Newswise — The Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University has received a three-year, $2 million grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for an advanced nursing education program titled, “Caring-based Academic Partnerships (CAPPs) to Enhance Nurse Practitioner Readiness and Willingness to Practice in Rural and Underserved Communities.” These HRSA grants are intended to grow the primary care workforce, including advanced practice nurses and behavioral health professionals.

“Our nursing faculty are committed to serving rural and underserved communities in this region and we are especially proud of the work that Dr. Lynne Dunphy, Dr. Karethy Edwards and Dr. Susan Bulfin have done to advance nurse practitioner education and outreach programs in our College,” said Marlaine Smith, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Nursing. “We are most grateful to have received this important grant from HRSA to fulfill our mission to meet the growing health and diversity challenges in South Florida.”

The key objectives of this new nursing program are to improve access to high-quality integrated primary and behavioral/mental health care for rural and underserved communities through strategic academic-clinical partnerships to educate a practice-ready and culturally-diverse doctor of nursing practice (DNP) workforce; to co-create innovative, evidence-based, relevant learning experiences for DNP students that are grounded in a compassionate and caring framework to enhance their readiness and willingness to practice in rural and underserved communities; to engage a competency-driven mentor workforce with practice partners; and to build a value-added model of redesigned teaching and clinical DNP education for the sustainable integration of academia and practice.

“We believe that a caring-based nurse practitioner workforce is the ideal group to provide population-based care for patients in underserved and rural areas throughout South Florida,” said Lynne Dunphy, Ph.D., principal investigator and associate dean and professor in FAU’s College of Nursing. “The strategies we will be implementing will result in a redesigned nurse practitioner workforce in this region, and will ultimately yield healthier communities and improved patient outcomes, satisfaction, and cost-savings.”

Florida’s population has increased 196 percent from 1970 to 2010, including its aging population of approximately 3.3 million Medicare recipients seeking primary care and behavioral/mental health services. In addition, Florida’s population is increasingly diverse with Hispanics representing 23 percent of the state’s population and Blacks representing 16 percent – proportions that are above the national average. This diverse population presents unique challenges such as declining health outcomes and failure to improve on key national quality benchmarks to decrease health disparities in vulnerable populations. According to the 2013 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities report, in comparison to all other states on several national benchmark measures, Florida was the weakest. In South Florida, ratios are 1,299 to 1 for primary care, 1,449 to 1 for dental care, and 597 to 1 for mental health care.

“Our award is focused on the unmet health care needs of underserved populations in South Florida and builds in additional curriculum content on mental health,” said Dunphy.

FAU’s College of Nursing is internationally known for its commitment to nursing as a discipline focused on nurturing the wholeness of persons and the environment through Caring. The College advances Caring knowledge through education, practice, research and scholarship to transform care locally, nationally and globally. Currently, the College of Nursing offers bachelor’s, master’s, DNP and Ph.D. degree programs with approximately 1,600 nursing students enrolled in its programs. For more information, visit

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Florida Atlantic UniversityFlorida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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