UF Health president shares his vision for organization's mission

David Nelson wants to expand primary care and telehealth initiatives.

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  • | 5:10 a.m. June 7, 2019
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Dr. David Nelson, president of UF Health, presented his vision for the academic health center in an address Wednesday to UF Health faculty, staff and students in Jacksonville and Gainesville.

Nelson said it would be crucial for UF Health to stick to its mission to provide “high-quality clinical care” and proposed several ways to do so over the next three years.

Nelson, also UF Health’s senior vice president for health affairs, was appointed April 30.

He stressed transitioning UF Health to population health management and value-based care, expanding access to primary care by investing in women’s and mental health services, developing innovative care models and expanding telehealth initiatives.

UF Health already has developed “world class” programs at its hospitals in Gainesville and Jacksonville, he said.

Nelson wants to continue to build upon those programs to reach more patients statewide, regionally and nationally.

At the Jacksonville facility, cancer, neuroscience and pediatrics are among those Nelson called “top-in-the-country programs.”

“These are the programs that present opportunities to advance high impact research with the potential for significant impact on human health,” Nelson said.

“And more importantly, help differentiate UF Health as a regional and national care leader,” he said.

UF Health Jacksonville’s TraumaOne the only Level I Trauma Center in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, and has been since 1983. Its 695-bed center in Springfield offers close to 100 specialties from more than 400 doctors. The hospital provides financial assistance to indigent patients. UF’s colleges of medicine, nursing and pharmacy are located there, and in Gainesville.

UF Health North on Max Leggett Parkway is the only full-service hospital on the Northside, providing emergency, outpatient and delivery services, as well as 20 specialties.

Annually, the city of Jacksonville provides funding for UF Health, but Nelson didn’t address financial contributions to UF Health Jacksonville from the city.

Nelson served in the role in the interim after Dr. David Guzick stepped down in July. Before that, Nelson was a professor of medicine, assistant vice president for research and the director of UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Nelson also has been recognized nationally for his hepatitis C research, and within the university as both an outstanding alumnus and a professor.

“Dr. Nelson is a highly respected and remarkably talented physician, researcher, scholar and educator – all qualities that make him the right leader for UF Health at a key moment in its trajectory,” said UF President Ken Fuchs.

“With him at the helm, I am confident that UF Health in Gainesville, Jacksonville and throughout the state will accelerate its rise as one of the most exceptional and influential academic health centers in the Southeast and beyond.”