Health Sciences Facilities

U North Florida Gets $6 million to Start Setting up "MedNexus"

The University of North Florida has received $6 million in the latest state budget to build what the university has named the UNF MedNexus. The intent is to create an operation that connects regional healthcare providers with university students, faculty and researchers.

According to the university, healthcare jobs are expected to account for nearly a quarter of the state's growth between 2016 and 2024, with an estimated 200,000 new jobs to be created over that period.

The project will be partnering with numerous healthcare providers as well as area colleges. The program will also bring in local schools to co-develop career pathways for students that take them from high school through to job placement.

As the operation grows, the institution said it also expected to work with other institutions, including universities in the State University System of Florida.

As part of initiative, the university will build a healthcare simulation lab and a medical technology innovation lab. The medical technology lab will house Shimadzu molecular analyzers, which will be used by research hospitals in the state as they develop hyper-early diagnostics for diseases such as cancers and neurological disorders.

MedNexus will also extend the university's nursing programs and set up a second simulation lab in Palm Coast. The first cohort are expected to begin taking classes at that location in January 2021.

"UNF MedNexus will become a leader and catalyst in preparing high quality healthcare professionals in Northeast Florida in a way that is innovative and uniquely UNF," said UNF President David Szymanski, in a statement. "We sincerely appreciate the efforts of Governor DeSantis, the Florida State Legislature, state leadership and all of our partners for their support of MedNexus."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.