School of Nursing & Health Studies

Established in 1948 as the region’s first baccalaureate nursing program, the School has nearly 800 undergraduate and graduate trainees. With a minority enrollment of over 60% (30% Hispanic and 13% Black or African American, the student body remains among the most diverse in the nation. The school is a national leader in cultural competency and is home to El Centro, an NIH-funded Center of Excellence for Hispanic Health Disparities Research and the first P60 center grant ever awarded to a school of nursing. Under Dean Nena Peragallo’s leadership, El Centro was successfully renewed with a second NIH/NIMHD award for the 2012-2017 funding cycle, and has engaged 2,800 subjects in research studies since its inception. Having succeeded in several projects designed to improve health and living standards in the Caribbean and Latin America, the School was designated a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Nursing Human Resources Development and Patient Safety in 2008.

Faculty and students at the School of Nursing & Health Studies are engaged in a wide variety of interdisciplinary, evidence-based, culturally-competent research that advances nursing knowledge, improves patient safety and patient care, and impacts health systems, health policy and health disparities in minority populations. Research expertise at the school ranges from health disparities and minority health, HIV/AIDS and infectious diseases prevention and care, intimate partner and family violence, family and maternal/neonatal health, to patient safety and community-based health outcomes with a special emphasis on populations in South Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The school is currently ranked 1st in the state of Florida and 19th nationwide among schools of nursing for NIH funding.

The school is also committed to patient safety research initiatives that seek to address the grave issues of patient safety breakdowns and preventable medical errors in the health care system. An innovative study assessing the effectiveness of mindfulness training on ethical decision making by health care professionals has been funded by the Arsht Research on Ethics and Community grants program, with the school’s designated Patient Safety Assurance Director and Wallace Gilroy Endowed Chair in Nursing as lead scientist on this project. The school seeks to continue increasing the breadth and depth of its research capacity via completion of the simulation hospital, continued recruitment of faculty with strong research portfolios, and the inclusion of students at all levels in research initiatives.