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UNF MedNexus


UNF MedNexus will be the nation’s first comprehensive, university-based medical and healthcare nexus, further placing UNF at the center of the Northeast Florida healthcare enterprise by connecting healthcare providers with University students, faculty and researchers.

About UNF MedNexus

What Is UNF MedNexus?

UNF MedNexus is designed to meet the growing healthcare needs in Florida by linking resources across county lines and throughout the state in a collaborative effort to expand educational programs and enhance medical research. North Florida is a top destination for quality healthcare, including highly specialized services, and UNF is at the center of this medical ecosystem. The hub-and-spoke structure of UNF MedNexus allows the University of North Florida and its partners — healthcare providers, thought leaders, educational institutions and researchers — to address the state’s growing and evolving healthcare needs, while providing pathways for Florida students to find healthcare positions in the state and beyond.

What Does UNF MedNexus Do?

UNF MedNexus is about students. It’s about jobs. It’s about meeting the healthcare needs of our community, our state and our healthcare providers. UNF MedNexus will improve healthcare in the state by increasing the number of high-quality, well-trained medical professionals in Florida, while also advancing medical research and innovation. 

Projections for 2016-2024 indicate that 23% of Florida’s job growth will be in healthcare, roughly 200,000 jobs. The University of North Florida has the highest percentage of undergraduates working full-time in the State of Florida one year after graduation of any school in the State University System. UNF is committed to continuing to graduate students in areas where they can effectively serve and enhance the quality of life in Florida.

The initial phase of UNF MedNexus is underway with new multi-county partnerships to educate healthcare workers, with a strong emphasis on nurses. UNF MedNexus is looking to the future by closely aligning course programming with innovations, industry changes and human resource needs of our region and state. Additional phases will include heightened medical research through partner collaborations with educational institutions and research hospitals throughout Florida.

For questions about MedNexus Scholarships, contact MedNexus Scholarships

For more information on partnerships, contact Karen Bowling, Director, UNF MedNexus Global and Academic Partnerships

For more information on academic offerings, contact Michelle Edmonds, Professor and Director, School of Nursing 

For media inquiries, contact Ginny Walthour, Director of Media Relations

UNF logo with Osprey

23 percent of Florida’s job growth expected to be in healthcare, 2016 - 2024
1st UNF MedNexus is the nation's 1st university-based healthcare nexus
200 thousand projected new medical jobs in Florida, 2016-2024

“This is part of a differentiation strategy, bringing people together from different disciplines to satisfy the workforce needs of tomorrow.”

Dr. David M. Szymanski
CEO and Executive Director of UNF MedNexus

UNF: Florida's Healthcare Nexus

The hub-and-spoke illustrations show the significant concentration of healthcare facilities in the area and the potential impact of UNF MedNexus on the region and neighboring counties.
Map showing UNF partnerships between Nassau, Duval, Clay and St. Johns County
Map showing UNF partnerships between Flagler, Volusia, and Brevard counties
UNF MedNexus logo


UNF’s Brooks College of Health, ranked #1 in Florida for its nursing doctoral programs, is one of the anchors of UNF MedNexus. With funding provided by the FL Legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2020, UNF’s nursing program is expanding with state-of-the art simulation and skills labs and an enhanced Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing doctoral program. The first UNF MedNexus teaching facility begins in Palm Coast in 2021 with additional funding from the FL Legislature and support from the City of Palm Coast and AdventHealth.

The UNF MedNexus Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships were created for students in the UNF Brooks College of Health and School of Nursing. Scholarships are awarded based on students’ high academic credentials, performance and achievements. The first scholarships will be awarded through the Spring 2021 term with the UNF MedNexus Scholarship program expanding for the Fall 2021/Spring 2022 academic year.


