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JU Simulation Training and Applied Research (STAR) Center named one of only four Regional Training Centers in Florida

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJacksonville University’s new Simulation Training and Applied Research (STAR) Center is one of only four statewide hubs to be named a Regional Training Center, which will bring higher levels of training for College of Health Sciences faculty to benefit students and the area health care community.

The designation by the Florida Healthcare Simulation Alliance arose because of the center’s outstanding instructors, stellar technology and cutting-edge academic programs. It means JU has the region’s premier facility to offer health care training for educators in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties, as well as for continuing education for area hospital professionals.

“Because of the advanced level of our faculty, curriculum, collaborative partnerships and instrumentation, we will now receive the highest-quality materials and training from FHSA for our educators, which will increase our students’ skills and our area hospitals’ quality of care,” said Kathleen Kavanagh, director of the STAR Center and assistant professor of nursing.

“This also affirms we are now in the strongest position possible to receive additional external revenue and develop even more sophisticated training that creates experiential knowledge,” Kavanagh added. “That leads to students who are more capable to employers because of their higher level of functioning.”

Among its many features, the STAR Center, which opened in August in the College of Health Sciences’ new state-of-the-art, 30,000-square-foot building, includes 14 mid- and high-fidelity training mannequins that simulate CPR; vital signs; heart, lung and abdominal sounds; EKG changes; arrhythmias; dysphagia; and more.

The center’s new SimMom for pregnancy and delivery, for example, is newly updated by Laerdal Corp. of Norway and is an advanced, full-body birthing simulator with accurate anatomy and functionality for obstetric training.

The classification is all the more valuable because the Florida Board of Nursing recently approved the use of simulation training for up to 50 percent of a nursing student’s experiential learning, which can be used in combination with the required 50 percent clinical practicum requirements (human clinical experience).

This year, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing released the results of the landmark National Simulation Study, which provide “substantial evidence that substituting high-quality simulation experiences for up to half of traditional clinical hours produces comparable end-of-program educational outcomes and new graduates that are ready for clinical practice.”

“We can offer scenarios in our center that students aren’t often exposed to[KK1]  in the clinical setting, such as patient complications involving hemorrhaging, or someone in cardiac arrest,” Kavanagh said. “This is what improves higher-level critical thinking, decision-making, communication, confidence and assessment skills, so our graduates are more prepared.”

The designation also will lead to more on-site conferences for professionals, as well as community training, preventative care workshops and disaster response scenarios, Kavanagh said.

College of Health Sciences Dean Dr. Christine Sapienza said the FHSA designation continues to demonstrate JU’s commitment to innovative academic delivery models for health care education, flexibility and high-level training environments that are critically important.

JU’s STAR Center joins Palm Beach State College, Pensacola State College and State College of Florida in Manatee-Sarasota as part of the elite FHSA Regional Training Center group.

For more information about the STAR Center in the JU College of Health Sciences, visit

About the JU College of Health Sciences
The College of Health Sciences prepares students to join a workforce community of healthcare professionals who provide exemplary service and care to a diverse population of individuals. Faculty and staff are innovative, creative and engaged in advancing the knowledge and skills to improve the delivery of health and human services. The College of Health Sciences contains the highly regarded School of Nursing, the School of Applied Health Sciences and the School of Orthodontics. The School of Applied Health Sciences includes the newly created department of Kinesiology and the dynamic department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

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