Northeast Florida Roundup
A University of Florida professor and researchers from around the U.S. have found a way to make fentanyl less addictive. Although fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, helps people with severe pain, it also has many dangerous side effects. Opioids were associated with 107,477 overdose deaths in the U.S. for the 12 months ended in August 2022.
Jay McLaughlin of the UF College of Pharmacy was one of the co-authors of a recent study in the journal Nature that looks at how fentanyl and morphine bind to the body’s mu opioid receptor, causing both relief of pain but also serious side effects such as slowed breathing, seizures and dependency. Using mice, they found that the medication they designed can provide pain relief but turn off the receptor before the more negative side effects occur.
Further studies are underway to confirm the drug’s safety before it can be tested in human clinical trials, McLaughlin says.
- Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside in Jacksonville has stopped providing maternity care due to lower demand. The decision affected 68 employees. Maternity care is still available at Ascension St. Vincent’s Southside and Ascension St. Vincent’s Clay County.
- UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital in Gainesville was fined $14,500 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to protect employees from workplace violence after employees received bone fractures and concussions from altercations with patients. According to OSHA, Shands leaders agreed to implement mandatory workplace violence training for employees who interact with patients with a history of violence and will take other steps to lower the chance of future incidents. Baptist Health of Northeast Florida has opened its Baptist Health Clinical School to provide training courses for professional certifications. It kicked off with a 15-week certified nursing assistant preparation course. UF Health Jacksonville has opened a hybrid emergency room/urgent care in Jacksonville, with two other similar facilities under construction in the area. The hybrid emergency room/ urgent care is under development with Intuitive Health of Dallas.
- The hybrid facilities will have lab equipment and a radiology suite. An emergency medicine physician will examine each patient to determine the level of care needed.
- Cadrenal Therapeutics of Ponte Vedra went public. The company is focused mainly on the development of tecarfarin, designed to prevent blood clots in patients with end-stage renal disease and atrial fibrillation.
- FlexCold, a cold storage warehousing company that opened a warehouse in Jacksonville late last year, will expand it by more than 350,000 square feet. The company has received tax incentives from the city of Jacksonville.
- The Jacksonville Housing Authority has approved two development projects that will create 152 affordable single-family and townhome units. Chase Properties will include 102 townhomes on 19 acres. JHA will issue revenue bonds to finance the $33-million buildout. For the second project, JWB Real Estate Capital is selling 50 single-family homes located in eight ZIP codes. JHA will acquire the homes for $11.5 million.
- Fidelity National Information Services has laid off 2,600 employees and contractors this year. The company has a new 12-story headquarters that opened downtown in October. At the time, it said that it would add 500 more jobs to the 1,216 employees it had in Jacksonville. The company, which has about 65,000 employees, has faced pressure from shareholders to cut costs, according to news reports.
- Quiet Logistics is closing its Jacksonville location and laying off 74 employees. The Jacksonville location opened in 2020. The Massachusetts-based order fulfillment and returns management company was acquired by American Eagle Outfitters in 2021.
- Joe Glover will leave his position as provost of the University of Florida in July. He will still serve as a senior adviser to UF President Ben Sasse.
- Jacksonville University has expanded its one-year accelerated bachelor’s in nursing program to include a partnership with Mayo Clinic. Students in the 12-month second degree BSN program will complete their clinical hours at Mayo. Jacksonville University also has partnerships with Baptist Health and Flagler Hospital.
- Matt Rapp, senior vice president of championship management for the PGA Tour, is the new board chair for North Florida Land Trust. He was previously vice chair for the organization. He succeeds John Delaney. Allison DeFoor is the organization’s new president after serving as interim president since August. North Florida Land Trust also announced the purchase of 219 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway in Jacksonville from Atlantic Group Holding Co. Atlantic Group is composed of the heirs of Hartcourt Bull, the first mayor of Atlantic Beach, and his wife, Florence. The Bulls had owned the land since 1949. The purchase is adjacent to North Florida Land Trust’s River Branch Islands Preserve.