UCF, Nemours Children’s Health partner to address pediatrician shortage

The University of Central Florida and Nemours Children’s Hospital jointly announced a significant partnership on Wednesday to train future pediatric doctors. The partnership will address a projected shortage of physicians across Florida by 2035.

Since UCF’s College of Medicine was established in 2007, medical students have gained invaluable hands-on experience at Nemours Children’s Health, progressing from students to residents and pediatricians on the hospital floor.

Martha McGill, President of the Central Florida Region for Nemours Children’s Health, highlighted the contributions of UCF graduates within the hospital.

"Of course, we have thousands of employees, but in every single department, we have UCF grads, and they really shine above many, and I’m very excited to celebrate this with our many graduates," McGill said.

The new partnership between UCF and Nemours Children’s Health Department of Pediatrics aims to establish a pipeline from classroom education to practical pediatric care. Due to its expanding population, Florida is facing a growing need for pediatric care, particularly among children.

Dr. Deborah German, Founding Dean of the UCF College of Medicine, emphasized the urgency of expanding pediatric care in Florida to meet the state's growing population.

"Florida is bursting at the seams with kids. So we need to grow our pediatric care to match the population, and this is one step in that direction," she said.

Among the ongoing collaborative efforts between UCF medical students and Nemours Children’s Health is a mobile clinic project initiated during the pandemic. Like a Sprinter van, the mobile clinic provides essential services such as vaccinations and wellness checks to low-income and underinsured children once a month.

Laura Chilcutt, Director of Medical Social Impact at Nemours Children’s Health, explained the purpose of the mobile clinic.

"They are eager to get into the community and training to be future physicians, so the design we created was a learning model," Chilcutt explained.

This partnership exemplifies a broader commitment to community healthcare beyond hospital walls, aiming to inspire, recruit, and train the next generation of pediatric doctors to address Florida’s evolving healthcare needs.