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Tampa General, USF create new People Development Institute

Mark Parker



Tampa General Hospital and the USF Muma College of Business announced a new partnership Wednesday. Screen grab.

Through a new partnership with the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business, Tampa General Hospital looks to invest in its most valuable resource – its people.

Dr. John Couris, President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital (TGH), held a press conference Wednesday to announce the hospital is investing $5 million in the college to help support the creation of the People Development Institute. The institute will not only serve employees of TGH but all of its surrounding affiliates as well. The partnership with the Muma College of Business represents the latest chapter in a close-knit relationship with USF that began in 1970 with the College of Health.

“This journey we’re on with USF is critically important to TGH,” said Couris. “To this community, to this region, and quite frankly, to the state.”

Couris said hospital administrators embarked on a new, bold vision for TGH several years ago – to be the safest and most innovative academic health system in America. He added that he is happy to report TGH is well on its way to achieving that goal, and the investment in the institute is an investment in the most important aspect of that vision – “our people.”

The institute will provide vital interpersonal skills to everyone who serves under the TGH umbrella, from doctors and administrators to cafeteria workers and valets. Couris said professional development is critical to realizing the vision.

“The thesis is very simple,” said Couris. “If we want people to act and behave differently and stay focused on the vision, we have to train them, teach them and evolve their thinking.”

Couris said many times organizations embark on a new vision and strategy, but do not spend time or energy on developing their employees. He said the institute focuses on what matters the most and that if you give people your very best, they will give their best to the ultimate stakeholders in the health care industry – patients.

“TGH and USF are on a journey,” said Couris. “Going from being great to world-class.”

Muma College of Business dean Moez Limayem was visibly excited to speak about The announcement and said his team made sure he did not consume any caffeine Wednesday, “to make sure he didn’t go overboard.”

Muma College of Business dean Moez Limayem speaks. Screen grab.

Limayem called the partnership between TGH and the college “timely, innovative, mutually beneficial, and also truly transformational.” He also said the partnership was unique and hopes to be a model for the rest of the nation to follow. The program will allow current employees to discover new skills and prepare for their next positions, eliminating the need for TGH to frequently look outside of the organization for new hires.

The People Development Institute awards non-credit Credly badges. Credly badges are earned from digital learning that focuses on hard and soft professional skills crucial for an organization to flourish. Employees would not have to leave the hospital, travel to USF or fully commit to a business program. Limayem said earning Credly badges represents a new way of delivering education and gives employees who may have never considered a business education access to USF’s business scholars.

“This makes business education accessible for those with demanding jobs and challenging schedules,” he said. “It is just transformational.”

The institute will offer a wide range of non-clinical courses ranging from basic skills and practices, to management and leadership, to cybersecurity and data protection. Limayem said the program will add new classes every year, ensuring that TGH employees stay current on emerging topics.

The training will initially be offered virtually, with plans to incorporate hybrid and face-to-face instruction. Classes are free to all TGH employees, and the health system will cover the cost of training materials.

Matt Mularkey, Executive Director of the People Development Institute, called course innovations “never-ending.” He said students receive permanent, authentic, credible digital badges they can display on sites like LinkedIn and carry with them forever. He added the digital badges are backed by the “authenticity and credibility of USF.”

“We’re ready to innovate around what the needs are,” said Mularkey. “And how those programs that already exist around the country can be adapted to this particular healthcare space.”

Mularkey is also hopeful the courses will extend beyond the vast TGH system into USF Health employees, the State of Florida, and eventually across the entire country.

“This foundational commitment over the next five years is just that,” he said. “It’s to create as much innovation and as much directed learning for lifelong learning for healthcare professionals at every level.”

Rico Ruiz, Director of Organizational Development for TGH, said the idea for a Personal Development Institute was discussed for years but needed a “visionary leader” such as Couris to see the plan come to fruition. Ruiz added TGH could not have picked a better partner than USF to drive the initiative.

“It certainly takes a team of many to create an institute of this nature,” he said.








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