About Bethany Ballinger, MBBS, AFRCSEd, FFAEM, FACEP

Dr. Bethany Ballinger is the Program Director for the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF COM), Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida, and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the UCF College of Medicine.

Dr. Ballinger hails from England, where she attended medical school at the University College London School of Medicine, followed by a 3-year emergency medicine residency and then by a fellowship/specialist registrar posting in Emergency Medicine at Oxford University Teaching Hospital. After several years of practice in England, Dr. Ballinger moved to America and did a second emergency medicine residency at Orlando Regional Medical Center. She was then recruited to be an inaugural faculty member for the emergency medicine residency at Florida Hospital.

Dr. Ballinger’s zeal to educate physicians of tomorrow to excel in today’s digital world, led to her recruitment at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF COM). UCF COM’s program epitomizes innovation, high-tech learning tools and a pioneering spirit to educate young doctors and scientists in a new and better way for the 21st century. Dr. Ballinger was one of the founding faculty for the medical college, and the college’s mission reflects her vision.

As a founding faculty member of the UCF COM, she had the vision of developing the new medical school’s GME component. Specifically, a residency that would combine excellence in clinical skills with the humanity of the compassionate physician to produce outstanding patient centered care. She was thus naturally chosen to lead the brand new EM residency for the UCF COM, based at Osceola Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Ballinger is renowned for her experience in evidence based medicine (EBM), clinical informatics and patient safety. Her passion for EBM blossomed while she was still at Oxford. Committed to promoting emergency medicine internationally, Dr. Ballinger took this expertise around the world. Notable endeavors include the creation of a “Virtual Health Sciences Library” at the Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy, in Hue, Vietnam, and launching the “Practising Evidence Based Medicine” course there.

Following completion of the American Medical Informatics Association 10 x 10 course, Dr. Ballinger launched the UCF COM’s informatics curriculum, the first of its kind in US medical schools, and was instrumental is bringing in over 7.6 million dollars in federal grant funding to help greater Central Florida doctors develop and effectively use electronic health records (EHR) to improve patient care. As a result of the grant a Health IT Regional Extension Center (REC) was established to provide Central Florida physicians with technical assistance, guidance, and best practices in electronic health records implementation. She serves as the Co-Director of Medical Informatics for the longitudinal curricular theme (LCT) for medical students, where she teaches the discipline found at the intersection of computer science and medicine to solve conundrums in healthcare delivery and patient safety.

One of the American Association of Medical College’s (AAMC) current initiatives is “Best Practices for Better Care,” a multi-year initiative to improve the quality and safety of health care. As an early proponent of patient safety education, Dr. Ballinger implemented the LCT in patient safety at UCF COM, because she is passionate about educating doctors who take the entire patient experience into account. Under her leadership, the UCF COM was one of only 10 schools in the world to participate in the World Health Organization’s implementation study of the Patient Safety Curriculum. Integrating technology into medical education, Dr. Ballinger’s has successfully taught students to be proactive in looking for possible safety hazards in real time such as dangerous drug interactions using their iPads.  Her research and innovations are frequently highlighted at the national AAMC and American Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) meetings.

Dr. Ballinger is active in organized medicine. At the regional level, she is a founding member of the Florida State Committee on Patient Safety Education, and on the academic affairs committee of the Florida College of Emergency Physicians Education. At the national level, she holds the post of American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Ambassador to the United Kingdom. She is a member of the ACEP International section’s education committee, and also serves on the communications committee of the International Federation of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Ballinger is a beloved educator and not surprisingly has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Faculty of the Year for the Emergency Medicine Residency Program, and the Florida Hospital

Compassion and Excellence in Medical Care Award, for which she was chosen amongst a group of over 2500 qualified physicians.