The Florida Board of Governors Strategic Planning Committee approved the proposal during a meeting Oct. 3.
The University of North Florida's proposal to build a hub for health care-related education in Palm Coast's Town Center Innovation District got an initial go-ahead during a meeting before the Florida Board of Governors Strategic Planning Committee on Oct 3.
The Board of Governors is responsible for governing the state's universities, and for approving universities' requests for state funding before those requests are forwarded to the Legislature for approval, and, from there, to the governor.
The Strategic Planning Committee gave the UNF proposal an enthusiastic, unanimous endorsement Oct. 3 after UNF President David Szymanski presented it during the meeting.
The proposal, called UNF MedNex, had its genesis in a UNF Board of Trustees member's suggestion to Szymanski that UNF add a med school. That isn't currently feasible, Szymanski said.
But, he said, "It's a really interesting problem, because we can do things in the health care area outside of having a med school."
"We have a lot of health care within the Jacksonville area — huge workforce shortages," he said.
Jacksonville is already a medical hub, he said, which is "something that really can not only distinguish our region, but distinguish our state."
As for support and partnerships for MedNex, he said, "There's letters from Mayo Clinic, Brooks Rehab, AdventHealth, Memorial, the city of Jacksonville, city of Palm Coast, Daytona State, Florida State, and even Johns Hopkins said, 'Can we play too?' So, that was unsolicited."
UNF is requesting $12 million in funding for the proposal this year, he said, of which about half would be recurring. The proposal will next go before the full Board of Governors for approval.
See previous coverage of UNF MedNex here: https://www.palmcoastobserver.com/article/university-of-north-florida-proposes-palm-coast-nexus-for-healthcare-education.