November 29, 2023

Business Florida 2023
The Regions

North Central

Alachua • Bradford • Columbia • Dixie • Gilchrist • Hamilton • Lafayette • Levy • Madison • Marion • Suwannee • Taylor • Union

| 11/9/2022

Health Care

Among hospitals statewide on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals 2022-23,” UF Health Shands in Gainesville once again stood out, earning Top 50 rankings in five specialties: orthopedics (No. 26); ear, nose and throat (No. 40); geriatrics (No. 45) and pulmonary and lung surgery and urology (tied at No. 48 each). Equally impressive, its sister facility with Top 50 rankings in five pediatric specialties, three of which scored below No. 30: diabetes and endocrinology (No. 13); pulmonology and lung surgery (No.18); and cardiology and heart surgery (No. 26).

In July 2022, UF Health became the first Southeastern U.S. site to house a groundbreaking device providing personalized cancer treatment with a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and precision radiotherapy to treat the most challenging types of cancers, such as pancreatic and liver.



In addition to its U.S. News & World Report 5th place ranking among public universities in 2021-22, UF scored No. 28 on the list of national universities and, for the first time ever, earned top spot in the nation for its online bachelor’s degree programs. In 2022, Money magazine put Florida at No. 8 on its list of top ten “Best Colleges by Value.”

Other educational institutions serving North Central with reasons to boast include:

• Santa Fe College in Gainesville, known for its teaching zoo and offering nine bachelor’s degrees and certificates in 13 areas of study.

• Central College of Florida offering associates and bachelor’s degrees at its main campus in Ocala, and at satellite campuses in Levy and Citrus counties.

• Florida Gateway College in Lake City providing 60+ academic options, ranging from bachelor’s and associates degrees in the humanities, business, education and health sciences to single semester certificates in high-demand occupations such as welding, cosmetology and phlebotomy.

• North Florida College with campuses in Madison and Live Oak offering a B.S. in nursing along with Associate in Arts and Associate in Science transfer degrees and certificate options in more than five specialty occupations.


Life & Leisure

Take a Walk on the Wild Side
North Central spans 13 counties with tons of things to see and do indoors and out. Board a glass-bottom boat at Silver Springs, Florida’s oldest tourist attraction. Hang with free-flying butterflies in their climate controlled rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. Pop in to the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo, the only college zookeeper training facility in the U.S. Go antiquing in Micanopy, Florida’s self-proclaimed antiques capital just 15 minutes south of Gainesville with dozens of shops to explore. Pay a visit to the little community of Cross Creek where author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings penned her Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Yearling” in 1942. Then cap it all off with a trip to the Gulf Coast town of Cedar Key for a glimpse of “Old Florida” and a bowl of award-winning clam chowder.

Fancy a Little Horsin’ Around?
Then don’t miss the Ocala World Equestrian Center featuring indoor and outdoor arenas, events and a 248-room hotel aptly titled The Equestrian. A UF veterinary hospital has opened at the Ocala World Equestrian Center and is serving four-legged clients. Coming soon: A second hotel with 400 rooms; and a 1,000-acre facility to host weddings and equestrian events.

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