(810) 762-3420
School of Nursing


Assistant Professor of Nursing

Dr. Behnke is a well-seasoned practitioner with extensive experience as a nurse, nurse practitioner, and educator. She began her career as a diploma graduate from Mercy School of Nursing of Detroit. After graduation, she became a critical care nurse, being one of the first CCRN certified nurses in the Flint area. After leading the CCU-PCCU at St. Joseph Hospital for 7 years, she moved to critical care education, providing orientation and skills training for ICU-CCU nurses. During that time, she also completed a Bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University. After having met so many people with heart disease and desperate critical care issues, she became interested in disease prevention and completed her MSN Family Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Clinical Specialist from Michigan State in 1990. Fortunately, with a history in Critical care, heart disease in women became a research interest. As a board- certified FNP, Dr. Behnke has practiced in a variety of roles in the Flint and Northern Michigan areas including family practice, health promotion and disease prevention, cardiology, heart failure, skilled and long term care, and maintains an integrative medicine practice in Northeast Michigan. Dr. Behnke was the first Nurse Practitioner to achieve medical staff privileges at St. Joseph Hospital in Flint and the former Alpena Regional Medical Center. A common thread among all of these roles is education. Dr. Behnke has practiced as a preceptor for NPs and physicians in training since 1992 and has served as adjunct faculty for Michigan State University, Saginaw Valley State University, the University of Michigan Flint, and has been an invited speaker for Oakland University, Wayne State, and the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. In 2011 she began her DNP program in Evidence Based Practice at the University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah. She was able to combine a passion for travel, research, education, and service in that program. She obtained her DNP in 2013. Dr. Behnke joined the full - time faculty at the University of Michigan Flint in January of 2017, and joined the tenure track faculty in September of 2017. Dr. Behnke is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Sigma Theta Tau, AANP, AACN, MICNP, AHA, AAHFN, WomenHeart, the Association for Integrative Medicine and an Associate of the American College of Cardiology.



Dr. Behnke has taught in the RN to BSN program, and the DNP program. Her courses include Integrative Wellness, Physical Assessment, Nursing Theory, and the clinical component of the Geriatric practicum. Dr. Behnke also developed and produced the rural health modules used in the DNP program.



Dr. Behnke’s research interests include assisting to reduce falls in long term care by screening and treating for vitamin D deficiency. Heart Disease in Women, Heart Failure and Self care for women. She also publishes regularly in the Connection, a quarterly report for the Association of Heart Failure Nurses. She has 2 chapters in the new “Pocket guide” for treating heart failure and is currently lead in the production of a heart failure guide for long term care.



Dr. Behnke can frequently be seen on campus with a saxophone in her hands, performing with the University Jazz Ensemble.  She also serves on the Graduate Faculty Committee, Graduate Curriculum Committee, Graduate Student Awards and Scholarships Committee, and the University Technology Committee.  In her community, she serves on the Northeast Michigan Community Service board, and is a member of the National Governing Board for WomenHeart, the national coalition of women with heart disease.  She is also serving as an advisor to the Society to Improve Diagnosis.