Health Science Center
The University of Florida Health Science Center (HSC) celebrated its 50th year in 2006. Its administrative structure is led by the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and includes the colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health & Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine. The HSC is the country’s only academic health center with six health-related colleges located on a single, contiguous campus. The colleges teach the full continuum of higher education from undergraduates to professional students to advanced post-doctoral students, enrolling over 6,000 students each year.
The HSC is also a world leader in interdisciplinary research, generating 52% of UF’s total research awards. Four major health-related research centers and institutes are designed to create synergies and collaborative research opportunities. Research activities at the HSC reflect a depth of purpose by focusing on the translational nature of biomedical research following the continuum from fundamental research to clinical research to patient care.
The Senior Vice President for Health Affairs Office includes several administrative units that provide leadership and support to all HSC colleges, centers and institutes. Among these are Academic and Administrative Affairs, Finance and Planning, HSC Libraries, Information Services & Technology, and the Student Health Care Center.
The HSC includes two primary campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville as well as numerous educational, clinical, and research affiliates across the state.
The HSC is closely affiliated with Shands HealthCare, part of the University of Florida Health System, with eight hospitals including the academic hospitals, Shands at UF with 630 beds in Gainesville, and Shands Jacksonville with 696 beds in Jacksonville. Together with clinical programs and services across all HSC colleges, the UF&Shands partnership is helping to create Florida’s future healthcare workforce.
The Health Science Center Libraries serve the academic, research, and clinical information needs of the six UF health science colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health & Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine. For a complete description of the wide range of resources and services available at the UF Health Science Center, visit the HSC website (health.ufl.edu/education_Resources_Services.shtml).
Particularly notable among the various resources available to PA students is the Harrell Professional Development and Assessment Center (med.ufl.edu/oea/comec/harrell/) which offers mock patient examination rooms and complete videotaping services that allow students to view and critique their own performance in medical communications, history-taking, and physical examinations.
Also available to PA students is the Human Patient Simulator, affectionately known as “STAN,” which was invented at UF through the joint efforts of the College of Engineering and the Department of Anesthesiology. STAN can simulate a wide range of patient responses such as tears, drug reactions, respiratory distress, cardiac failure, and a host of other responses that allow students to perform procedures and tasks that would normally be available only in real-life clinical situations and that provide valuable learning experiences while not endangering the life of real patients. STAN is also available as a pediatric model.
Other facilities utilized for PA education include lecture halls in the Communicore Building (library.health.ufl.edu/about/VirtualTour/locator/locateCom1st.html) which are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to support audio-visual learning aides and computer-based instructional resources. PA students also utilize the medical laboratories of the Health Science Center for such courses as Gross and Radiographic Anatomy, Clinical Procedures, Physical Diagnosis, Hospital Practicum, and Advanced Clinical Practicum. Included in the PA educational budget is a generous allocation for the purchase of human cadavers, to support the teaching philosophy of the School of Physician Assistant Studies which places inestimable value on providing opportunities for students to perform actual dissections on human cadavers instead of simply viewing prosected anatomical models. Proudly, the UF School of Physician Assistant Studies is one of few such programs in the nation that offer this access to human cadavers.