University of South Florida

USF College of Nursing to open free clinic for patients with chronic health conditions

CARE Tampa Bay clinic, offering education and support, will open its doors May 30 

Tampa, FL (May 26, 2015) –The University of South Florida College of Nursing will open a free clinic for people suffering with chronic health conditions. CARE Tampa Bay will open this Saturday, May 30, during a day-long grand opening event at its location on 217 S. Matanzas Ave., Tampa FL 33609.

The clinic, under the leadership of Cindy Tofthagen, PhD, assistant professor and director of the oncology concentration at USF Nursing, will provide education and support for people suffering with heart disease, cancer and neuropathy. The clinic will open on Saturdays by appointment only.


L to R: Faculty members Ponrathi Athilingam, PhD, and Cindy Tofthagen, PhD, with USF College of Nursing Dean Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, inside one of the clinic’s patient visit rooms. — Photo by Jose Donneys, College of Nursing

“CARE Tampa Bay’s mission is to offer educational and supportive care needs for people with chronic health conditions,” Dr. Tofthagen said. “Our goal is to improve communication between patients, families and health care providers, provide assistance with symptom management, connect patients with appropriate resources to manage their illness, and also provide them with education and supportive care services — to ultimately improve their health and overall quality of life.”

Dr. Tofthagen, director of the clinic, is responsible for coordinating educational services for people with neuropathy. USF Nursing’s Connie Visovsky, PhD, associate dean for student affairs and community engagement, will manage the education of patients with cancer-related issues. Ponrathi Athilingam, PhD, assistant professor and director of the acute care nurse practitioner concentration, will lead services for patients with heart conditions.

To see patients, USF Nursing will use the office of Sylvia Campbell, MD, the president of the board of the Judeo Christian Health Clinic in Tampa. USF Health colleges, including the College of Public Health and the College of Pharmacy, and health professionals from the Tampa Bay community will be instrumental in providing patient education.

“CARE Tampa Bay represents USF Nursing and what our profession is about — love, hope and support,” said Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Nursing. “I am proud of our College faculty and staff members who will help transform the lives of patients with chronic health conditions through much needed information and support.”

During the grand opening, CARE Tampa Bay will offer a two-hour workshop for caregivers on dealing with stress, which will be led by Susan McMillan, PhD, distinguished professor at USF Nursing. The clinic will also offer another workshop, led by Karen DeJoe, DO, a former primary care physician, and Kay M. Perrin, PhD, MPH, associate professor and assistant dean of undergraduate studies at the USF College of Public Health, which will provide tips for patients on how to better communicate with their health care providers.

There will also be a volunteer breakfast and orientation as well as an open house with refreshments and door prizes.

For more information about CARE Tampa Bay’s grand opening, contact Dr. Tofthagen at or call (813) 396-9441.

-USF Health-
USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities. For more information, visit

Media contact:
Vjollca “V” Hysenlika, USF College of Nursing Communications
(813)974-2017, or




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