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January 2021

FAU Receives NIH Grant to Enhance Social Engagement in Older Adults

Vibrant social relationships are a critical component of healthy aging. Strong relationships provide emotional support and well-being, promote brain health, and can even slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. However, the aging process can create challenges for older adults in their social interactions, leading to unbalanced interactions and potentially a withdrawal from cognitive and social activities with others. Social isolation in older adults has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To address these challenges, researchers from FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing have received a two-year, $675,000 grant from the National Institute of Aging, National Institutes of Health, to test a mathematical model designed to optimize social and physical engagement in this population. The project is titled, "The Mathematics of Relatedness: Social Affordances in Behavioral and Cognitive Aging.

The research team includes Dr. Emmanuelle Tognoli, a Research Professor in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, College of Science, and a member of the FAU Brain Institute; Dr. Christopher Beetle, an Associate Professor of physics, College of Science; and Dr. Christine Williams, Professor Emeritus, College of Nursing.

Dr. Williams will lead the empirical work at FAU’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, operated by the College of Nursing, which is designed to serve the community as well as enable breakthrough research that enriches a science-based approach to care. The center is spearheaded by Dr. María de los Ángeles Ordóñez, A.P.R.N., Director and an Associate Professor. The Center’s mission is to meet the complex needs of individuals with memory disorders, such as Alzheimer's Disease, and their families through a comprehensive array of services, compassionate and innovative programs of care, research and education. As a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, Dr. Williams has conducted extensive research with older adults and the problems of coping with cognitive impairment and health disparities.

For more information on this research, click here.

FAU Receives Grant to Study Health Effects of Harmful Algal Blooms

Florida has experienced numerous harmful algal blooms (HABs) in recent years. During these blooms, species of cyanobacteria release toxic peptides, including microcystins and nodularin into waterways. Human exposure comes from ingestion, direct skin contact or inhalation, and can lead to a variety of symptoms ranging from gastroenteritis, nausea, allergic reactions and skin rashes to hepatic injury in more severe cases. Despite multiple occurrences of red tide and blue green algae in Florida waters, the understanding of the health effects of exposure to these blooms remains limited.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute have received a $319,976 grant from the Florida Department of Health to evaluate the short- and long-term health effects of exposure to HABS in Florida. Researchers will use a collaborative, multisite approach in collaboration with Florida Gulf Coast University.

Researchers will conduct environmental water sampling for microcystins and brevetoxins, as well as individual and area aerosol sampling for HABs toxins to determine potential health impacts of exposure to these toxins. They also will develop a bio-repository and participant registry for samples obtained during population assessments to establish an ongoing infrastructure to support future long-term studies on the health effects of exposure to HABs.

In addition, researchers will evaluate the potential effect of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causative agent of COVID-19, on susceptibility to HABs and health outcomes that are being evaluated in this study population.

“A science-based understanding of the risks associated with exposure to harmful algal blooms can assist regulators in making health-protective decisions and guiding mitigation efforts to reduce the occurrence and distribution of the blooms,” said Dr. Shirley Gordon, Principal Investigator and Professor in FAU’s College of Nursing. “In addition, this study provides a preliminary exploration of a potential increased toxin susceptibility in individuals who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, which may constitute a new, sensitive subset of the population.”

For more information on this research, click here.

Cross Country Healthcare Establishes Scholarship Fund with College of Nursing

Cross Country Healthcare, Inc., a leading provider of total talent management, including workforce solutions, contingent staffing, permanent placement and other consultative services for healthcare clients, announced the establishment of the Cross Country Healthcare Scholarship Fund with FAU's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. The scholarship fund will provide annual scholarships, and help fund educational and research opportunities for students attending the College of Nursing for a minimum of four years.

“The Cross Country Healthcare Scholarship Fund is a wonderful example of the evolution of our continued partnership with FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, a leader in caring science,” says Kevin Clark, Co-Founder and CEO of Cross Country Healthcare. “CCH and FAU already collaborate closely to advance the nursing profession through joint programs, scholarships, internships, residency and research opportunities, and most recently, our quarterly joint educational webinars. The scholarships are an investment in our community and the clients we serve. The Cross Country Healthcare Scholarship Fund helps get more healthcare professionals where they are needed most – at the bedside.”

