The University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine’s Dr. Mariana Dangiolo, Director of Geriatrics and Palliative Care, has selected Watercrest of Lake Nona to connect senior residents and medical students as part of her innovative “Bridging the Gap” program.


Dr. Dangiolo is a board-certified family physician with subspecialty certification in Geriatric Medicine and was recently honored as “Orlando’s Top Doctor” and “America’s Top Doctor” of Geriatric Medicine in 2014 and 2015. The UCF “Bridging the Gap” initiative, designed and administered by Dr. Dangiolo, provides in-home geriatric assessments by third-year medical students, aimed at improving the health and quality of life for seniors.

Throughout the program, a pair of medical students will visit each volunteer resident monthly in their apartment at Watercrest of Lake Nona Assisted Living and Memory Care Community. The visits will include a comprehensive geriatric assessment, depression and cognitive assessment, medication review and falls and safety review. Dr. Dangiolo will meet with students during their assignment, hearing oral case reports and providing feedback on the management of patient’s care and program objectives.

Almost one out of eight Americans is 65 years of age and older and these numbers will more than double during the next 30 years. UCF College of Medicine is making continuous efforts ensuring medical students acquire the set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to care for our aging America.

Dr. Dangiolo implemented the “Bridging the Gap” program with the goal of providing a geriatric clinical experience to medical students while extending basic clinical care, patient education and social opportunities to selected seniors. She is also active in the American Academy of Family Physicians, Mayo Clinic Alumni Association, American Geriatrics Society, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Florida Medical Association and is Board Member at large of the Florida Geriatrics Society.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Watercrest of Lake Nona in this relevant, educational activity,” says Dr. Dangiolo, Director of the Geriatrics and Palliative Care Curriculum at the UCF College of Medicine.

As the developer and operator of assisted living and memory care communities, Watercrest Senior Living Group advocates the benefits of community-wide education and research, encouraging a commitment to serving others and fulfilling needs in our hometowns. Watercrest’s Common Unity program is a company-wide initiative supporting associates and residents in community service and enrichment. Watercrest welcomes this educational opportunity to strengthen connectivity between the medical community and the residents and associates of Watercrest of Lake Nona, supporting research to meet the healthcare requirements of an exploding senior population.

“UCF College of Medicine’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ program gives our residents the unique privilege of interacting with the next generation of doctors and shaping the future of medical care,” saysChristopher S. Shepherd, VP of Creative Program Development for Watercrest Senior Living Group. “In our quest for excellence, this partnership is another example of how Watercrest Senior Living Group’s Common Unity initiatives benefit everyone involved.”

Watercrest of Lake Nona Assisted Living and Memory Care Community is a 76,000 square foot, 80 unit senior living community featuring luxurious residences, resort-like service offerings and extraordinary care. The community boasts spa amenities, fine dining, private label wines, locally grown organic fare, cultural programs, and distinctive activities and outings. All Watercrest memory care associates are Certified Dementia Specialists and programming focuses on innovative lifestyle approaches, including personal life silhouettes, multi-sensory enhancements, Memories in the Making, and Music and Memory programs. Perfectly situated in the center of Lake Nona, the neighborhood features world-class education, Lake Nona Medical City, recreational facilities, diverse workspaces, retail centers, and entertainment venues.

Watercrest Senior Living is committed to enriching the lives of seniors by creating an environment of well being and providing a comprehensive memory care program specifically designed to engage the senses, expand the mind and enhance the emotions of residents in every one of their communities. Focused on the growth of servant leaders, Watercrest Senior Living Group identifies people as the company’s greatest asset. For more information on the “Bridging the Gap” program, contact Watercrest of Lake Nona Executive Director, Jenny Phillips at 407-226-3113 or UCF College of Medicine Director, Dr. Mariana Dangiolo at 407-266-1100.