Palm Coast - Expanding healthcare education and training locally, in turn, expands healthcare to patients and local residents. It's a cycle that will lead to benefits for Palm Coast, Flagler County and throughout the region.

At the heart of that idea is the University of North Florida's MedNexus, which is designed to be the nation's first comprehensive, university-based medical and healthcare nexus to educate and train medical professionals in an expansive set of disciplines including nursing, rehabilitation, genetic and addiction counseling, nutrition, sciences, engineering, analytics, psychology, computing and philosophy.

This innovative partnership brings together regional stakeholders to advance students from Flagler County Schools, to Daytona State College, to UNF, and AdventHealth.

At an October ceremony celebrating MedNexus' entry to Palm Coast, UNF President David Szymanski and Daytona State College President Tom LoBasso signed an official Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions that will further elevate healthcare education and support the specific needs of the region.  

"The partnership with UNF should open additional healthcare education seats which are typically limited access, thus more locally trained healthcare professionals should mean that more will work and live in the area," said Dr. Colin Chesley, Associate Vice President with the College of Health and Public Services at Daytona State College. "Our hope is that MedNex will provide additional educational opportunities to our students beyond our own offerings, and that additional clinical sites will be opened that can become clinical affiliates with the college where our students can complete practicums and clinicals."

Support also includes a new nursing simulation lab from AdventHealth. The nursing simulation lab is a state-of-the-art laboratory that allows students to learn and become familiar with practical health care situations in an interactive and engaging environment through real-time exercises. Additionally, according to AdventHealth, the simulation lab, which is planned to be built, allows for experienced nurses and clinicians already employed by hospital to strengthen their expertise and practical knowledge through continuing education scenarios.

"From the AdventHealth perspective, the MedNexus project serves as a catalyst for access to high quality healthcare for Flagler County residents as well as an additional opportunity for AdventHealth to recruit and retain high quality, skilled healthcare practitioners to AdventHealth Palm Coast," said Wally De Aquino, Chief Operating Officer of AdventHealth Palm Coast.

Additionally, the MedNexus project allows AdventHealth and Daytona State College to further their relationships with the community by being committed to an economic development project that will directly benefit community health, education and employment opportunities for Palm Coast residents.

Read the first part of this story here: