Baptist Health and FIU join forces to elevate care, address doctor shortage and boost medical research in South Florida

Historic signing, from left: Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Juan C. Cendan, FIU President Kenneth A. Jessell, Baptist Health President and CEO Bo Boulenger

Baptist Health, South Florida’s largest not-for-profit healthcare system, and Florida International University, South Florida’s public research university, today announced a collaboration that will expand physician training, research, and patient care for the benefit of the South Florida community.

Under the new enhanced affiliation with FIU, Baptist Hospital is on track to become a statutory teaching hospital with expanded undergraduate and graduate medical education programs, clinical research, and patient care.

“This enhanced clinical and academic collaboration between Baptist Health and FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine will be transformative in reshaping healthcare in the region,” said Baptist Health President and CEO Bo Boulenger. “The designation as a statutory teaching hospital will launch Baptist Hospital into a pivotal role to attract the most highly specialized physicians to our Institutes, where they lead disease-curing research and clinical innovation to advance medical care in our community.”

Teaching hospitals offer world-class care by attracting groundbreaking physicians and scientists who also are interested in teaching the next generation of doctors.

“There is a great deal of excitement around this collaboration because it elevates the work both FIU and Baptist are doing,” said FIU President Kenneth A. Jessell. “We are creating a rich ecosystem that will result in some of the best health care in the nation.”

This alliance builds on years of collaboration between Baptist Health and the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. The two organizations have worked together for more than a decade to offer clinical rotations to medical students and an accredited medical residency program at Baptist Health West Kendall Baptist Hospital. Some of Baptist Health’s top experts serve as medical school faculty, including department chairs in surgery, orthopedics, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, and radiology. With the support of Baptist Health, the College of Medicine provides free primary care and behavioral health services to underserved communities in South Miami and West Kendall as part of FIU’s Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program.

“In 20 years, we will look back at this day as the beginning of something extraordinary,” said Dr. Juan C. Cendan, Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Health Affairs. “Today we are planting the seed. In time, we will train more and more doctors and our researchers will develop better drugs and treatments. And we will measure our impact in the number of lives we touch.”

“This collaboration is a testament to our shared commitment to pioneering healthcare solutions, creating a culture of continuous learning and innovation, and providing compassionate, highest-quality care for our community,” said Dr. Jack Ziffer, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Baptist Health.

America is facing a critical physician shortage. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates a “shortage of between 38,700 and 124,000 physicians by 2034.” The Baptist Health-FIU academic and clinical alliance will directly address this by enhancing the training of future doctors (medical students) from the community and developing training programs (residencies) that encourage new doctors to practice in the community. Collaborations between Baptist Health and FIU academic physicians and researchers will also help drive medical research and breakthroughs critical to treating patients and saving lives.

Videos and images related to today’s announcement are available for download here.

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