Jill  Cunningham
Professor, Graduate Associate Dean and Chair, Family Nurse Practitioner Program
Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing
1539 CHS Building 1

Dr. Jill Cunningham is a Professor and Nurse Practitioner Department Chair at Samford University. She has been a board certified family nurse practitioner (FNP-BC) since 1998. She earned her DNP from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee and her MSN and BSN from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She has taught across the nursing curriculum from BSN to DNP, including classroom and on-line teaching. In 2015, she received Alabama’s Outstanding Nurse Educator Award by the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama. Dr. Cunningham has published peer-reviewed articles related to interprofessional education and service to individuals with disabilities. She has presented at numerous local and national conferences and maintains a clinical practice in student health services. Dr. Cunningham serves as an active member on various nursing professional organizations at the local and national level.

Degrees and Certifications

  • D.N.P., University of Tennessee
  • M.S.N., University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • B.S.N., University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Certification, American Nurses Credentialing Center


  • Advanced practice nursing across the lifespan
  • Student health
  • Children and adults with developmental disabilities

Awards and Honors

  • LANP Fellow (Leadership in Academic Nursing Program) (AACN), 2017-18
  • Alabama Outstanding Nurse Educator Award (NPAA), 2015
  • Samford University tenure, 2012
  • Life Without Limits - Outstanding Partner Award; United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, 2011
  • Excellence in Nursing Award, B-Metro magazine, 2010


  • Sigma Theta Tau International (SST), honor society member
  • American Associate of College of Nursing (AACN), LANP Fellow
  • NAtional Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty, member
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), member
  • Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama (NPAA), member
  • Disability Leadership Coalition of Alabama (DCLA), member

Recent Publications

  • Johnston, K., Cunningham, J., & Buckner, E. (2017). Respite care camps: Helping parents and children with special healthcare needs. Association of Camp Nursing: Compass Point, 27 (3), 10-13
  • Collins, A., Broeseker, A., Cunningham, J., Cortes, C., Beall, J., Bigham, A., & Chang, J. (2017). A Longitudinal Online Interprofessional Education Experience Involving Family Nurse Practitioner Students and Pharmacy Students. Journal of Interprofessional Care. Doi: 10.1080/13561820.2016.1255600
  • Bigham, A., Cunningham, J., & Johnston, K. (2017). Respite care for families of children with disabilities: A university/faith community model. Journal of Christian Nursing, 34 (1), 52-58. Doi:10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000337

Recent Presentations:

  • Cunningham, J. L. & Johnston, K. (2019). Respite care: An interprofessional university/faith community model. National Academies of Practice, 2019 NAP Annual Meeting & Forum, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA. 
  • Cunningham, J. L. & Pannell, S. (2019). Launching a special needs ministry for children. Disability and the Church Conference, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Cunningham, J. L. & Johnston, K. (2019). The use of folic acid for birth defect prevention and faith-based care for families with children with birth defects. East Campus Convocation. Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Collins, A., Cunningham, J. L., & Bigham, A. (2016). Incorporating Interprofessional Education in an Online FNP Program: Phase I. American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2016 National Conference, San Antonio, Texas.