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UNF MedNexus

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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. 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 more information on UNF MedNexus, contact Melonie Handerson, Program Director, UNF MedNexus

mhanders@unf.edu

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

karen.bowling@unf.edu

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

ginny.walthour@unf.edu

For information on MedNexus scholarships, contact Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Director, School of Nursing

michelle.edmonds@unf.edu

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

Learn.

A significant statewide concern is how to create a talent pipeline to fill healthcare jobs. Yet, in addition to adding workers, the future of healthcare in Florida also depends on advancing medical research and innovation. In early 2020, the University of North Florida proposed a solution. With a program named UNF MedNexus, the University hopes to link resources across county lines in a collaborative effort to expand educational programs and enhance medical research. When the state’s 2020-21 budget was passed in June, UNF received just under $6 million to create the first phase of MedNexus, the nation’s first comprehensive, university-based medical and healthcare network. What does that mean? With its academic strengths, UNF is positioned to lead the way to expand education. In addition, the University is surrounded by nationally prominent healthcare providers in Jacksonville, who are willing to serve as partners. Because of this, UNF will serve as the hub in what planners envision as a hub-and-spoke structure that will pool resources, funding, facilities and talent in neighboring counties.

Lead.

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.

Innovate.

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.