Institute for Science and Health Policy

Published: March 5th, 1998

Category: Memos

David R. Challoner, M.D. Vice President and Chairman, Shands HealthCare Board of Directorss

The dramatic progress of science in the 20th Century has created mind-boggling opportunities for the 21st – provided we can, as a state and a nation, understand how best to nourish and capitalize on the enterprise.

For all of the extraordinary growth and success, this young Health Center and its parent University lack a premier pro am dedicated to understanding these issues-among them how to invest in the science enterprise in Florida to capture the biotechnology revolution.

I have contemplated this need in relation to my personal aspirations and professional timetable. Effective September 1, 1998, I will direct my energy toward the development of an Institute for Science and Health Policy at the University of Florida. The Institute will help Florida garner its fair share of the economic bonanza forecasted for the biomedical sciences and participate in the national and international science policy conversations.

During my 16 years as Vice President for Health Affairs, I have been privileged to lead the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health sciences center. In that time, we have applied the collective energies and resources of the Health Science Center to elevate teaching, research, and patient care. The outcomes have be gratifying:
–sponsored research has soared to over $100 million;
–Shands has been transformed into an integrated health care delivery system with annual operations of $1 billion;
–the Brain Institute ranks among just one of the $375 million in new facilities built to support the University and the Health Science Center in the provision of service and scholarship for the citizens of Florida;
— a stellar team of academics and administrators has been assembled to lead our six colleges and Shands HealthCare into the new century.

The robust condition of the Health Science Center makes it possible for me to turn my attention to the pursuit of health policy as a vocation as opposed to an avocation sandwiched between responsibilities as chief executive officer of this $1.3 billion enterprise. The move capitalizes on knowledge and expertise cultivated through years of service on behalf of national policy groups such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies of Science, and the National Research Council.

Science is important to Florida’s economic growth and the Institute of Science and Health Policy will enhance our state’s ability to build its stature in both arenas. I am pleased to spearhead this initiative and further contribute to the University of Florida’s growing reputation as an academic powerhouse.

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