‘Investing in those who invest in themselves’
UF College of Medicine chief financial officer sets the college and its community up for success
Dec. 2, 2022 — When deciding where to attend college, Tampa native Scott Sumner, M.B.A., only applied to one school: the University of Florida. As a third-generation Floridian, he knew it was the only institution for him. He wanted to be a businessman, he decided. UF was the place that could make that happen.
During his junior year as a student in the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he began working the evening shift in admissions at UF Health Shands Hospital, taking the first step in what would become a decadeslong journey in the world of academic medicine administration.
“I did not find health care, health care found me,” said Sumner, who continued working at the UF College of Medicine upon receiving his undergraduate degree. “I like this environment because you’re surrounded by really smart people who push you to be your best every day. There’s a lot of value in that.”
Now, as chief financial officer of the UF College of Medicine, Sumner leverages his broad knowledge of the clinical, financial and operational aspects of health care systems to strengthen the college’s finance and administration functions. He’s invested in this work in part because of how much the institution has invested in him.
As a young professional, Sumner’s career grew steadily at the College of Medicine. From 1993 to 2003, he learned all facets of administration in health care, covering revenue cycle and billing and accounts receivable, managing practices, managed care contracting, participating in the education of trainees and completing a master’s degree in business administration from UF.
He spent the next 10 years rapidly climbing the ranks of various academic institutions across the country, from Vermont to Texas to Orlando, gaining one-of-a-kind experiences, including helping to launch the University of Central Florida College of Medicine.
Sumner returned to the UF College of Medicine in 2013 as the director of finance and administration for the department of anesthesiology, where he was instrumental in expanding the clinical footprint, supporting faculty and staff development, modernizing the administrative infrastructure and expanding services for faculty, staff and residents.
In November 2021, Sumner took the helm of the Office of Finance and Administration as chief financial officer alongside longtime colleague Tammy Williams, M.H.A., chief of operations and administration. Over the past year, Sumner and Williams have embarked on an effort called ELEVATE to understand how effectively the college’s financial and administrative infrastructure supports the seven pillars of the strategic plan and to assess processes and provide recommendations to align governance, increase operational efficiencies and enhance financial stewardship.
“We expect this effort will identify opportunities to elevate finance and administrative services to more effectively support the growth of the college,” Sumner said. “At the end of the day, I think of my job as figuring out how to provide all the resources the college needs to achieve its missions.”
Though he’s held many titles, Sumner, also a certified executive coach, finds the most joy in helping others hone their professional development and leadership skills. While with the department of anesthesiology, he started an internship program to cultivate those passionate about academic medicine, an interest he has carried over to his role as chief financial officer.
“We educate not only physicians, nurses and pharmacists here but also M.H.A. students, M.B.A. students and M.P.H. students,” he said. “We are building the next generation of health care leaders, and non-clinicians are part of that team. I’d like to see UF Health have a reputation of being an innovator in leadership development for all future health care leaders, physicians or not.”
Outside of the office, Sumner spends time with his husband, Denver — who he met 33 years ago at UF — and exercises the creative part of his brain by hand-stitching leather, woodworking, using his Cricut or working in the yard. This balance helps him bring his A-game to work in support of the College of Medicine community.
“I am willing to invest in anyone who invests in themselves,” Sumner said. “If you meet me halfway, I will do my part to create opportunities for you to learn and grow. It’s an iterative process, and you have to be part of manifesting the outcome.”