Tallahassee, FL - Hospital Corporation of America's North Florida Division and the University of Central Florida College of Medicine today announced a graduate medical education consortium designed to increase the number of residencies and fellowships in Florida. The consortium strengthens the existing partnership between UCF and HCA, will help solve the physician shortage in Florida, and allow more Florida medical school graduates to remain in-state to complete their medical residencies and fellowships. This is HCA North Florida's largest academic partnership to date. The consortium could bring total enrollment to more than 550 residents and fellows and graduate up to 150 residents per year over the next five years.

Currently, Florida ranks as 42 out of the 50 states in the number of residency positions per capita with many of Florida's medical school graduates choosing to complete their training in other states due to the lack of residency positions available in the state. Much like the rest of the United States, Florida is facing a worsening physician shortage. Because most physicians tend to set up practice where they complete residency training, additional residencies and fellowships will bring an increasing number of trained physicians to Florida.

"There are not enough residency slots in the nation for the number of medical school graduates each year," Dr. Deborah German, UCF's Vice President for Medical Affairs and Founding Dean of the College of Medicine, said. "While 97 percent of UCF's medical school graduates find residencies, many qualified students do not, because there are not enough spots. After last year's residency match, more than 600 U.S. medical school seniors were left without residency positions - effectively meaning they could not practice medicine after graduating with their M.D. degrees. This agreement will go a long way to attracting and retaining excellent doctors for Florida."

"As part of the nation's leading hospital network, HCA's North Florida Division brings significant resources and a dedicated commitment to meeting Florida's critical need for physicians by expanding access to medical residency programs," said Michael Joyce, President of HCA's North Florida Division. "We are excited to partner with UCF to provide outstanding training and mentorship that will prepare the next generation of physicians to deliver the highest quality of patient care."

The first step in the new effort will be operating four existing HCA residencies under the consortium and seeking any necessary re-accreditation from the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The agreement will not change any existing HCA or UCF partnerships. UCF currently operates the Osceola Regional residency in a partnership with HCA and the Orlando VA Medical Center.

HCA's North Florida Division is a comprehensive network of 13 hospitals, numerous outpatient surgery centers & imaging facilities, physician practices, medical education and training programs and a complete continuum of specialized health programs and services that meet the healthcare needs of residents and businesses in the North Florida and Central Florida communities. HCA North Florida's 18,000 physicians and employees continue to provide the quality foundation for delivering care to our patients safely, effectively and compassionately. Its hospitals are Joint Commission Accredited, with designations such as Accredited Chest Pain Centers, Primary Stroke Center Certification, Level II Trauma Center in Marion County and Provisional Level II Trauma Centers in Osceola and Seminole Counties.

Established in 2006, the University of Central Florida College of Medicine is one of the first U.S. medical schools in decades to be built from the ground up. As a new medical school, UCF's program epitomizes innovation, high-tech learning tools and a pioneering spirit to educate young doctors and scientists to be health leaders in the 21st century. The college's Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, educates undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D. students while doing cutting-edge research in cancer, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases. The college is a leader in Orlando's growing Medical City, a public-private partnership working to create a global health care destination just minutes from Orlando International Airport.