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UCF's College of Medicine has recently seen an increase in applications.

The college received more than 4,900 applications for the fall 2016 cycle, an increase from the 4,300 applications received for the tuition-free fall 2009 cycle.

From day one, the College of Medicine has strived to become the premier 21st century college of medicine — a national leader in education, research and patient care, according to the annual review.

The College of Medicine leads in interactive learning and is one of four medical schools in the nation that embraces an integrated curriculum and interactive environment, according to the 2014-2015 medical admissions booklet. The other medical schools are University of California, Irvine, Stanford University and Brown University.

UCF is home to the only medical school in the nation that is the center of its own medical city. The Medical City is a public-private partnership of research and patient care that is a part of a 7,000-acre master-planned community in Lake Nona. The campus and partners include the Burnett Biomedical Sciences Building, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nemours Children's Hospital and the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

When a study in 2003 concluded that the region was short on physicians and needed greater access to health care, UCF trustees began the establishment of a medical education program.

By October 2005, a private development company donated $12.5 million and 50 acres of land to UCF to help establish a medical school.

The Florida Board of Governors voted to approve the proposal for a medical school in 2006, and the medical campus at Lake Nona was underway.

The College of Medicine broke ground in 2007, with the charter class enrolling in fall 2009. The first class of 40 enrolled students helped make UCF the first medical school in U.S. history to provide full scholarships to an entire class.

UCF won the preliminary accreditation for the medical school in 2008, and in February 2013 — a few months before the charter class graduated — the College of Medicine earned full accreditation. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which accredits all medical schools in the United States and Canada, awarded the medical school its accreditation following a rigorous, independent review of the educational program.

Jake Sambursky, a recent graduate of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, decided to stay at UCF to continue his medical education in the fall for the intriguing opportunity to start a tradition, rather than follow an established one.

The Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences was created as a precursor to the medical school in an overall mission to build a nationally recognized biomedical research and education enterprise.

With a record number of Burnett students who graduated this spring — 273 undergraduate and 13 graduate students — a rise in applications was expected, according to an article written by Wendy Sarubbi for the College of Medicine.

"I found excitement in the fact that my decisions will be paving the way for future medical students," Sambursky said. "I see the potential for the UCF College of Medicine to become a premier and model program for medical education and care with the growth of the 'Medical City' in Lake Nona, and its new partnerships in the Central Florida community."

Alexia Bossan, a sophomore biomedical sciences major, said with the growth and development of the College of Medicine and Medical City, time and recognition will lead to more interest in the program, specifically the matches into residency programs seen in the class of 2014, which will result in more applicants.

The Medical City has stuck a positive note with the surrounding medical practices, including Dr. Patrick Mokris, a dentist at Kissimmee Family Dentistry.

The community outreach and collaboration to promote understanding and address health care disparities is a trait Mokris is confident will prepare the next generation of physicians.

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Megan Turner is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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