UF trustee champions medical education program with $5 million gift

The donation bolsters medical school’s $45 million building project

A member of the University of Florida Board of Trustees and his wife have made a $5 million contribution to help fund the College of Medicine’s new Medical Education Building and to continue raising its stature among America’s best medical schools.

Steven M. Scott, M.D., and his wife, Rebecca, of Boca Raton, pledged their gift this month to support construction of the 94,000-square-foot building, to be located on the UF Academic Health Center campus between the McKnight Brain Institute and the Health Professions/Nursing/Pharmacy Complex.

(From left) Ryan O’Mara, a first-year UF COM student; David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System; Lauren Paige Black, a third-year UF COM student; Xenia Polorotoff, a second-year physician assistant student; Steven M. Scott, M.D.; Rebecca Scott; Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine; Wallace Nozille, a second-year UF COM student; and Brett Bentley, a fourth-year UF COM student pose for a photo during the new medical education building announcement. The Scotts donated $5 million toward the construction of the new building. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

“As demand for well-trained medical professionals grows almost by the day, the need for top-notch educational facilities becomes ever more critical,” said UF President Bernie Machen. “Steve and Rebecca Scott’s generous gift is an enormous step toward ensuring that the University of Florida continues to provide our state with physicians who are ready to give the very best care possible.”

News of the donation and details of plans for the medical school’s building were revealed during a gathering at the site where the new facility will be built. The Scotts’ gift will fuel the college’s $45-milllion building project, which is strategically designed to support a revised medical education curriculum.

“With the University of Florida as the flagship institution of higher education in our state, it only makes sense that we equip the College of Medicine with a state-of-the-art medical education facility,” said Steven Scott, who received his medical degree from Indiana University and serves as chairman of Scott Holdings LLC, an entrepreneurial medical investment company. “The new building will create a dynamic environment that will challenge and inspire the next generation of physicians and biomedical leaders.”

In honor of the Scotts’ contribution, the College of Medicine will name the specially designed atrium in the new building the Steven M. and Rebecca J. Scott Commons.

This architect’s rendering of the George T. Harrell Medical Education Building at the University of Florida, provides a view looking northwest. The College of Medicine’s new education facility will be located on the UF Academic Health Center campus between the McKnight Brain Institute and the Health Professions/Nursing/Pharmacy Complex. (Heery International)

“With this donation, Dr. and Mrs. Scott help the College of Medicine transform how and where UF medical students and physician assistant students learn,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System. “Their generosity will directly impact each student who learns here, and in turn, impact every person who is helped as a result of how they learned.”

Last year, a gift from H. James Free, M.D., a member of the College of Medicine’s first graduating class of 1960, and his wife, Carole, jumpstarted the project, and they requested the new facility be named in honor of George T. Harrell, M.D., the college’s founding dean who passed away in 1999.

“The George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building will provide our students with access to modern learning environments and advanced technologies, while drawing on the ideals of our past that have helped produce outstanding physicians for more than 50 years,” said Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine. “We are extremely grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Scott and value their vision for world-class medical education that prepares our students not just for next year, but for decades to come.”

The College of Medicine launched a significant revision of its medical school curriculum two years ago. The new curriculum is designed to provide a more patient-centered experience that integrates biomedical science with social and behavioral sciences, public health and clinical care throughout the four years of medical school.

(From left) UF College of Medicine students Lauren Paige Black, Xenia Polorotoff and Wallace Nozille converse with Dean Michael L. Good, M.D., and Steven M. Scott, M.D. Photo by Maria Belen Farias

“A more modern curriculum was required to meet the demands of rapidly advancing technologies and the changing health care landscape,” Good said. “Our current learning space, built more than 35 years ago, does not reflect today’s needs.”

The university awarded Charles Perry Partners Inc., of Gainesville, a $30.3 million contract to construct the Harrell Medical Education Building. Heery International is designing the facility, which is slated to open in early 2015.

The new facility will provide the latest in information technology as well as modern teaching laboratories, space for small-group and interdisciplinary team-based learning, and expanded use of simulation, virtual reality and standardized patients for both education and assessment.