MIAMI — The Miami-Dade County Health Department and Florida International University will establish the first Academic Health Department in Florida.
The Miami-Dade County Health Department is planning to consolidate its administrative and program offices at FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus, bringing part of its workforce to southwest Miami-Dade and forming a partnership that will strengthen the educational experience of students pursuing health careers.
An Academic Health Department is an organized partnership between schools of public health, medicine, nursing and allied health sciences with public health departments. These partnerships create dynamic academic-practice collaborations, which effectively pool the assets of all institutions involved.
The administrative and program offices of the Miami-Dade County Health Department are currently housed in eight different locations around the county, causing operational difficulties and inefficiencies, as well as logistical challenges, said Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Miami-Dade County Health Department.
“Through this partnership, we can cut costs and become a more efficient department,” Rivera said. “We also look forward to playing an important role in preparing students pursuing careers in public health and related professions to meet the 21st century challenges associated with the health needs of our population.”
The Miami-Dade County Health Department offices will be located in FIU’s Academic Health Sciences Center, which includes the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the College of Arts and Sciences. The Academic Health Sciences Center is expected to generate 66,000 new jobs and have an annual economic impact of more than $8.9 billion by 2025.
By consolidating administrative offices at FIU, the Miami-Dade County Health Department is expected to save the state at least $8 million over the next 25 years. The building, estimated to be 90,000 square feet, comes with an authorized budget of up to $32.5 million. The project is included within the 2010-2011 budget passed by the Florida Legislature. Pending the governor’s approval, the building will be financed through a bond and repaid through Department of Health lease payments.
The health department component of the new complex will complement a previously funded $23.3 million Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work academic facility and a new $10 million Ambulatory Care Center funded by a grant from Miami-Dade County. The clinic and academic facility are in the planning and design stages.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Miami-Dade County Health Department as our new neighbor,” said Sweetwater Mayor Manny Maroño. “By bringing well-paying jobs to our area, the new Health Department facility represents a tremendous economic boost. This is a great example of how strategic partnerships can benefit our community.”
The planned facility will increase joint teaching, research, and clinical training opportunities for FIU students, faculty and health professionals in the health department. The move also will expand opportunities for both institutions to collaborate in attracting grants that can help improve health care in the region.
The collaboration between FIU and the Miami-Dade County Health Department also has the potential to create internship opportunities through which FIU students would work with public health experts in a clinical and research environment. The facility will include a public health teaching clinic with an environmental laboratory and a nutrition/ breastfeeding program.
“This is the kind of innovative, mutually-beneficial, strategic partnership that will enhance the education of our students with real life experience,” said Fernando Treviño, dean of the Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work. “At the same time, it will improve the local state-run health facilities and save the state significant money. It’s a win-win situation.”
About the Miami-Dade County Health Department:
The Miami-Dade County Health Department is part of the Florida Department of Health. The mission of the Miami-Dade County Health Department is to promote and protect the health of our community through prevention and preparedness today, for a healthier tomorrow.
Florida International University is one of the 25 largest universities in the nation, with nearly 40,000 students. More than 100,000 FIU alumni live and work in South Florida. Its colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations and law. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. The opening of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in August 2009 has enhanced the university’s ability to create lasting change through its research initiatives. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu.