A Gateway of Medical Care

Apr 07, 2015 at 03:54 pm by Staff

UCF College of Medicine expands physician practice, partners with Florida Hospital, embraces new moniker

Florida Hospital and the University of Central Florida (UCF) Health are sinking deeper roots in Central Florida with a new physician practice located in the heart of Lake Nona.

Opened March 16, the new facility is located at the entrance of Lake Nona Medical City in the Gateway Building that UCF shares with Florida Hospital.

UCF Health is sharing the location with Florida Hospital as the two independent healthcare entities collaborate for optimal patient care. The combined practices feature primary care physicians, specialists, imaging and laboratory services, and physical therapy.

"We're expanding our multispecialty practice to serve more people across our community," said Deborah German, MD, UCF vice president for medical affairs and dean of the medical school. "We're excited to bring needed outpatient care to our Lake Nona neighbors."

All UCF Health physicians are UCF College of Medicine faculty members. The initial doctors at the new location include internal medicine specialist Anteneh Addisu, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist with a molecular science doctorate, and Shazia Bég, MD, board-certified in internal medicine and rheumatology. Bég specializes in diseases of the joints, muscles and bones, including arthritis and lupus. The medical school anticipates adding dermatology and additional specialties soon.

UCF Health's first location opened in 2011 at University and Quadrangle Boulevards, just two blocks from the primary UCF campus in Lake Nona. The University Boulevard location includes faculty physicians who are board certified in primary and specialty care, including internal and family medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, rheumatology, geriatrics, sports medicine and nephrology. Both UCF Health facilities care for patients ages 16 and up and accept most insurance plans.

The name change - from UCF Pegasus Health to UCF Health - is designed to bring increased clarity to the public eye as the medical school advances alliances across Central Florida and the state in medical education, research and patient care.

The name, German pointed out, is consistent with other state university health practices, such as UF (University of Florida) Health, USF (University of South Florida) Health and FIU (Florida International University) Health.

"We wanted a name that would be relevant to people across our community," she said. "UCF Health says it all."

The name change is fitting because the UCF College of Medicine became reality after local business, political, medical and community leaders lobbied for a medical school in Orlando. The community partnership raised nearly $7 million to provide full scholarships to the medical school's charter class.

Now, UCF College of Medicine has more than 2,000 volunteer and affiliated faculty throughout Central Florida who teach, mentor and provide clinical experiences for students. Upper class students receive clerkship training in 11 hospital and clinical locations in Orlando, and as far away as St. Augustine and St. Petersburg.

The medical school, said German, is striving to create more university residency programs with area hospitals, including its first residency in internal medicine in partnership with the Orlando VA Medical Center and OB/GYN through Osceola Regional Medical Center. The internal medicine residency begins its second year this summer and is designed to bring more primary care physicians to the Central Florida community.

With the name change, UCF Health will also include the college's Regional Extension Center (REC), which has assisted nearly 3,000 community physicians in the selection, implementation and meaningful use of electronic health records. That conversion has helped local physicians earn nearly $40 million in federal incentives. The REC recently signed an agreement to train all of Florida's 67 county health departments on the use of electronic records to improve patient care and increase safety.

"Healthcare is a team sport," German said. "That's how we teach our students and how we want to provide care. We're partnering with providers across our community to improve the well-being of all. Because as UCF teachers, scientists and clinicians at America's Partnership University™, we know we're healthier when we work together."

Since it opened nearly four years ago, the medical school's first clinic has placed a strong emphasis on teamwork. Primary care physicians collaborate with their specialist colleagues on complex cases. Patients with multiple medical issues may see all of their doctors under one roof, including cardiac, kidney and diabetes specialists. The clinic offers educational programs such as therapeutic yoga for arthritis patients, caregiver support for seniors, and seminars on topics ranging from stress management to super foods.

"Our goal is to provide seamless care to our patients," said Maria Cannarozzi, MD, board-certified in internal medicine and medical director of the practice. "We teach together and practice together. We show the same teamwork to our patients that we show in how we train UCF medical students - our community's healthcare leaders of tomorrow."

UCF Health's second location, the Gateway Building, was built by Tavistock, the developers of Lake Nona Medical City. UCF is leasing a portion of the building along with Florida Hospital, which is providing medical care and imaging at the same location. The two providers have worked together to develop a clinic that features one-stop shopping for primary and specialty care and makes it seamless for patients to see physicians from both locations.

UCF Health has a new website featuring both practices: