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FAU Health Network | September Newsletter

September 2022

The Latest News From FAU Health Network

Florida Atlantic Hosts FAU Health Network
Meeting with Legislative Leaders
On August 17, nearly 50 guests attended a FAU Health Network meeting with legislative leaders from the Florida House of Representatives, which took place in the Executive Education Building of the Schmidt Family Complex on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. The newly-launched FAU Health Network is a regional partnership that has been designed to deliver premier academic medicine to southeast Florida and address critical workforce pressures through enhanced medical education programs, accelerated medical research innovation, and access to clinical trials — all while continuing to provide exceptional patient care.
Among the dignitaries at the legislative meeting were Florida House Speaker-Designate Representative Paul Renner; Representative Thomas Leek; Representative Mike Giallombardo, Representative Toby Overdorf; Representative John Snyder; Representative Dana Trabulsy; Representative Chip LaMarca; and Representative Michael Caruso.
The Florida legislators joined FAU President John Kelly; FAU Board of Trustees Chair Brad Levine; FAU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Barbara Feingold; and FAU Dean and Vice President of Medical Affairs Julie G. Pilitsis, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
The impetus of this legislative meeting was to highlight the vision, mission and goals of the FAU Health Network aimed at bringing premier academic medicine to southeast Florida – home to 3.9 million residents. Southeast Florida has seen an increase of 12.5 percent in its population between 2010 and 2021, with expected growth and changing demographics in the foreseeable future. Without the ability to train more health professionals, Florida will not be able to meet more than 23 percent of the state’s health care needs.
“As physician demand is expected to grow by 27 percent from 2019 to 2035, the FAU Health Network will be at the forefront to train more health professionals from physicians to nurses to dentists to social workers and other health care professionals,” said Dr. Pilitsis.
At the meeting, Dr. Pilitsis provided an overview of Florida’s health care landscape emphasizing that Florida ranks 41 in the nation for access to health care. Of note, Florida has a combined projected shortfall of 59,000 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses by 2035.
Among the looming shortages of health care professionals, Florida also is facing a shortage of dentists. In fact, 63 of 67 counties in Florida suffer a dental shortage affecting about five million citizens.
Dr. Pilitsis explained that in order to achieve the vision for the FAU Health Network, two critical components are needed, including an expansion of FAU Health and the establishment of a College of Dentistry at FAU. As the third largest state in the nation, Florida only has one public dental school, limiting the pipeline of dental providers. As such, during the meeting, legislators and FAU leadership discussed the viability of a College of Dentistry at FAU.
Dr. Pilitsis also shared several of FAU’s points of pride, including a 73 percent increase in sponsored life science research during the past five years; a 95.9 percent first-time pass rate for FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing graduates on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®); retaining 90 percent of nurses and 50 percent of medical residents in Florida; and the Schmidt College of Medicine receiving 100 applications for each medical student spot. FAU leadership plans to expand enrollment in the Schmidt College of Medicine in the future.  
Among the guests in attendance included FAU benefactor Dick Schmidt; interim FAU Provost Michele Hawkins, Ph.D.; Stella Batalama, Ph.D., Dean, FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science; Valery Forbes, Ph.D., Dean, FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Science; Daniel Gropper, Ph.D., Dean, FAU College of Business; Naelys Luna, Ph.D., Dean, FAU College of Social Work and Criminal Justice; and FAU Board of Trustee members Kimberly Dunn, Ph.D.; Earnie Ellison; Robert Flippo; Pierce Kennamer; and Linda Stoch.
Other distinguished guests included Matthias Haury, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience; Brad Friedman, Chairman, Board of Commissioners, Memorial Healthcare System; Lincoln S. Mendez, CEO, Boca Raton Regional Hospital; K. Scott Wester, President and CEO, Memorial Healthcare System; Christopher Pernicano, Vice Chair, Board of Commissioners, Broward Health; Nora Powell, Ph.D., Dean of Allied Health Sciences, Broward College; Danielle Hartman, President and CEO, Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services; and representatives from Helix Virtual Medicine, among others.
2022 Hispanic Women of Distinction
Congratulations Naelys Luna, Ph.D., founding dean of the College of Social Work and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University, for being named 2022 Hispanic Woman of Distinction!
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New Dean of Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Valery Forbes, Ph.D., is Florida Atlantic University's new dean of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.
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Congratulations to Matthew Waldron, M.D. on being selected to receive the 2022 FAFP Exemplary Volunteer Educator Award, a prestigious award created to recognize an outstanding family physician for their dedication, expertise and ability to provide the highest quality instruction to physicians in all phases of their medical training and practice in a volunteer capacity. Dr. Waldron is a Family Physician at Memorial Healthcare System and one of the Preseptor's for the FAU Schmidt College of Medicine.
FAU makes history as it welcomes students for fall semesterFlorida Atlantic University has officially welcomed the largest incoming freshman class in university history for the fall semester, totaling more than 4,350 students.
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A study led by FAU’s Eric Hecht, M.D., Ph.D., an affiliate associate professor; and Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.PH, first Sir Richard Doll Professor of Medicine and senior academic advisor, Schmidt College of Medicine, has received international media attention.
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Boca Raton Tribune: 12th Annual White Coats-4-Care Reception Raised a Record $1 Million in Student Scholarship Funds to “Dress and Equip.”
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Marcus Neuroscience Institute Knock Out Stroke and Cardiac Events Symposium
Live Virtual Symposium
Thursday, September 15, 2022
This symposium is designed to provide clinicians with in-depth reviews of the latest science and cutting-edge advances in the treatment of stroke mimics, change process to tenecteplase, atrial fibrillation and appendage closures, among other topics.
Enroll Today
Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Palm Beach & Martin County High School Teachers: MPFI's Career Day is September 17. Apply for the chance for you & 10 of your students to visit the institute, meet our researchers, & learn about having a career in science.
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1st Annual Addiction Weekend

You are cordially invited to the 1st Annual Addiction Weekend on October 28-29, 2022. There are several events throughout the weekend ranging from poster presentations to lectures. 
For additional information and questions regarding the weekend, please contact Jordan Hession at
You can find more information, register and RSVP to the events by clicking on the  invitations below. 
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