By | March 15, 2010 12:00 am

ORLANDO, March 15, 2010 — The University of Central Florida College of Medicine announced Monday the appointment of Ralph Caruana, M.D. as its first associate dean for clinical affairs. In this role, Caruana will lead the college’s clinical program and create partnerships with local hospitals and other health-care providers. In addition, he will serve as the chair of the new multidisciplinary clinical sciences department to provide leadership and mentoring for the growing cadre of clinical faculty members.

Caruana comes to UCF from MCG Health Inc., the Medical College of Georgia’s (MCG) medical center. MCG Health Inc. is licensed for 632 beds, has over $1 billion in annual gross revenues and includes numerous tertiary care units including a Level 1 trauma center. As senior vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer at MCG Health Inc., Caruana led the hospital’s 600 medical staff members and 500 residents who practice at the Adult Hospital and at the Childrens’ Medical Center. The Augusta, GA-based medical center also works in partnership with the community’s two VA hospitals and the Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

Caruana’s leadership experience will help the UCF College of Medicine forge partnerships with other health-care providers to increase Central Florida’s medical education, research and patient care programs, said Dean Deborah German, M.D.

“Medicine is a team sport,” German said. “Dr. Caruana’s leadership and his collaborative spirit exemplify the College of Medicine’s vision as we serve our community.”

Before taking on his executive role at MCG Health, Caruana held a series of positions at the School of Medicine, including Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs, interim Chair of the Department of Medicine, Section Chief in Nephrology and Chief of Medicine at the Augusta VA Medical Center. Caruana’s specialties are internal medicine and nephrology, a specialty which deals with the function and diseases of the kidneys. He has served in leadership positions with the National Kidney Foundation and the Southeastern Kidney Council.

“It’s exciting to be part of a team that will truly develop a 21st century college of medicine and put UCF in the forefront nationally in developing a progressive curriculum for its students,” Caruana said.

Caruana received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, his M.D. degree from Tufts University and his MBA from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. He served his residency and fellowship at Wake Forest University Medical Center.

The UCF College of Medicine was established in 2006 by the Florida Legislature and the Florida Board of Governors to address the growing physician shortage and support Florida’s economic development. The college welcomed its charter class of 41 students in August 2009 and is in the process of selecting its second class of 60 students. The charter class had the highest average MCAT score and GPA of any incoming class of medical students in Florida, and with more than 4,300 applicants, the college was among the most selective in the nation. The college will move to its new Health Sciences Campus at the “medical city” in Lake Nona this summer.

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