By Wendy Sarubbi | February 16, 2024 10:30 am

The University of Central Florida is strengthening its commitment to help people live life to the fullest, thanks to two gifts from Florida Blue Foundation totaling more than $1 million. The funds will leverage the power of nursing to support healthcare, expand opportunities for medical students to work with underserved populations and improve health equity for homeless individuals in downtown Orlando.

The Florida Blue Foundation’s gift will help expand the College of Medicine’s care to the homeless.

Continuing its three-decade association with UCF, the philanthropic affiliate of the state’s leading health insurer is investing an additional $500,000 in the Florida Blue Endowed Professorship for Healthy Communities in UCF’s College of Nursing, growing an endowment that was established in 2003. The additional investment will enable UCF to move forward this spring with appointing a professor to that role. Additionally, Florida Blue committed $516,000 to UCF’s College of Medicine to involve more medical students in service learning as they help care for the area’s homeless. Operating through the Chapman Compassionate Care Clinic in East Orlando, increased numbers of participating medical students will grow the number of homeless individuals served.

Through the Florida Blue Foundation gift, Dr. Deborah German, UCF’s vice president for health affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine, says students will gain hands-on learning experiences that will better prepare them to provide the best care for the community.

“Burdened by disproportionate rates of chronic disease, addiction and mental illness, homeless people are some of our neediest patients,” she says. “Sadly, they often have sporadic or no access to health care. By expanding services at the clinic, we are increasing our ability to provide care to people experiencing homelessness while providing our students with real-life service-learning experiences that will make them better doctors.”

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