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

Dr. Jill Cunningham is a Professor, Graduate Associate Dean, 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 online teaching. In 2015 and 2019, 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 clinical practice. Dr. Cunningham serves as an active member on various professional nursing and community organizations.

Degrees and Certifications

  • D.N.P., University of Tennessee, Memphis
  • 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
  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Online education
  • Health and wellness

Awards and Honors

  • LANP Fellow (Leadership in Academic Nursing Program) (AACN), 2017-18
  • Alabama Outstanding Nurse Educator Award (NPAA), 2015 & 2019
  • Sigma Theta Tau International (SST), honor society member


  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF)
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama (NPAA)

Recent Publications

  • Shanahan, T., & Cunningham, J. (2021). Keys to Trust-Building with Patients. Journal of Christian Nursing38 (2), E11–E14.
  • 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.

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.