FSU College of Nursing partners with United Health Foundation to establish Military Health concentration

Florida State University’s College of Nursing has received a $1.25 million commitment from the United Health Foundation to prepare nurse practitioners to better address the distinct health needs of individuals who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The three-year partnership with the United Health Foundation will allow the FSU College of Nursing to equip nurses with skills to better serve the unique needs of veterans.

“We are so grateful to the United Health Foundation for its partnership and generous support of this important initiative,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “Together, we will better meet the critical health care needs of current members of the military and veterans who have given so much to our country.”

Those who served in the Armed Forces face distinct health challenges, such as higher rates of chronic disease and behavioral health concerns, according to America’s Health Rankings latest report on the Health of Those Who Have Served. The findings highlight a need for community-based providers to receive training in military cultural competency and evidence-based approaches for treating issues more commonly seen among those with military service.

The partnership with the United Health Foundation will create a new graduate-level Military Health concentration at the FSU College of Nursing that will train nurse practitioners to provide high-quality care for active duty military service members, veterans, citizen soldiers and their families. To help expand the capacity of the existing workforce, the partnership will also allow FSU to offer new continuing education units for practicing nurse practitioners on military cultures and evidence-based interventions to improve military and veteran health.

“Equipping our future health care workforce with the understanding and skills necessary to address the health care needs of our military, veterans and their families is a top priority,” said Laurie Grubbs, interim dean of the FSU College of Nursing. “Thanks to the United Health Foundation, we can prepare a new generation of health care providers specialized in Military Health so they are better prepared to meet veterans’ needs across Florida and the nation.”

Funding is also supporting the first annual Military Health Issues Facing Military & Veterans Mental Health Conference, which will be hosted virtually by the FSU College of Nursing Friday, Sept. 25.

The United Health Foundation was established in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. UnitedHealth Group — including UnitedHealthcare, Optum and the United Health Foundation — has a long-standing commitment to developing a health workforce that is best equipped to meet the customized needs of patients, including military service members, veterans and their families.

“Through research by the United Health Foundation and others, we know that those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces often have unique health needs connected to their service throughout their lives. Many of these health needs may go unrecognized in our health system,” said Patricia Horoho, chief executive officer of OptumServe, which is part of UnitedHealth Group. During her 33-year Army career, Horoho led the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and was appointed as the first nurse and woman to serve as the U.S. Army Surgeon General and MEDCOM Commander.

“I am excited about this partnership with the Florida State College of Nursing to prepare a new generation of health care providers who are able to better recognize and treat the distinct health needs of service members, veterans and their families,” she said.

For more information about the FSU College of Nursing, visit nursing.fsu.edu. To learn more about the United Health Foundation and UnitedHealth Group, visit unitedhealthgroup.com.