Study: How Can States Treat a Sick Economy? Call the Doctors

A new study announced today shows that the University of Central Florida (UCF) has the right prescription for an ailing economy - a medical school and growing medical city.

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Our goal is to build this century's best medical school

Orlando, Fla. (Vocus) December 19, 2008

A new study announced today shows that the University of Central Florida (UCF) has the right prescription for an ailing economy - a medical school and growing medical city.

As state governments around the country struggle with budget cuts and Wall Street investment losses, the new UCF College of Medicine in Orlando, Fla., is helping create more than 30,000 jobs and an economic impact of $7.6 billion over 10 years.

In another finding critical to cash-strapped local and state governments, the study predicts that the medical school could help generate nearly half a billion dollars in additional tax revenues for Florida by 2017.

The study, conducted by Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics, demonstrates the wisdom of state investment in the life-sciences cluster - Florida could earn more than $13 for every dollar it invests in the development.

"The study's findings clearly illustrate the positive impact the medical school and medical city are having on Central Florida and the state, particularly considering the current economy," said Donna Arduin, who conducted the study.

The innovative life-sciences cluster growing in Orlando is one of only two such high tech, high-wage developments in the world. Joining UCF in the medical city are the California-based Burnham Institute for Medical Research , a Veteran's Administration hospital; Nemours Children's Hospital; and, M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Institute.

Only Orlando and Dubai are creating medical cities on such a scale. More than $1 billion has already been invested in construction projects alone at the Orlando site, with commitments for another $1 billion. The Tavistock Group , a private investment company that owns Lake Nona, saw the opportunity early by donating 50 acres of land and $12.5 million to UCF for construction of the medical school.

"This development is a powerful demonstration of city, county and state governments partnering with an entrepreneurial public university for the public good," said UCF President John Hitt. "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."

In a letter about the study's findings, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist expressed his "enthusiasm for the recent success of the program and the strategic vision you are implementing to expand that success.

"It is my desire that all Floridians have access to quality healthcare," said Crist. "The university has made excellent use of assets available to you in the Orlando area - not the least of which being the world-class Lake Nona Medical City project."

The medical city partners are creating a unique collaboration that promises to make Orlando a world-known destination for medical care and research.

"History has shown that successful biotech hubs have at their core a medical school, which drives scientific exchange and the pursuit of knowledge," said John Reed, M.D., president and CEO of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. "The presence of the UCF medical school was an extremely important factor in our decision to locate our East Coast campus at Lake Nona."

The UCF College of Medicine will welcome its charter class of 40 students on Aug. 3, 2009, and eventually will produce about 120 medical graduates a year. UCF received more than 4,300 applications for the 40 positions in the first class.

UCF is offering a one-of-a-kind scholarship program to its charter class. Each student accepted will receive a $40,000 scholarship for tuition, living expenses and fees for each of the four years of the medical degree program.

The scholarships were completely funded by nearly $7 million in community donations from across the Orlando area. Although UCF is a new medical school, it has already made history - the Association of American Medical Colleges says UCF will be the first medical school ever to provide full scholarships for four years to an entire class.

The four-year medical program will capitalize on UCF's existing strengths in biomedical sciences, modeling and simulation, and optics and photonics. Other programs in materials science, psychology, hospitality, chemistry, film and digital media, and nursing will support the program.

"Our goal is to build this century's best medical school," said Dr. Deborah German, M.D., dean of the UCF College of Medicine. "Together with our faculty, researchers and partners, UCF will set the standard for medical education and improve health care in Central Florida."

Contact: Grant J. Heston, UCF News and Information, (407) 823-5988.

Note to media: Copies of the study summary, and the complete report, are available by contacting Grant J. Heston.

UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 6th largest in the nation with more than 50,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.

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