Clinical Professor
Mary Benbenek


Office Phone
Office Address

6-119B WDH
308 Harvard St S E
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States


Katherine R. & C. Walton Lillehei Chair in Nursing Leadership
Specialty Coordinator, Family Nurse Practitioner Program


PhD, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

MS, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

BA, University of St. Catherine

Licensures and Certifications

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Minnesota Board of Nursing
Registered Nurse, Minnesota Board of Nursing
Family Nurse Practitioner, American Nurses Credentialing Center
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

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Biographical Summary

Dr. Benbenek is a recognized nurse leader, APRN clinical expert and global health champion. She is the first nurse practitioner to be appointed to the Drug Formulary Committee at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). She has served on MDH committees, local professional organization boards and national nurse practitioner organization projects. She has designed and implemented global partnerships and has worked to enlighten educational programs on global perspectives. 

Her clinical scholarship focuses on the key areas of: advanced practice nursing education, family-centered primary health care, global health and health promotion in underserved populations. Dr. Benbenek has earned national recognition as a clinical scholar in the area of nurse practitioner education and academic practice partnerships. She is a fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the National Academies of Practice. Dr. Benbenek’s leadership, innovation and recognition as a teacher are evident in the family nurse practitioner specialty area of study in the School of Nursing doctorate of nursing practice program.

Research Summary

  • Advanced practice nursing education
  • Global health
  • Health promotion
  • Immigrant health
  • Adolescent health
  • Bone health

Teaching Summary

Primary care; Pharmacology; Pediatrics; Health Assessment

Honors and Recognition

  • Katherine R. & C. Walton Lillehei Chair in Nursing Leadership, 2022
  • Fellow National Academies of Practice, 2020
  • Fellow American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2020
  • Internationalizing Teaching and Learning mentor program, 2019
  • LEADS program University of Minnesota, 2018
  • Internationalizing Teaching and Learning mentor program, 2018
  • University of Minnesota School of Nursing Alumni Award for Excellent Teaching, 2013
  • University of Minnesota School of Nursing E. Louise Grant Award, 2013
  • Minnesota Association of Colleges of Nursing Outstanding Educator Award, 2013
  • Daisy Award, 2012
  • Public Service Award, 2010
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, 2009
  • Theresa V. James Award for Doctoral Education, Center for Child and Family Health Promotion Research, 2007
  • Teacher Appreciation Award, 2005
  • Third District Nurses Advanced Practice Nurse Award, 2004
  • Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, 1994
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, 1994
  • Mended Hearts Scholarship, 1984

Professional Memberships

  • Center for Child and Family Health Promotion Research
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • Minnesota Nurse Practitioners, Education Board Member
  • ARPN Coalition


Selected Publications

Smith, S. K., Benbenek, M. M., Bakker, C. J., & Bockwoldt, D. (2022). Scoping review: Diagnostic reasoning as a component of clinical reasoning in the U.S. primary care nurse practitioner education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 78,3869-3896.

Pittenger, A. L., Goodroad, B., Nicol, M., Durgin, E. N., Eveland, L., Kaiser, R., Benbenek, M., Benson, N., Rybicki, S. (2019). Interprofessional Education within a Pilot HIV-care Elective Course. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 83(10), 2053-2058.

Gardenier, D., Benbenek, M. M., Friedrich, C. L. (2019). Should Nurse Practitioner Programs Share Courses? Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 15(7), 472-473.

Funk, K. A., Weaver, K. K., Benbenek, M., Anderson, J. K. (2019). Collaborative Practice Agreements Between Nurse Practitioners and Pharmacists. Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 15(7), e139-e141.

Benbenek, M. (2019). Common Medical Problems: Cardiovascular Through Hematological Disorders. In Schadewald, D., Pritham, U. A., Youngkin, E. Q., Davis, M. S., Juve, C. (Eds.), Women’s Health: A Primary Care Clinical Guide Pearson, (5th): Upper Saddle River, New Jersey,

Benbenek, M. (2017). Protecting the Health and Safety of Immigrant Patients. University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Faculty.

Benbenek, M., Dierich, M., Wyman, J., Avery, M., Juve, C., Miller, J., (2016). Development and Implementation of a Capstone Objective Structured Clinical Examination in Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Programs. Nurse Educator, 41(6), 288-293.

Benbenek, M., Biernacki, P. J., Bourret, R., Brennan, M., Hudock, K., LaRue, L., Mattern, M. F., Olson, C. M., Pavill, B., Pierre, N., Polvado, K. J., Smolka, H., Swanton, C. L., Thompson, C. (2016). Academic practice partnerships: Sharing the vision for advanced practice nursing education. Work group on academic/practice partnerships. Background paper. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty.

Benbenek, M., (2015). Internationalizing Teaching and Learning in a Graduate Doctor of Nursing Program Curriculum. Internationalizing Higher Education. In Williams, R. D., Lee, A. (Eds.), Sense Publishers, Rotterdam.

