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MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Dardet

FAU’s Diabetes Education and Research Center Names New Leadership Team

BOCA RATON, FL (November 3, 2011) – Florida Atlantic University’s Diabetes Education and Research Center has named a new leadership team. The Center, funded by a grant from the Palm Healthcare Foundation, has announced Kathleen Valentine, Ph.D., R.N., as director; Eugenia Millender, R.N., P.M.H.F.N.P., C.C.R.N., as clinical director; Gay Lapinski, M.B.A., as program director; Dr. Mary Vaccarello-Cruz, M.D., as medical director; and Amy Henneman, Pharm.D., as director of pharmacy services.

Established in 2008 and managed by Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing in collaboration with the Gregory School of Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBAU), the Center provides services and support for children and adults who may be at risk for diabetes, have diabetes or are at risk of complications of diabetes.

Leadership team highlights include:

  • Kathleen Valentine, director, is also the director for the other  Center of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, FAU’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center.  Throughout her nursing career, Valentine has led health care initiatives to advance professional nursing practice, caring and health promotion.  She has extensive leadership experience in complex health care organizations across the country, including hospital systems, large multi-specialty physician practices, health care insurers and academic nursing.
  • Eugenia Millender, clinical director,   is a psychiatric and mental health family nurse practitioner whose prior experience includes more than 10 years as a critical care nurse and six years in the U.S. Army.  She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in nursing from FAU’s College of Nursing where her research focus is on the impact of social determinants of health on the mental and physical well-being of minority populations. 
  • Gay Lapinski, program director, possesses a unique combination of skills and work experience in business and project management, health care administration and research compliance. Before joining FAU, Lapinski worked in research compliance as quality assurance auditor in good clinical practice for the University of Miami.  Prior to that, Lapinski worked in a hospital setting as a grant project administrator and a manager of a cancer clinical trials program, and with various pharmaceutical companies leading and conducting research compliance audits in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Puerto Rico.
  • Dr. Mary Vaccarello-Cruz, medical director, is a pediatric endocrinologist who practices in Palm Beach Gardens and is on the medical staff at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital and Jupiter Medical Center.  She sits on the advisory board for the diabetes center at Jupiter Medical Center and the Florida Camp for Children and Youth with Diabetes.  
  • Amy Henneman, director of pharmacy services, is a clinical pharmacist whose role includes medication management and education. Henneman serves as assistant professor of pharmacy practice for PBAU where she teaches in courses involving disease prevention, endocrinology and drug information. In addition, she is a clinical preceptor for PBAU pharmacy students.

“The Diabetes Education and Research Center is a vibrant learning laboratory for university students, providing interprofessional educational experiences for students in the health-related disciplines. In addition, the Center offers research and practice opportunities for faculty and students in the College of Nursing while serving the community,” said Marlaine Smith, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Nursing and Helen K. Persson Eminent Scholar.  “Dr. Valentine and her team bring a unique array of clinical, teaching and administrative experience to the Center, which will benefit the clients and student community. We are so grateful for Palm Healthcare’s support of this important project.”

The Center is located in the Palm Healthcare Pavilion in West Palm Beach, and with financial support from the Palm Healthcare Foundation, provides care for all socioeconomic groups regardless of the method of payment.

For more information on the Diabetes Education and Research Center, call 561-803-8880 or visit


Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is committed to nurturing the wholeness of persons and environment through Caring.

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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