One of the world’s first 22 certified advanced healthcare simulation educators worldwide, Dr. Desiree Díaz’s research combines the cutting-edge technology of simulation with the deeper human emotion of empathy to improve the care for underserved patient populations. For Díaz, it is about blending the aesthetic side of nursing with the medical necessities to foster an environment of well being. Díaz believes it is important to not just teach the skills and proper responses to situations, but to unveil the inner thoughts and critical thinking of the person behind those actions.

Her research, which has been widely presented and published, focuses on training healthcare providers to more effectively care for underserved patient populations, including correctional healthcare, English Language Learners, and the LGBTQ+ community.

While at UCF, Díaz has continued her research in correctional healthcare using simulations to improve team communication during events such as attempted loss of life, acute cardiac crisis and crisis interventions. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the Academy of Nursing Education. She has also served as a simulation mentor for the International Nursing Association Simulation Clinical Learning.

Previously, she was an associate clinical professor and director of clinical simulation and resource laboratories at the University of Connecticut. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University working with nationally renowned simulation expert Dr. Pamela Jeffries.

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Global Health Initiatives

  • Yantalo, Peru (5/19 and 4/19): Co-lead clinical faculty, pediatric and perioperative care
  • Iguazo Falls, Brazil (10/18): Lead exploratory clinical placement, pediatric care and healthcare simulation
  • George Town, Guyana (10/16): Lead exploratory clinical placement, pediatric care
  • Cape Town, South Africa (8/15 and 11/13): Lead clinical faculty, pediatric and community care
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico (1/11 and 10/09): Lead clinical faculty, adult medical and surgical care and adult community care


  • FNP Certificate, University of Central Florida
  • Postdoc in Simulation, Johns Hopkins University
  • PhD in Nursing, University of Connecticut
  • MSN, University of Connecticut
  • MS in Education, St. Joseph College of Maine
  • BSN, University of Connecticut

Expertise & Research