Investing in the future of Tampa Bay

By John Couris, president and chief executive officer of Tampa General Hospital

In just five years, Tampa General Hospital (TGH) has expanded its footprint from 17 to more than 150 locations here in the Tampa Bay region and across Florida. Today, TGH President and CEO, John Couris is continuing to elevate the work of one of the nation’s leading academic health systems — providing world-class care, propelling life-saving research and developing novel treatments.  

A key component of this work is executing initiatives prioritized in the ambitious TGH Master Facility Plan — a $550 million capital commitment to deliver the most advanced technology and innovative care by creating a growing medical and research district in downtown Tampa. Read on to learn more about the District and how Tampa General is making a significant capital investment in the future of Tampa Bay and health care in this state.

Tampa General and USF Health Morsani College of Medicine have partnered with the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council to create a life sciences epicenter in downtown Tampa. Inspired by medical and research districts in cities like Boston, Chicago and Houston, the Tampa Medical and Research District houses an ever-growing hub of exceptional clinical care, academics, research and biotechnology anchored by the region’s leading academic health system and one of the country’s largest academic health institutions — Tampa General and USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Covering more than 1,500 acres in and around downtown Tampa and Ybor City, the District has evolved organically in recent years, anchored by Tampa General’s 3-million-square-foot campus. Today, the District houses more than a dozen assets, including Tampa General’s Rehabilitation Hospital and the TGH-USF Health Precision Medicine Biorepository. Soon, the District skyline will include TGH’s proton therapy center, the first of its kind on Florida’s West Coast, and TGH’s new Behavioral Health Hospital and its 13-story Surgical, Neuroscience & Transplant Pavilion, which will serve as a platform for the growth of the academic health system’s surgical, neuroscience and transplant services, adding 144 beds and 32 operating room suites.

What is your goal for the Tampa Medical and Research District?

Our goal is to create a vibrant, attractive and innovative hub that will motivate people to move here and start a business or bring to our region the brightest research minds and clinical care providers. We will strive to deliver an environment with a robust infrastructure ripe for growth and innovation, and we are actively working with other sectors, such as private equity and biotech, with a focus on intentional collaboration to drive this. We are working to build relationships and leverage our specific assets to create an environment where all organizations can thrive and cement Tampa’s reputation and identity as a true health care destination.

Today, the possibilities for the District feel limitless. We are on a continuous journey that began five years ago, and now we are starting to reach critical mass. We will continue to grow, develop and invest in the District. We are looking to engage with new sectors, including our public school systems and independent schools, as well as museums, aquariums, and arts and science organizations.

What impact will the District and the facilities created have on the community and the state?

The District is already attracting renowned clinicians and researchers to Florida, resulting in increased access to experts, cutting-edge research, education and technology for patients and students. A recent study by the Washington Economics Group found that the District, once completed, is expected to generate more than $8.3 billion in annual economic impact to the state of Florida, and it will support more than 57,900 jobs. The health care industry is Hillsborough County’s fastest-growing employment sector, adding more than 17,000 jobs since 2018. Life sciences combined with health care employment continues to fare better in the Tampa area than the U.S. job market and is projected to grow 26% over the next five years compared to the national average of 18%. Additionally, it is estimated that the new Tampa General facilities, once completed, will make a
$1 billion impact across the region.

Finally, the District and the facilities we invest in, along with other recent expansions, including our recent acquisition of the Bravera Health network (now TGH North) in West Central Florida, represent our commitment to providing citizens across Florida with increased access to world-class care. Our strategy is to leverage strategic public-private partnerships to drive growth and access, which has resulted in the exponential growth of our footprint.

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