veterans have different needs from Vietnam-era veterans or someone coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan.That’s what makes the V.A. unique. “We’re doing this as a tribute to the veterans,” Liezert asserted.“We’re hoping this will be small token of our dedication and commitment to our veterans.”
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Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center • Broke ground in October 2008 • Planned opening 2012 • Cost: $656 million • 1.2 million square feet on 65 acres • 2,000+ employees • Will serve 400,000 veterans M A Y
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