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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 information on partnerships, contact Karen Bowling, Director, Global Partnerships

For media inquiries, contact the Office of Media Relations

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

UNF logo with Osprey

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


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 worked 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, UNF received just under $6 million to create the first phase of MedNexus. In addition, the University is surrounded by nationally prominent healthcare providers in Jacksonville, who serve as partners. The concept around UNF MedNexus is providing a hub-and-spoke structure that will pool resources, funding, facilities and talent in neighboring counties.


UNF MedNexus was created to bring together the brightest educators, administrators and researchers to address healthcare challenges throughout our community and state. In October 2020, then-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 2021 to further enhance local healthcare education and support the specific needs of Northeast Florida.


Phase 1 of UNF MedNexus included the creation of a medical technology innovation lab where students work side by side with researchers and MedNexus partners. The lab is home to a suite of MALDI Mass Spectrometers from Global Innovator and UNF partner, Shimadzu. Students will be working with MedNexus healthcare researchers on projects such as detecting 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.