“As we strive to provide the highest quality education for our students, student scholarships are critical to supporting the next generation of top nursing students as they work to overcome a number of financial barriers," said Dr. Safiya George, Dean and Professor of FAU’s College of Nursing. "This inspiring gift from Cross Country Healthcare works to both secure our community’s future as home to the best and brightest in nursing, and addresses some of the most challenging issues facing our society through nursing research. We are truly grateful to Cross Country Healthcare and their commitment to supporting our nursing students.”

For more information, click here.

Congratulations, Nursing Grads!

Congratulations to the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing's Class of 2020! FAU hosted a virtual commencement ceremony on December 17 for its Fall graduates. 

"We're so proud of our Fall 2020 nursing graduates and their many accomplishments. Let me be the first to welcome you to the nursing profession - the most trusted profession in America. This week, we celebrate you! Congratulations, Nursing Owls," said Dean Safiya George.

FAU Community Health Center Seeks Federally Qualified Health Center Look A-Like Designation

In response to a written application to obtain a Federally Qualified Health Center Look A-like designation, the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Care granted the FAU Community Health Center a site visit. In November, HRSA review officials conducted a virtual site visit to assess the Community Health Center’s compliance with their guidelines for community health centers. The center received a highly favorable verbal exit evaluation. Staff, administrators and board members were congratulated for their caring efforts to bring health services to vulnerable persons and families in West Palm Beach. In particular, the center's primary care, behavioral health, and diabetes education services received very good reviews. Additionally, the reviewers complimented both sites, one in the Westgate neighborhood and the new location in the Historic Northwest neighborhood because of the potential to expand access to care.  The center expects to receive its written evaluation in the next few weeks. 

Memory and Wellness Center Offers Dementia Care & Support Services for Hispanic Population

Studies show that Hispanic/Latinx populations are particularly and disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD). The Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center (MWC) is committed to serving this community. Under a federal grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, titled "Bridging the Gap: Providing Specialized Dementia Care and Supportive Services through Community Partnerships," the MWC team has been able to tailor, provide, and sustain dementia care and supportive services for the Hispanic/Latinx population. The MWC offers culturally competent weekly support groups in Spanish for those with loved ones or friends living with ADRD. In addition, the MWC offers family caregiver consultations, health and wellness coaching, and mental health services in Spanish. Contact Patricia at or call 561-297-0502 for more information.

Caring through COVID-19: FAU Community Health Centers Answer the Call to Care

The FAU Community Health Center continues to serve the Westgate and historic Northwest communities in West Palm Beach. The people living in these communities have very low incomes and limited access to resources.  Additionally, they have experienced the highest COVID-19 infection rates in Palm Beach County. Therefore, in March 2020, the Community Health Center, led by Dr. Karethy Edwards, Executive Director of the Community Health Center, Professor, and Associate Dean, responded to this call for care with increased access to behavioral health and primary care services with the aid of telehealth. Older patients and those with chronic illnesses were notified of telehealth services by telephone. During the initial phone calls, staff at the center assessed general wellbeing and provided information about COVID-19. Equally important, patients received instructions about how to care for themselves and their families, and answered questions about how to use the telehealth service.  Dr. Abad, Board-certified Psychiatrist, and Dr. Brennen, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, continue to provide more than 50 percent of the center's behavioral health services through telehealth technology. In addition to primary care and behavioral health services, the CHC established a partnership with the Food As Medicine community organization.  This partnership facilitates the provision of healthy food to patients, and addresses the food insecurity and hunger needs of these communities. During the holiday, the Community Health Center at Westgate provided patients with 50 turkeys. If you'd like to support the work of the FAU Community Health Center, click here and designate "FAU Community Health Center" in the dropdown menu.

