Med School Startups
UCF’s Dr. Deborah German and FIU’s Dr. John Rock will be only the third and fourth people in the nation to build a med school from scratch in nearly 30 years.
As founding deans of Florida’s two new medical schools, Dr. Deborah German at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and Dr. John Rock at Florida International University in Miami have a lot in common.
Both well-respected administrators, they will be only the third and fourth people in the nation to build a med school from scratch in nearly 30 years. Colleagues describe both as “creators” and “builders.” Both are lobbying the feds on the issue many believe is the real cause of doctor shortages — not a lack of med schools, but a lack of residency programs in Florida. Rock and German speak by telephone a couple of times a month, supporting one another as they prepare their schools for an inaugural class in fall 2009. Their work includes creating curricula, landing accreditation, hiring faculty, raising money and fulfilling the enormous expectations of both the Florida Legislature, which authorized them last year, and the communities of Orlando and Miami.
On that latter point, the similarities end. German must literally build a med school on what’s now a grassy field at Orlando’s Lake Nona. Rock has ready-made facilities at FIU’s Health Sciences complex. The two metro areas also have evolved unique visions for their med schools, and German and Rock are attacking those visions with very different styles.