Right space. Right time.

Dr. Steven M. Scott and his wife, Rebecca, help UF design a new way of educating future physicians.

By: Karen Dooley

While some medical schools in the United States may adorn their offices with priceless art, Dr. Steven M. Scott, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist and a member of the UF’s Board of Trustees, hopes the UF College of Medicine never has a Monet hanging on its walls.What the college will have, Scott believes, is the right space for interactive learning, for sharing ideas and for preparing students to care for patients in the changing world of health care.

“The building is important, but you are more important,” Scott told medical and physician assistant students who gathered at an Oct. 5 celebration at which the university announced that Scott and his wife, Rebecca, contributed $5 million to help fund the College of Medicine’s new Medical Education Building.

Scott, who received his medical degree from Indiana University and serves as chairman of Scott Holdings LLC, an entrepreneurial medical investment company headquartered in Boca Raton, is affiliated with many institutions of higher learning as an adviser and benefactor. He emphasized that he and his wife believe UF’s new facility, which will be named the George T. Harrell, MD, Medical Education Building, will accommodate a more modern approach to learning.

“This new building will make it possible to provide a new way of educating medical students, which is through collaborative, hands-on learning,” said Rebecca Scott, who trained to be a nurse anesthetist at Duke University. “If the facility doesn’t match the program, it will hold it back.”

In honor of the Scotts’ contribution, the College of Medicine will name the specially designed lobby in the new building the Steven M. and Rebecca J. Scott Commons.

“The Scott Commons will serve as a crossroads for students and faculty and an ideal gathering space for important college events,” said college Dean Michael L. Good, MD. “The Scott family has demonstrated great faith in the University of Florida and the College of Medicine by making this transformational gift.”

In 2010, the College of Medicine began a significant overhaul of its medical education curriculum, calling for a more patient-centered experience that integrates biomedical science with social and behavioral sciences and introduces students to the patient care setting earlier. The planned Harrell Medical Education Building is designed to meet the needs of the new curriculum.

The class of 2016 is the first to fully experience the college’s curriculum changes, and one of its members, Ryan O’Mara, spoke at the Oct. 5 gift announcement, thanking the Scotts on behalf of all UF medical students.

“This building is going to inspire and motivate, and it will greatly improve how we learn at the University of Florida,” O’Mara told the Scotts. “Your generosity will directly impact every single person who learns here, and will in turn reach every person we can help as a result of how we learn here.”

O’Mara chose UF over other highly ranked U.S. medical schools, despite the allure of prestigious Ivy League facilities that included butlers, grand pianos and Monet paintings during the final phase of his interview process.

“At one school I was introduced to bronze busts of their Nobel Laureates, while at UF I was introduced to a patient,” O’Mara said during his comments. “I came here because of the people.”

Scott said he is impressed with the academic quality of UF medical students and is interested in helping the medical school get to the next level.

“Medicine will change more in the next five to 10 years than it has changed in the last 50, so now is the time for philanthropists to step up and be involved if we want this university to lead,” he said. “I expect that within the next 20 years, UF will be in the top 10 nationally — a place both students and patients will want to come for school and for treatment.”

George T. Harrell, MD, Medical Education Building

• $46 million project
• 94,000 square feet
• Located between the McKnight Brain Institute and the Health Professions/Nursing/Pharmacy Complex
• Four floors, which will include:
Steven M. and Rebecca J. Scott Commons
Louis H. Oberndorf Experiential Learning Theater
Dr. Angelo and Alberta Anaclerio Clinical Skills Center

To learn more about Steven and Rebecca Scott and plans for the George T. Harrell Medical Education Building, please visit HowWeLearn.med.ufl.edu.