Student News

The Spring 2021 semester will kick off on January 9. As we welcome students for the new semester, it is important to remain focused on health and safety efforts. To Protect Your Owl Family, please remember that face masks and staying six feet apart from other people will go a long way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are required on FAU campuses. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home. Learn more about how FAU is responding to COVID-19 in "21 Things to Know about Spring 2021."
Congratulations to all of the College's nursing graduates who were recognized for their hard work at a recent virtual pinning ceremony. When a student receives a pin from the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, it is an affirmation from faculty that they are prepared for a nursing career. We wish you the very best!
Annually, the College presents awards to student nurses who demonstrate excellence in clinical practice, leadership, scholarship, or gerontological studies. Congratulations to the following students: Rachel Sherman, Desmika White and Lauren Bordy - Excellence in Scholarship Award; Savannah McAliley and Courtney Christie - Excellence in Leadership Award; Raquel Gebre St. Fort and Angela Quiroga - Excellence in the Clinical Setting Award; Austin Kuntze, Barika Williams, Samar Rahmatian, and Sashoy Campbell - Excellence in Caring Award; Abageal Rolan - Excellence in Service Award; Corinna Gilson (Povoli) - The Touhy Gerontological Award; Emma Kuylenstierna - Dedication to Nursing Award, and Adam Mahamad and Kathleeen Juezan - DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students. Congratulations to all the award recipients!
Congratulations to the following recipients of Florida Nurses Foundation scholarships - Simone Darville, Ashley Mcfarlane, and Angela Quiroga, District 6 Generic Scholarship Fund; Ma. AIleen Go, Edna Hicks Scholarship; Shaamonde Joseph, Marion County Scholarship; Kathleen Juezan, Nina Brookins Scholarship; Jayson Ledford and Keairra Weekes, Mary York Scholarship; Anne Mivida PetitHomme, District 14 Marcy Klosterman Scholarship, and Barika WIlliams, Agnes Naughton Scholarship. Well done!
Congratulations to Armiel Suriaga on receiving the 2020-21 Evidence-Based NIDA Mentored Training Award, a partnership between the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, for his project, "A Statewide Analysis of Synthetic Cannabinoid and Cannabinoid-Related Deaths for Harm Reduction Education Dissemination in South Florida." Drs. Lenny Chiang-Hanisko and Elizabeth Aston are co-mentors on this award.
FAU's Student Nurses Association recently revised their by-laws to create a combined chapter that includes both Boca Raton and Davie campus students. The SNA members are very excited about working together, welcoming all undergraduate nursing students. 
The Student Nurses Association donated a wreath to be lain on a grave at the National Veterans' Cemetery of South Florida in honor of students who are veterans. Members also volunteered to lay wreaths on the graves there. 
The Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Specialty Post-Graduate Certificate Program will begin on January 9. The program prepares NPs with the knowledge and skills for specialization in general dermatology to care for patients across the life span. 

Faculty & Staff Spotlight

Congratulations to Dr. Rose Sherman, recipient of the 2020 AACN American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Pioneer Spirit Award. Dr. Sherman was recognized for her contributions to innovative nurse leader development activities.
Dr. Janet Holt joined the College as part-time Statistician. In this role, Dr. Holt is supporting Dr. David Newman in meeting the statistical needs of College researchers. She is available to assist faculty with preparing data analysis plans for research grant proposals, conducting data analyses for manuscripts and presentations, and other statistics-related research functions.

News & Events

Save the Date: The College will host a virtual White Coat Ceremony on Friday, March 5 at 6 p.m. to celebrate and install more than 200 freshman, accelerated and part-time working professional BSN nursing students. The White Coat ceremony instills a commitment to provide compassionate care among future health professionals, to promote humanistic, patient-centered care among incoming nursing students.
Cross Country Healthcare and FAU's College of Nursing recently hosted "The Vision of Nursing 2030" webinar. It explored the rapidly emerging role of technology in the healthcare industry, including telehealth, training healthcare professionals in new healthcare technology, and balancing high tech with high tough. A recording of the webinar may be viewed here.
The College hosted Equitable Talk, featuring Natalie Burke, President and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION, to explore solutions to improve diversity and equity to achieve inclusivity in the college environment. Specifically, Ms. Burke hosted a dialogue on equitable opportunities, perspective transformation, and the pursuit of allyship during these unprecedented times.
College of Nursing Dean Safiya George recently participated in a virtual roundtable that explored how healthcare professionals have responded to the impact of COVID-19 and what citizens should expect in the years to come. Other roundtable participants included Dr. Michael Horswell and Jeffrey Huber.
In the News: Older drivers wanted for FAU research (Boca Voice
FAU Community Health Center
Louis and Anne Green Memory & Wellness Center
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FAU College of Nursing · 777 Glades Rd · Boca Raton, FL 33431-6424 · USA

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