South Florida Hospital News
Thursday February 25, 2021

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February 2021 - Volume 17 - Issue 8

FIU College of Nursing & Health Sciences, STAR Center Recruited by Florida National Guard to Train Medical Personnel for COVID-19 Field Hospital

April 27, 2020 - Hurricane preparedness. Earthquake response. Airlift evacuations. The Florida International University (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences and STAR Center can now add COVID-19 field training to its repertoire of emergency and disaster management support. Earlier this month, the Florida National Guard tapped educators from the College and Center to prepare medical personnel to man the 450-bed alternate care facility at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The “just in time” refresher training was provided for up to 70 physicians, nurses, combat medics and other health care personnel from the Florida National Guard. Twenty faculty members and staff from the College’s Nursing Practitioner and Nurse Anesthesia programs, the Simulation Teaching and Research Center – aka STAR Center – and graduate nursing and doctor of physical therapy students were onsite providing demonstrations and hands-on training to set up patients on ventilators, respond to respiratory and cardiac distress, proper donning/removal of PPE (personal protective equipment) and more.
“The Florida Guard and Joint Task Force Aide are grateful for the partnership with FIU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the STAR Center,” remarked Air Force Col. Patrick Lanaghan, Joint Task Force Aide Hospital Commander. “Their ability to mobilize quickly with the equipment, curriculum and educators to get our teams ready to support the state’s COVID-19 response is a credit to the University’s mission and College’s dedication to public health.”
The College and STAR Center have a long history of providing emergency health care services and support to the community. Currently, FIU Nursing faculty and students are joining forces with counterparts at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work to provide COVID-19 testing at Tamiami Park.
Since 2000, FIU Nursing has partnered with Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida Health Department to train and prepare staff nurses for hurricane season. In 2017, FIU Nursing faculty and alumni collaborated with the FIU Florida Advanced Surgical Transport Team (FIU-FAST) to assist with the large influx of patients in critical need of care at the on-campus hurricane shelter in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The STAR Center, which recreates fully operational clinic and hospital settings and 50,000 hours of simulated education scenarios to provide students with immersive, real-world learning experiences, is also a resource for disaster response training. For the next five years, the FIU STAR Center facility and staff will assist training disaster response medical professionals on proper aeromedical evacuation and specialized medical care to critically ill patients in-flight and during facility transfers. This is part of a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services National Disaster Medical System that was awarded to FIU’s Academy for International Disaster Preparedness at the College of Public Health & Social Work. 
“FIU’s fundamental vision since it opened its doors has been to offer solutions that meet the needs of the community it serves,” said Helen Cornely, Associate Dean of the Administration for the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “It was an honor to collaborate with The Florida National Guard and to provide the expertise, resources, and skills to help practitioners provide quality care to our community during this difficult time.”
FIU also has partnered with Baptist Health South Florida to 3D-print reusable face shields, which are meant to preserve the longevity of masks – which are in short supply. Additional shields are being printed for local fire rescue departments. To help the struggling hospitality industry in South Florida, FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management partnered with The SOBEWFF® to create a relief fund that is providing immediate financial support to the employees of independently owned and operated restaurants and bars impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
About the FIU Nicole Wertheim College Nursing & Health Sciences:
Established in 1982, the School of Nursing at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida was elevated to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences when it joined with the School of Health Sciences in October 2006. It was renamed as the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences in September 2013. The College offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees, as well as specialty certificates in programs across the departments of Nursing education, Athletic Training, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Health Services Administration, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The College’s Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are ranked No. 62 and No. 64, respectively, in the U.S. News and World Report 2021 Best Graduate Schools listing. For more information, visit  
About FIU:
Florida International University is Miami’s public research university. FIU is focused on student success. According to U.S. News and World Report, FIU has 35 programs in the top 100 in the nation among public universities, including 15 in the top 50. FIU is a top U.S. research university with more than $200 million in annual expenditures and is designated as an “Emerging Preeminent State Research University” by the Florida Board of Governors. FIU ranks 15th in the nation among public universities for patent production, which drives innovation, and is one of the institutions that helps make Florida the top state for higher education. The Next Horizon fundraising campaign is furthering FIU’s commitment to providing students Worlds Ahead opportunities. Today, FIU has two campuses and multiple centers, and supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA, with more than 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. The university has awarded more than 330,000 degrees to many leaders in South Florida and beyond. For more information about FIU, visit
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