Benbenek, M., (2012). Enablers and Barriers to Dietary Factors Contributing to Bone Health Among Early Adolescent Somali Girls Living in Minnesota. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 17 (3): 205-214.

Pfeiffer, J., Avery, M., Benbenek, M. (2008). Maternal Care During Disasters: Thinking Outside the Hospital Paradigm. Nursing Clinics of North America, 43(3), 449-467.

Bata-Jones, B., Benbenek, M. (2003). Problem-Based Learning in a Family Nurse Practitioner Curriculum. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Monogram.


Podium Presentation: Friedrich, C., Benbenek, M., Borman-Shoap, E., Cullen, K., Danner, C., Lingras, K., Schlesinger, A. (2021, September). A Mental Health Crisis and a Workforce Solution: Improving Pediatric Mental Health Education for Trainees in Family and Pediatric Advance Practice Nursing, Family Medicine and Pediatrics.  National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education Annual Summit. Virtual. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Podium Presentation: Fyle-Thorpe, O., Brooks, G.,  Benbenek, M., Curtis, A., Moore, K., Schuman, L. (2021, April). NONPF Global Health Special Interest group, Symposium: All Health is Global: Incorporating Global Health and Social Justice into the APN Curriculum. NONPF Annual Conference, 2021. Virtual.

Podium Presentation: Friedrich, C., Benbenek, M., Pereira, C., Hager, K. (202, April). Implementing an Interprofessional Workshop for Graduate level Nursing, and Medical and Pharmacy Residents to Promote Core Skills in Team-Based Outpatient Care. Virtually.

Podium presentation: Smith, S., Bockwoldt, D., Benbenek, M. (2020, April). Diagnostic Reasoning. Virtually.

Poster Presentation: Benbenek, M., Hayden, A., Moore, K., Wood, C.  (2020, April). Establishing Student Mentor/Mentee Dyads in a Family Nurse Practitioner Program to Facilitate Student Success. Virtual.

Poster presentation: Benbenek, M., Hayden, A., Moore, K., Wood, S. (2019, April). Development of a One-Day Clinical Orientation Day for FNP Students. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Podium presentation: Benbenek, M, Moore, K., Fjone, A. (2019, April). Implementing a Community-Based Clinical Partnership with Head Start for Nurse Practitioner Students. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA

Podium presentation: Benbenek, M. and Peterson, B. (2019, April). An Interprofessional Collaborative Project to Integrate Primary Care Services into Community Mental Health Settings. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Grants and Patents

Selected Grants

Award: D2D Patients Engaged! Exploring Patient Perspectives on Primary Care
Principal Investigator: Benbenek, Mary
Sponsoring Organization: University of Minnesota SON Foundation Grant
Award Dates: August 2022 - September 2022

Award: Development, Usability Evaluation, and Pilot Feasibility Study of an mHealth Applicatiaon Supporting Self-Management of Accidental Bowel Leakage, "I'M ABLe"
Principal Investigator: Bliss, Donna Z
Sponsoring Organization: NIH NINR NATL INST OF NURSING
Award Dates: 2020 - 2022

Award: A Mental Health Crisis and a Workforce Solution: Improving Mental Health Education for Pediatrics Trainees
Principal Investigator: Borman-Shoap, Emily; Cullen, Kathryn; Co-Investigator: Benbenek, Mary
Sponsoring Organization: Academic Investment Advisory Committee Tier 3 Funding (UMN College of Medicine and Fairview Health Services)
Award Dates: Spring 2020-Fall 2022

Award: An Exploration of Public Attitudes about Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy
Principal Investigator: Benbenek, Mary M.
Sponsoring Organization: School of Nursing Josten Research Award
Award Dates: August 2021 - September 2021

Award: Development and Pilot Testing an MHealth Application Supporting Self-Management of Accidental Bowel Leakage, "I'M ABLE". 
Principal Investigator, Bliss, Donna; Co-Investigator, Benbenek, Mary
Sponsoring Organization: NINR, NIH
December 2020 - present

Award: Enhancing Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP)  and FNP DNP Student Readiness to Provide Integrated, Interprofessional Health Care to Persons with Mental Illness and Complex Medical Needs Who Are Typically Underserved in Urban and Rural Communities.
Principal Investigator: Kaas, Merrie; Co-Project Director: Benbenek, Mary
Sponsoring Organization: HRSA Advanced Nursing Education Grant
Award Dates: 2016 - 2019

Award: Diagnostic Reasoning Content in Midwest NP and CNM Education Programs
Principal Investigator: Smith, Sheila
Award Dates: 2020

Award: Advanced Nursing Education Grants
Principal Investigator: Avery, Melissa D
Sponsoring Organization: US Dept. of Health & Human Services HRSA
Award Dates: 2011 - 2015

Award: Addressing Health Disparities through DNP Preparation
Sponsoring Organization: US Dept. of Health & Human Services HRSA
Award Dates: 2009 - 2012

Award: Sunlight Exposure, Dietary, and Dress Habits of Somali Girls
Principal Investigator: Benbenek, Mary Mescher
Award Dates: 2008 - 2010