Investor Spotlight: Ultimate Medical Academy

November 13, 2018

Tampa-based Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) is a dynamic educational institution committed to equipping and empowering students to excel in healthcare careers. An accredited, higher educational institution with a national presence, UMA strives to provide a learning experience that maximizes value for our students in a professional, supportive and ethical environment.

Celebrating our 25th year in 2019, UMA has more than 50,000 alumni and offers content-rich, interactive courses to approximately 15,000 students via our Online Campus as well as hands-on training to hundreds of students at our Clearwater Campus.

Since July 2015, Derek Apanovitch has been President of UMA, where he is responsible for leading the faculty and staff of the nonprofit institution. The first employee of the Online Campus, he joined UMA in 2008.

Apanovitch previously served as an Executive Director of Kaplan, Inc., a diversified education provider. He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from the Duke University School of Law, and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Ultimate Medical Academy recently joined the EDC as an Investor. What are you most looking forward to about your involvement with the EDC?

UMA is pleased to be an Investor at the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (THEDC) and to have the opportunity to partner with and share expertise with other Investors aiming to grow and prosper in the Tampa Bay market. As an employer of 2,000 faculty and staff in the area, we are also looking forward to building relationships and telling others about the work we do to equip and empower students to excel in healthcare careers. In fulfilling our mission, we are also helping to drive upward mobility for families and communities while also helping to fill the healthcare skills gap in the local area and across the nation.

I am proud to serve on the Chairman’s Council and to have representatives on the EDC’s standing committees.

How does Ultimate Medical Academy attract and retain talent?

We’re always on the lookout for talented UMA faculty and staff. As UMA focuses on the future, we’re seeking bright, qualified, inspired professionals who share our passion for helping others. We recognize and value distinct life experiences and perspectives. We seek to inspire our employees, and in turn our students, by creating a culture where diversity, inclusion, and respect for others are championed.
To attract talent, UMA partners with the THEDC and other civic institutions to build relationships and raise brand awareness for the Tampa Bay area and our higher education institution. Our Talent Acquisition team is dedicated to filling entry level and managerial roles at our student support centers, which include Admissions, Student Finance, Learner Services, and Career Services. Our VP of Executive Recruiting and Engagement works closely with our Executive team and select search firms to source candidates for senior level roles.

To retain talent, we focus on our mission to equip and empower students to excel in healthcare careers and work to:

  • create best-in-class programs for all employees, with specific short- and long-term strategies, campaigns, and events to promote, achieve, and sustain a culture of strong employee engagement that leads to strong employee and institutional performance;
  • develop and communicate initiatives and objectives that enhance the overall employee experience, including forming a Diversity & Inclusiveness Council and other working groups;
  • develop and implement local community engagement events to promote positive awareness of UMA;
  • develop creative communications for public events that engage audiences and support UMA’s mission, brand identity, and institutional culture; and
  • facilitate ongoing employment and education opportunities.

How has Ultimate Medical Academy benefitted from being headquartered in Tampa?

Being headquartered in Tampa has benefitted UMA in many ways. When we started our online school in 2009, we benefitted from the rich supply of available talent in the Tampa Bay area due to the recession.  Since then, we have been able to capitalize on the growing talent base in the area and the increasing focus of the Florida universities to keep talent local.

In 2018, UMA benefits from being headquartered in Tampa by being able to recruit candidates to work in the area, which is in a period of dynamic change and growth. Recruiting nationally, we attract talent who appreciate the climate, top-tier airport connections, burgeoning restaurant scene, dynamic neighborhoods, and the relatively low cost of living here compared to other areas of the country.

Life sciences and healthcare are target industries for the EDC. How does Ultimate Medical Academy impact this growth sector?

UMA is a higher education school with a single program focus – healthcare. At our Online Campus we offer five Associate of Science degrees in allied health, one of which has four program concentrations as well as diplomas in three allied health programs. At our Clearwater Campus we offer an Associate of Science in Health Sciences degree with concentrations in three clinical health areas as well as diploma programs in five clinical health areas.

We believe our graduates are given the education and skills to service the healthcare industry today and into the future. In addition, our programs have advisory boards and many local sector experts serve on those. UMA also seeks partnerships with local healthcare providers. They serve as externship sites for students to complete specific UMA program requirements. And, UMA strives to provide them with a source of skilled healthcare workers who are UMA graduates.