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Florida Hospital Zephyrhills Attracts the B.E.S.T. Students

Florida Hospital Zephyrhills (FHZ) hosted its third annual B.E.S.T. Academy the last two weeks in June for 25 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing a medical career.

The acronym B.E.S.T. stands for Brain Extension Scholastic Training and was founded by Dexter Frederick, MD, a Tampa internist/pediatrician who still plays an active role in the program. The Academy is a partnership with Florida Hospital, The University of South Florida (USF), USF’s Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), and USF’s Moransi College of Medicine. Only FHZ, Florida Hospital Tampa, and Florida Hospital Pinellas host the B.E.S.T. Academy in the west Florida division, according to Paige Williams, RN, BSN, Clinical Nurse Educator for FHZ. “It’s an honor to continue this tradition at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills. These bright and enthusiastic students represent the future of health care and are exposed to a very comprehensive and unique program.”

Participating students shadowed clinicians as they did hospital rounds and rotated throughout departments from cardiology to the lab. They observed at least one surgery and participated in anatomy classes, lectures and clinical workshops on topics related to diabetes, whole person care and vital signs. They even had practice suturing on artificial models. Additionally, the Academy’s curriculum included memory skill training by incorporating brain-based games like chess. A graduation ceremony and luncheon concluded the program on Friday, June 30.

Participating students were primarily from Pasco County but teens from Hillsborough County and one as far away as the Carolina’s participated, said Williams. To be considered for the Academy, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0, complete an application, show a sincere interest in pursuing a medical career, have letters of reference, and participate in an interview before being accepted. “The competition is quite intense,” Williams said.

This year’s B.E.S.T. Academy sponsors were Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, Florida Medical Clinic’s Foundation of Caring, AHEC and Moffitt Cancer Center.

There is a cost for the program and a confidentiality agreement must be signed by the student, Williams added. For information on the 2018 B.E.S.T. Academy, call Williams at (813) 783-6119, ext. 1925.

About Florida Hospital Zephyrhills
Florida Hospital Zephyrhills is an award winning 149-bed regional medical center located in East Pasco County. It is a proud member of the Adventist Health System, providing a legacy of health and healing for more than 150 years. The hospital offers the only comprehensive cardiovascular program in East and Central Pasco County, including open heart surgery and valve repair. Equipped with eight technologically advanced surgical suites, the hospital provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient surgical services including, but not limited to general, orthopedic, endoscopic, gynecology, urology, cardiovascular and robotic procedures. The Women’s Health Center at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills provides gynecology, urology, pelvic floor health, obstetrics and breast care through the Simpson Breast Health Center. And, the hospital’s newly renovated ER delivers emergency medical care 24/7 with a fast track suite for minor emergencies. Other programs and services include a Wellness Center, Wellness Spa, Center for Wound Healing, Bone and Joint Center, Outpatient Rehabilitation and Diagnostic Imaging. To learn more visit