Baptist Health, FIU enter into expanded medical partnership

by | Nov 28, 2023

  • Baptist Health and Florida International University announced an expansion to their longstanding partnership on Tuesday to boost medical education and research in South Florida. 
  • As part of the agreement, Baptist Hospital will become a statutory teaching hospital for FIU, broadening the scope of undergraduate and graduate medical education, clinical research, and patient care.
  • The expanded partnership serves to attempt to remedy the projected physician shortage facing the state.

Baptist Health, South Florida’s largest not-for-profit healthcare system, and Florida International University (FIU) announced a partnership to expand medical education and research in South Florida.

During an announcement event on Tuesday, the two entities stated that Baptist Hospital will serve as a statutory teaching hospital for 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.”

FIU and Baptist Health have maintained a partnership for more than a decade, including the facilitation of clinical training and a medical residency program at Baptist Health West Kendall Baptist Hospital, with tenured hospital staff serving as instructors at FIU’s medical school.

“Today we are planting the seed,” said Dr. Juan C. Cendan, Dean of FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. “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.”

Per both participants of the collaboration, the expanded partnership serves to address a physician shortage in the United States. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034.

According to data presented to the Florida House Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee this month, 20 percent of Florida’s physicians, amounting to 65,000 healthcare professionals, are aged 60 or above and are likely to retire within the next five to ten years. Supplementary data aggregated by the Association of American Medical Colleges also showed that Florida ranks sixth among all states in terms of the highest percentage of physicians over 60 years of age.

Per the Physicians Survey conducted by the state, physicians aged 50 to 59 comprise the largest group of Florida practitioners, at 25.2 percent, with an average overall age of 53. Moreover, 4.7 percent, or 2,512 registered physicians in Florida reported that they plan to move out of the state within the next five years.

“While we’ve seen a 33.8 percent increase [in physicians] since 2012 through the current year, the average increase during this period is just three percent,” Florida Department of Health Division of Public Health Statistics Director Emma Spencer told the subcommittee. “For reference, Florida’s overall population has increased by 15 percent during that same time period.”

Moreover, Florida ranks 31st in the nation for the number of available primary care physicians per 100,000 people, with 88.5 physicians compared to the national average of 94.4.


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