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Medical City slated to benefit research

Innovation Center to open at Lake Nona

Contributing Writer

Published: Sunday, November 3, 2013

Updated: Sunday, November 3, 2013 17:11

Medical City

Courtesy Tavistock Group

Pictured: A digital mock-up of the Florida Blue Innovation Center by developer the Tavistock Group.

UCF’s reach for medical research stands to expand in 2015 with the addition of a Florida Blue Innovation Center at Lake Nona Medical City.

Medical students at UCF will be able to combine knowledge and entrepreneurship within the new Medical City through research, which could also boost student’s chances of getting accepted to medical schools.

Of the 92,000 square feet to be constructed, 16 percent will be a business incubator run by UCF in conjunction with the University of Florida.

“There’s just not enough research in Orlando, so this would be huge benefit,” Christa Zino, a UCF medical student, said.

Zino, who currently does research at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, also said that research experience is becoming a basic admittance requirement for medical school.

Ralph Michel, a UCF medical student, said some local health care employers, such as Celebration Health, require research experience of its potential employees.

Thad Seymour, the president of the of the Lake Nona Institute, an organization devoted to the sustainability of Lake Nona, said that Lake Nona Medical City will become a center of gravity for innovation with its combination of the Florida Blue Innovation Center together with the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and the University of Florida Research and Academic Center.

The primary tenant of the Innovation Center will be the Collaborative Imagination Center, run by Florida Blue, a Jacksonville-based health care company, according to a press release by the Tavistock Group, the developer of Lake Nona’s Medical City.

Pat Geraghty, the CEO of Florida Blue, described his company’s involvement in the Florida Blue Innovation Center as “the embodiment of the future of health care, and we look forward to utilizing the facility in ways to bring true innovative thought to life that will positively impact health.”

Wendy Sarubbi, the director of communication for the UCF College of Medicine, called the Center “a place where people looking to partner up with an institution can go to solve health care problems.”

Sarubbi said the goal of the Innovation Center is to “bring together brilliant minds” as a place for researchers to have synergy with investors.

Plans are still being finalized as far as having UCF staff at the center, Sarubbi said.

The Florida Blue Innovation Center will be part an important part of Lake Nona’s Medical City, which is projected to have an regional economic impact of $7.6 billion, according to a 2008 Arduin, Laffer and Moore Econometrics study.

According to a press release from the Tavistock Group, groundbreaking will happen sometime in the first half of next year, and the Florida Blue Innovation Center is expected to open in 2015.

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