Dr. David Szymanski transitioned from his role as president of UNF and leader of the UNF MedNexus initiative to CEO and executive director of UNF MedNexus full time on Sept. 17. UNF MedNexus will serve as a hub for thought leaders, bringing together the brightest educators, administrators and researchers to address healthcare challenges throughout our community and state. In October, UNF President David Szymanski signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Daytona State College President Tom LoBasso to elevate healthcare education in the region. President Szymanski and President John Avendano of Florida State College at Jacksonville signed a MOU on February 22 to further enhance local healthcare education and support the specific needs of Northeast Florida.


Phase 1 of UNF MedNexus includes the creation of our medical technology innovation lab where students can work side by side with researchers and MedNexus partners. The lab is home to a new MALDI Mass Spectrometer microscope from Global Innovator and MedNexus partner, Shimadzu. Students will be working with MedNexus healthcare researchers to detect cancer proteins in tissues years before tumor formation, as well as early detection of other serious diseases. The lab compliments existing state-of-the-art facilities on campus like UNF’s Johnson & Johnson 3D Biomedical Print Lab.

In The News

"First UNF MedNexus students complete their first semester," Palm Coast Observer, December 7, 2021

"FPC Team Wins Inaugural UNF MedNexus Innovation Challenge," FlaglerLive, November 8, 2021

"UNF MedNexus connects Flagler County students with nursing, health-care opportunities," The Daytona Beach News-Journal, October 24, 2021

"MedNexus in Palm Coast: ‘It’s Really About 6 Hands,’ Szymanski Says of Medical-Education Hub in Town Center," FlaglerLive, October 20, 2021

"UNF MedNexus: Education combined with technology," Jacksonville Daily Record, September 16, 2021

"Ideas wanted: MedNexus hosts Innovation Challenge for Palm Coast area high school students," Ormond Beach Observer, August 26, 2021

"President Szymanski named CEO and Executive Director of UNF MedNexus," UNF Newsroom, August 5, 2021

"UNF MedNexus in Palm Coast Names Dr. Miriam Griffin Program Director," FlaglerLive, June 16, 2021

"UNF MedNexus in Palm Coast announces local hire for nursing program director,"  UNF Newsroom, June 8, 2021

"UNF to offer $1 million in scholarships at MedNexus in Palm Coast," Palm Coast Observer, April 12, 2021

"UNF, FSCJ sign agreement to expand health care education," Jacksonville Daily Record, February 22, 202

UNF MedNexus in Palm Coast: The Impact of Educating Healthcare Professionals,” Palm Coast Connect, January 5, 2021

UNF MedNexus in Palm Coast: A Story of Transformation and Opportunity,” City of Pam Coast Newsroom, October 29, 2020 

North Florida's MedNexus to connect healthcare and education,” The Journal of Healthcare Contracting, October 26, 2020 

UNF Establishes MedNexus in Palm Coast,” Jacksonville Daily Record, October 6, 2020 

UNF’s MedNexus Marks Palm Coast Entrance as State and University Leaders Credit Local Unity and Mayor’s Role,” FlaglerLive, October 6, 2020 

UNF and MedNexus partners host ceremony to celebrate entry of UNF MedNexus in City of Palm Coast,” UNF Newsroom, October 6, 2020 

Medical Nexus Project offers Palm Coast Room to Grow,” Evolve Magazine Florida 

North Florida's MedNexus to connect healthcare and education,” Association of National Account Executives, July 2020

UNF and Region’s Hospitals Launch Initiative to Increase Health Care Professional Pipeline,” JAXUSA Partnership, July 13, 2020 

UNF’s ‘MedNexus’ to connect health care and education, build career pathways,” Florida Times-Union, July 12, 2020 

"U North Florida Gets $6 million to Start Setting up 'MedNexus',", July 8, 2020 

U of North Florida's new health innovation network to partner with Mayo Clinic, AdventHealth: 6 details,” Becker’s Healthcare, July 6, 2020

UNF MedNexus receives $6 million in funding from Florida state budget,” UNF Newsroom, July 2, 2020