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Florida State University

Isabel Collier Read remembered at grand opening of FSU medical campus in Immokalee

The newest campus of the Florida State University College of Medicine got its start through the generosity of the late Isabel Collier Read, who was memorialized recently at the grand opening ceremony at the Immokalee, Fla., campus named for her.

Richard Akin, President and CEO of Collier Health Services, Inc., center, is joined by FSU President T.K. Wetherell, left, and College of Medicine Dean J. Ocie Harris, at the grand opening of the Isabel Collier Read Campus of the FSU Medical School in Immokalee.

"Mrs. Isabel Collier Read got all of this started, and it is largely thanks to her perseverance and support that this project has finally come to fruition," said FSU President T.K. Wetherell. "She did a great thing not just for FSU, but for all of the children of Immokalee who will live healthier lives as a result."

Medical school faculty and students will provide pediatric and maternal/infant care in collaboration with Collier Health Services Inc. (CHS) at the Isabel Collier Read Medical Campus, which was made possible by three separate gifts totaling $10 million. The campus is the largest donor-funded initiative in the seven-year history of FSU's medical school.

Read, who passed away Feb. 5 at her home in Palm Beach at age 89, initially donated a clinical facility now valued at $7 million to NCH Healthcare in an effort to ensure that the medical needs of the community's farm workers and other underserved residents would be met. NCH Healthcare in turn donated the building to FSU last year for the creation of the Isabel Collier Read Medical Campus.

Read also endowed the medical school's educational program in Immokalee with an additional gift of $1 million, which is eligible for a $750,000 match from the state.

Then, in December 2007, the Naples Children and Education Foundation (NCEF) granted $2 million to the College of Medicine to fund renovations to a 29,000-square-foot medical clinic.

The gift from NCEF also is eligible for state matching funds, which could push the combined value of all three gifts to nearly $13 million.

"These three gifts have given us the ability to create a truly first-class facility for the women and children of Immokalee," said Dr. J. Ocie Harris, dean of the College of Medicine. "The hospital, Mrs. Read and NCEF came together to essentially double the existing capacity for pediatric and pre-natal services at CHS. It's a wonderful legacy for Mrs. Read."

Students from the medical school's six regional campuses throughout the state will have the opportunity to fulfill several third-year required and fourth-year elective rotations in Immokalee, gaining a more complete understanding of rural medicine while contributing to the health of the community.

CHS, which operates the neighboring Marion E. Fether Medical Center, has relocated its pediatrics practice to the Isabel Collier Read Medical Campus and will handle clinic management, including patient enrollment. CHS also will relocate its obstetrics/gynecology practice to the Isabel Collier Read Medical Campus in 2009, once the build-out of 13,000 feet of shell space is complete. The pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology clinics combined will have more than 40 exam rooms.

By Nancy Kinnally


"These three gifts have given us the ability to create a truly first-class facility for the women and children of Immokalee."

J. Ocie Harris
Dean, FSU College of Medicine