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March 2021

Digital Health Divide Runs Deep in Older Racial and Ethnic Minorities

The COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of access to the Internet and to digital health information. Unfortunately, historical disparities in health care appear to be reflected in computer ownership, access to the Internet and use of digital health information. However, few studies have qualitatively explored reasons  for digital health information disparity, especially in older adults.

A study led by Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing in collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, examined the extent of computer ownership, Internet access, and digital health information use in older African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Hispanic Americans and European Americans. Results of the study, published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, revealed a deep digital health divide within the older population, which was evident in both the community sample and focus groups. Participants who were older, less educated, economically disadvantaged and from ethnic groups (African American, Afro-Caribbean or Hispanic American) were up to five times less likely to have access to digital health information than were those who were younger and more highly educated, had a higher income, or were European Americans. 

“Currently, digital health technology development is outpacing parallel efforts to conquer the digital health divide, which also has important implications for helping older adults get registered for the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Ruth Tappen, R.N., F.A.A.N, lead author and Christine E. Lynn Eminent Scholar. “Portals that allow patients access to their electronic health records, decision aids that prepare patients to discuss options with their providers, making telehealth appointments with providers and so forth, needlessly, though unintentionally, excludes, marginalizes, and disenfranchises those who are older, have low incomes, have low health literacy, and/or are members of minority groups.” 

Study co-authors are Dr. Mary E. Cooley, R.N., F.A.A.N, Phyllis F. Cantor Center, Research in Nursing and Patient Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Dr. Roger Luckmann, M.P.H., Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School; and Somi Panday, a graduate student in FAU’s College of Nursing.

This research was supported in part by a grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award - EAIN-2276, and University of Massachusetts Medical School, Engaging Stakeholders in Implementation of Decision Aids. For more information on this study, click here.

College Welcomes Nursing Students with White Coat Ceremony

As a symbol of the start of the nursing journey, the white coat confirms a commitment to compassion, humanism and professionalism within the field. Now more than ever, choosing a career in nursing is a portrait of courage and dedication that merits recognition.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we invite you to join us on March 5 at 6 p.m. for the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing's White Coat Ceremony as we mark this milestone with more than 200 freshman, accelerated and part-time working professional nursing students. The event will feature remarks from Dr. Safiya George, Dean; Dr. Bret Danilowicz, Provost; Barb Schmidt, Founder of Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life; and Dr. Audwin Fletcher, Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, who will provide the keynote address.

As our students boldly step into nursing during such challenging times, they need the support of the collective community like never before. Please consider gifting a white coat to our students for $200 or further investing in the next generation of nursing students. Visit for more details. If you would like additional information, contact Melissa Stires.

Good Nutrition Associated with Lower Rates of Cognitive Decline

For a person with Alzheimer's or dementia, poor nutrition may increase behavioral symptoms and cause weight loss, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Good nutrition has been found to be a strong protective factor, associated with lower rates of cognitive decline. 

The Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing team is led by Dr. María Ordóñez’s Caring Science Model of Specialized Dementia Care and Supportive Services. This model focuses on co-creating, transforming and sustaining health care environments with a person- and family-centered, interprofessional approach to specialized dementia care and supports. A focal point of Dr. Ordóñez’s approach entails managing health proactively, identifying risks, and integrating risk reduction strategies with a focus on nutrition to optimally maintain physical, cardiac, psychological, and cognitive health, all of which are strongly interrelated.  To learn more about the Center's specialized services, including regular psychoeducation on maintaining physical wellness and mental health through nutrition, contact 561-297-0502.
Some nursing students, including Diana Hernandez, who provide direct patient care, are among the first to be vaccinated. FAU is only providing vaccines to its frontline healthcare workers.

Student News

FAU's College of Nursing has launched a 20-hour, fully online telehealth certification course that provides the essential knowledge to deliver skilled telehealth services with competence and care. The course begins on March 15. Register today!
The College of Nursing's 2020 NCLEX pass rate for first-time exam takers was 95.9%. We're so proud of these students for their hard work. We also want to thank our outstanding faculty and staff for their significant contributions to our teaching mission. 

Faculty & Staff Spotlight

Congratulations to the recipients of the Christine E. Lynn Center for Caring Research Initiative Awards - Dr. Tarsha Jones (PI) and Dr. Karen Wisdom-Chambers (Co-I) for "Reducing Barriers to Mammography Screening among Uninsured Black and Hispanic Women in Community Health Centers in South Florida;" 
Dr. Deb Hain (PI) for "Story-Centered Care to Promote Self-Management during Kidney Disease Education," and Dr. Shirley Gordon (PI) for "Engaging Communities to Address the Potential Health Impact of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)." We congratulate our awardees and look forward to supporting their research efforts.
Dr. Karen Wisdom-Chambers is offering an immersion experience, "Tech Savvy for Seniors," in collaboration with Tabernacle Baptist Church to respond to the call for social connectedness for older adults.  Students will be paired with one older adult who lives alone or in a community and will help them engage with others through use of electronic devices. 
Dr. Shirley Gordon, Nursing Professor and Federal Medical Reserve Corps member with the Martin County Health Dept. Unit, assisted in providing COVID-19 vaccinations to residents in Indiantown, a rural, underserved community. This was done in partnership with House of Hope. We appreciate your service, Dr. Gordon.

News & Events

FAU Launches COVID-19 Registry and Repository to Advance Research (FAU News Desk)
The Office of Nursing Research and Scholarship recently held two grant writing sessions presented by Dr. Alix Norris, Founder of Tn Consulting. The workshops offered an overview of federal funders, NIH updates and trends, as well as grant writing tips and strategies.
The Office of Nursing Research and Scholarship presented a data visualization workshop demonstrating the different types of data visualizations and their uses, as well as how to avoid creating graphics that result in ineffective and inaccurate perceptions of data.
Job Opportunity: Health Promotions & Wellness RN - 23040 (Florida Blue)
FAU Online Programs Rise in 'U.S. News & World Report' Rankings (The Boca Raton Tribune)
FAU Community Health Center
Louis and Anne Green Memory & Wellness Center
Copyright © 2020 Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, All rights reserved.

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777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

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FAU College of Nursing · 777 Glades Rd · Boca Raton, FL 33431-6424 · USA

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