A three-year, $2 million grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services will fund an advanced nursing education program at Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) nursing school titled, “Caring-based Academic Partnerships (CAPPs) to Enhance Nurse Practitioner Readiness and Willingness to Practice in Rural and Underserved Communities”. 

Florida’s population has increased 196 percent from 1970 to 2010, including an aging population that includes 3.3 million Medicare recipients seeking primary care and behavioral/mental health services. South Florida in particular has a ratio of 1,299 to 1 for primary care and 597 to 1 for mental health care.

Florida also has a diverse population which presents unique challenges including declining health outcomes and failure to improve on national benchmarks to decrease health disparities in vulnerable populations. With an increasingly diverse state population of Hispanics representing 23 percent and Blacks representing 16 percent, minority proportions are above the national average. Housed in Boca Raton, FL, FAU’s nursing faculty and students are committed to serving rural and underserved communities in the region.

The new nursing program’s objectives are to improve access to high-quality primary and behavioral/mental health care for rural and underserved communities through strategic academic-clinical partnerships. FAU’s nursing school plans will educate a practice-ready and culturally-diverse doctor of nursing practice (DNP) workforce by creating innovative, evidence-based, and relevant learning experiences for DNP students grounded in a compassionate and caring framework. Further objectives include engaging a competency-driven mentor workforce and building a new model for teaching and clinical DNP education.

FAU’s award will be solely focused on the unmet health care needs of underserved populations in South Florida and building additional curriculum content on mental health. The FAU College of Nursing is internationally known for commitment to nursing that nurtures the wholeness of persons in a caring environment. Advancing caring knowledge through education, practice, research, and scholarship, FAU plans to transform care locally, nationally, and globally. FAU’s College of Nursing currently offers bachelor’s, master’s, DNP, and PhD degree programs with over 1,600 nursing students enrolled in its programs.

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