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What Does it Mean to be an Academic Health System?

Tampa General’s vision is to become the safest and most innovative academic health system in America.
So just what is an academic health system? You’ll see this  and a similar term – an academic medical center – often at Tampa General and its affiliated medical school, the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. 
Together, TGH and USF Health form the leading academic medical center on the west coast of Florida. AMCs combine clinical care, teaching, and research to deliver the best possible outcomes, including cutting-edge technologies, resources and therapies to the communities they serve. They provide the highest level of complex care to treat the most severe illnesses and conditions.
That means we’re helping to bring the latest and best world-class health care to the residents of Tampa Bay and beyond.
It’s another reason why the enhanced alliance that TGH and USF Health have formed will help elevate health care across Tampa Bay and help provide an economic engine for the region.

Academic medical centers lead health care across the nation

Tampa General belongs to the Vizient University Health System Consortium, an alliance of leading academic medical centers, so that we can benchmark the quality of our care against the best hospitals in the nation.
Tampa General is ranked as the #1 hospital in Tampa Bay by U.S. News & World Report for 2020-2021 and is nationally ranked as among the top 50 hospitals in the nation in five specialties. Other hospitals with top rankings from U.S. News share a common bond: they’re also academic medical centers.

What does an academic medical center do?

Academic medical centers have three missions:
  • Patient Care – Tampa General provides the full spectrum of world-class care, from primary care and urgent care to specialized treatment of complex conditions to rehabilitation services.
  • Teaching -- TGH students include everyone from MacDill Air Force Base students preparing to become active duty nurses to physicians developing their level of expertise in complex medical specialties, such as advanced heart failure and neuroendovascular surgery. More than 600 medical residents and fellows, or physicians pursuing graduate studies, train at TGH each year.
  • Research – In 2020, TGH and USF Health created the joint TGH-USF Health Office of Clinical Research to strengthen and expand jointly conducted clinical trials, including translational studies that bridge laboratory discoveries and benefit patient care.
The three-part mission is reflected in the first part of Tampa General’s shared purpose statement: “We heal. We teach. We innovate.”

Academic medical centers care for the underserved

The second part of TGH’s shared purpose statement is simply stated: “Care for everyone. Every day.” As the region’s safety net hospital, Tampa General cares for all who walk through the doors, regardless of ability to pay. Tampa General funds 34% of the health charity care costs in Hillsborough County and 17% across the Tampa Bay area.
TGH cares for more than 100,000 patients at its Healthpark and Kennedy clinics each year, an annual investment of about $10.5 million. In fiscal year 2020, the hospital provided a net community benefit worth more than $182.5 million. The hospital provides sponsorships and financial help to multiple community health organizations and offers free community health education and screenings.

Why TGH and USF have entered a new enhanced alliance

In July of 2020, TGH and USF agreed to an enhanced clinical affiliation dedicated to world-class patient care, education and research. This significant milestone builds upon our longstanding relationship and commitment to improving health care in Tampa Bay and across Florida.
The enhanced affiliation enables the two organizations to align administrative and clinical practice areas into a new organization, an effort mirrored across the country as most top-ranked medical schools and hospitals move towards integrated models that bolster both academics, research and clinical care.
The new organization, the University of South Florida Tampa General Physicians, will be jointly governed by both TGH and USF.
TGH and USF have worked closely together for nearly 50 years, since the opening of the medical school in the early 1970s. This new endeavor builds on this longstanding relationship and will enable the two organizations to advance more quickly and broadly on a variety of strategic goals.