One concept that can rally all parents of South Florida is that our children deserve the best medicine and health care in the world. Today, many of the best health programs for children, whether at the cutting edge of pediatric medicine or focused on prevention and health promotion, are right here in our backyard. The potential for academic and community hospital and health care professionals to make Miami an even better place for kids by collaborating and consolidating strengths is the first step toward building one of the finest systems of child health care in the world.

As a parent, I wish that the barriers that are created by competition between children’s hospitals—often associated with a lack of communication of critical information—could be knocked down. Each of the pediatric programs in South Florida claims something that is the best. If these strengths could be realigned so that a large system of care with many points of access could be created, the possibility for all children to receive the best and most cutting-edge health care can be a reality.

By building these partnerships, Miami can become renowned as one of the world’s centers for excellence in children’s health care. We are close. We have champions among our nurses, our doctors, and our staff who care for children, and we have researchers who can advance the field of pediatric medicine. Hospital leaders and physicians who once saw each other as competitors are starting to consider how much better the access to health care could be for children if we work together.

For more than a year, leaders from the Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital have been meeting with leaders of other South Florida hospitals to push the envelope— to design a comprehensive system of the best care for children. The group concluded that everyone benefits from this collaboration—the pediatricians, the hospitals and, most importantly, the children and their families.

Our central goal is to maximize access to care for all South Florida children, no matter how common or esoteric their problem may be. We may find that the best model is to create complementary centers of excellence in our various hospitals and arrange seamless access to these centers, regardless of where the child’s primary health care is provided. Alternatively, we may find a way to create a global affiliation, with new world-class facilities that combine our strengths while building a network of care in the communities where children live. Such a network would immediately become one of the largest and best in the world.

It is clear that integrated pediatric cancer, heart, transplant, developmental, and community pediatrics programs will result in economies of scale, greater community and philanthropic support, and better outcomes because we combine our strengths. We may also be able to redistribute our resources so that the more than 100,000 children in South Florida who have no health insurance can get the same level of care as those whose families have jobs and resources that provide insured care. To make this happen, we will have to learn how to avoid protecting our turf, seeing instead the wealth of benefits that come when we raise the level for everyone.

We have an opportunity to show South Florida and other child health providers across the nation and even the world how to make this happen. Because we have the leaders, the vision, and the dedication, the opportunities are limitless, the risks are minimal, and access to health for all children in the community is finally attainable.

Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., is senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Miller School of Medicine.