Health & Science

HBOI Grad Student Awarded Aylesworth Scholarship

FAU graduate student Megan Conkling, who is pursuing her master's degree in Biology and conducting research at Harbor Branch, is one of only two Florida students who were recently awarded the Ayelsworth Scholarship. Conkling is studying the ecological implications of sponge-sponge associations in nature under the guidance of research professor Dr. Shirley Pomponi. The Aylesworth Scholarship is a joint program of the Aylesworth Foundation for the Advancement of Marine Science, the Southeastern Fisheries Association and the Florida Sea Grant College Program (click here to read the scholarship announcement from Florida Sea Grant.) 

"I am very grateful for this scholarship and the opportunities it will open for my research and myself," said Conkling. "I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Pomponi, for giving me the opportunity to prove myself at school and in the lab. I would also like to thank my parents for supporting me in following my dreams."

Upon completing her education, Conkling plans on pursuing a career as a research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 




Scientists Travel From China to Work With HBOI Researchers

Mangrove scientists from the People's Republic of China (PRC) spent time at FAU Harbor Branch working alongside Dr. Ed Proffitt and Dr. Donna Devlin. The collaboration is part of a cooperative agreement between Florida Atlantic University and PRC, which allows FAU graduate students to do part of their research in the mangroves of Guangzhou, China. The agreement in turn affords Chinese scientists the opportunity to travel here to study mangroves in the Indian River Lagoon and give lectures on their research.  

Picture caption: Dr. Ed Proffit traveled to the Research Institute of Tropical Forestry in Guangzhou, China last year as part of a collaboration between FAU and PRC.



FAU's College of Nursing Celebrates First-Ever White Coat Ceremony

Nearly 100 freshmen Florida Atlantic University nursing students recently took part in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing's first-ever white coat ceremony at the Boca Raton campus. FAU was one of only four universities in Florida, and 100 nationwide, to receive funding for this ceremony through a joint initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

These pilot white coat ceremonies were designed "to instill a commitment to providing compassionate care among future health professionals" and "to promote humanistic, patient-centered care among incoming nursing students," according to the APGF, themes that closely align with the College of Nursing's caring-centered approach to the nursing profession.

"The white coat ceremony was a very meaningful event that marked special milestones for our University, College and students," said Marlaine Smith, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing. "We are grateful to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for including us in this movement in modern nursing education."

In addition to being the first nursing white coat ceremony of its kind at FAU, the College also welcomed its first class of freshmen nursing students this fall as part of the College's new freshman-direct admission program, which allows outstanding freshmen to begin their nursing studies immediately, while in their first semester at FAU.


Enhancing Patient Safety Using an Interprofessional Approach

In its 1999 report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System," the Institute of Medicine defines medical errors as "the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong  plan to achieve an aim." And, according to The Joint Commission, more than 80 percent of medical errors can be attributed to miscommunication.To help increase clear and efficient communication among members of the healthcare team, and, ultimately, patient safety, faculty in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing are educating the next generation of nurses with an emphasis on interprofessional communication. One way this is being accomplished is through the TeamSTEPPS® (Team Strategies to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) program, which cross-trains students from the Colleges of Nursing and Medicine.

The program was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Department of Defense as an evidence-based curriculum for interprofessional collaborative practice promoting patient safety. Nursing and medical students sharpen their communication skills through role-playing scenarios, allowing faculty and students to reflect on the types of communication techniques that are most effective.Nursing Professors Terry Eggenberger and Kathryn Keller became Master Trainers for TeamSTEPPS® in 2009. TeamSTEPPS® was adopted as part of the nursing and medical school curricula, with nearly 700 students and more than 50 faculty members participating over the past five years.

"By taking an interprofessional approach to training through programs including TeamSTEPPS®, we are building the crucial communication skills necessary to prevent errors that are costly - financially, emotionally and medically," said Dr. Eggenberger.In addition to the TeamSTEPPS® program, FAU students in nursing, medicine and social work take joint interprofessional classes focused on health policy and the roles of various healthcare disciplines. Over the course of a year, students work together with residents of a senior living community to practice the team-based competencies they learn.

Building on their earlier work, Eggenberger and Keller are collaborating with the FAU College of Medicine's new residency program to develop an interprofessional education and practice model that will extend these efforts into local hospitals, beginning with Boca Raton Regional Hospital.


FAU Comparative Studies Student Association Presents 'Post Vital: Remaking Life and Death in Biomedicine'

The Comparative Studies Student Association (CSSA) of Florida Atlantic University presents keynote speaker Sherryl Vint from the University of California, Riverside on Friday, Oct. 24 at 1:30 p.m.. Her lecture, "Post-Vital: Remaking Life and Death in Biomedicine," will be held at the Live Oak Pavilion, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus, and is free and open to the public.

As part of the 2014 CSSA Conference, Vint will discuss how synthetic biology and organ transplantation are shaping and changing what it means to be human and/or alive. She is a professor of Science Fiction Media Studies and the co-director of the Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Program at the University of California, Riverside.

Vint is also an editor for the journals Science Fiction Studies and Science Fiction Film and Television. She has published widely on science fiction, including most recently "Science Fiction: A Guide to the Perplexed."

The CSSA is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. For more information, visit


 Last Modified 11/8/16