“UF Health and the College of Medicine are wonderful brands and we lead the state as an academic health care provider,” she said. “There are ways to ensure we are providing uniform care across the system, creating efficiencies and protecting those brands.”
Nelson said Koch was brought on board just as UF Health undergoes significant expansion.
“We are partnering with UF Health Jacksonville to develop a plan to open a regional medical school campus, where students spend their third and fourth year in Jacksonville, and we are developing innovative residencies at Central Florida Health,” Nelson said. “We will also grow our clinical reach along the I-95 corridor, in The Villages, and in Orlando and Tampa sometime in the future.”
With clinical growth comes the ability to expand the College of Medicine’s education and research opportunities.
“I look at growth through the lens of educational strategy for our learners and expanded research populations for our scientists,” Koch said.
The people factor
As Koch told her former dean following her first visit to Gainesville, the UF College of Medicine has a lot of good things already in place — like the longstanding Office for Diversity and Health Equity, led by UF Health pediatrician Donna Parker, MD ’90.
“That told me about UF’s culture and how the college embraces diversity and inclusion by recognizing that it’s better for all of us and our patients when we educate, learn, provide care and do research with diverse teams,” Koch said. “For that reason, one of the strategic pillars is devoted to diversity, inclusion and health equity.”
The people pillar applies to professional development for faculty, students and staff, as well as the increasingly salient issue of wellness.
“We need to measure resilience and well-being and grow activities to meet the needs of our college community,” Koch said. “We are working on a research-based well-being app to help our care providers assess themselves and their states of mind. The goal is to enhance the joy in medicine to avoid burnout among our health care professionals.”
Koch becomes more familiar with UF and the Gainesville community each day. She has already received the important lesson on the approved method for doing the Gator chomp (always right over left). On her rare days off, she discovers a new hiking trail or a new place to get a great cup of coffee. And as a fly-fishing enthusiast who enjoys tying her own flies, she is slowly gathering information about North Central Florida’s freshwater fish population.
“UF has such a great culture and so many neat things within the community,” she said. “I now feel like it’s my culture.”