Newswise — Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties are home to 3.2 million people, yet the region lacks a dominant health care system like those in many comparable metropolitan areas. Until now.

South Florida’s leading hospital and patient care providers recognize a need to address critical workforce pressures through enhanced medical education programs, accelerated medical research innovation, and access to clinical trials — all while continuing unequaled levels of patient care.

“The FAU Health Network — a true collaboration that brings together the region’s already robust health care infrastructure — will help save lives and cure diseases,” said Julie Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D., dean and vice president for medical affairs, Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine.  “Collectively, we are stronger. Together, we will help make our community an even greater place than it is today.”

The hospital and patient care providers join an already stellar group of collaborators. The latest partners are: Baptist Health South Florida (including Bethesda Hospital and Boca Raton Regional Hospital), Caridad Center, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Jupiter Medical Center, Tenet Healthcare, and West Palm Beach VA Healthcare System, and Palm Beach Atlantic University.

“Our hospital already collaborates with FAU and other area health care providers,” said Lincoln Mendez, CEO of Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “Cementing this partnership will greatly benefit patients across our community and simultaneously spur medical innovations right here in the three-county region.”

There is a growing need across Florida for more new physicians, nurses, and other patient care-related roles, such as medical and nursing assistants, technicians, and social workers. Further, the FAU Health Network will foster a true sense of community, from the well-being of the region’s front-line workforce to the quality of service delivered to patients from all walks of life.

At the Caridad Center, which provides health care by dedicated volunteers to the uninsured and working poor, this kind of collaboration can help vital medical care reach some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

“An alarming number of our local population does not have — or cannot afford — regular access to basic health care needs,” said Laura Kallus, Caridad’s chief executive officer. “Through strength in numbers, and with the enormous array of expertise available at so many local hospitals, this partnership has the ability to save lives.”

Partners previously announced include: Broward CollegePalm Beach State CollegeMemorial Healthcare SystemHealth Care District of Palm Beach County and Broward Health. More details will be provided as the partnership continues to develop.

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About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students across six campuses located along the southeast Florida coast. In recent years, the University has doubled its research expenditures and outpaced its peers in student achievement rates. Through the coexistence of access and excellence, FAU embodies an innovative model where traditional achievement gaps vanish. FAU is designated a Hispanic-serving institution, ranked as a top public university by U.S. News & World Report and a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit