A key goal of the college is to expose every student to the values, experiences and beliefs of people who may be different from them socially, ethnically, economically and geographically.
Apr 8, 2013
Text by Jody Grenert; photos courtesy of the College of Health Sciences and Professions
The College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP), with more than 8,000 students enrolled in its online and Athens and regional campus programs, is home to Ohio University’s fastest-growing academic programs. The college’s roots date to 1979, and its diverse lineup of health-centered disciplines ranges from nursing to nutrition, physical therapy to environmental health.
As part of its mission, the college focuses on rural and underserved populations, meaningful attention to global health, innovative interdisciplinary practice, and understanding and embracing diversity.
Recognizing that health disparities will continue to grow in rural areas, CHSP prepares its student health professionals by engaging them with the medically underserved population of southeast Ohio. The college’s physical therapy and hearing-speech-language clinics log more than 10,000 patient visits yearly, services that also provide valuable clinical experiences to students in these disciplines.
The Kids on Campus community organization, operated by CHSP, provides after-school homework help, academic intervention services, nutritious snacks and summer enrichment activities to more than 400 schoolchildren each year whose economic circumstances put them at risk academically.
Athletic training graduate students provide care to thousands of athletes at 31 Appalachian high schools. Many of these rural schools would not otherwise be able to obtain health-care services.
Because so many critical health issues have global dimensions, CHSP challenges students and faculty to explore universal health concerns and develop an understanding of the cultural dimensions of disease and care delivery. The college’s graduate certificate in African community health services was the first of its kind in the United States, and CHSP has collaborations in 12 African countries.
Professor Tim Ryan, who teaches classes on environmental health and industrial hygiene, extends learning beyond the classroom by leading students on annual trips to Costa Rica and Britain that familiarize them with such public health issues as waterborne diseases, food safety, hygiene and pollution of all types.
Students seeking to become child-life specialists — health professionals who ease the stress of hospitalization for children and families — spend a month working with youngsters at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
With the medical landscape shifting toward a more team-focused approach to care, CHSP promotes interdisciplinary activities that keep students ahead of the curve. The college partners with OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine on courses and case studies that draw together aspiring nurses, physical therapists, hearing specialists, physicians and dietitians to master team-based care.
Strong academic programs provide the foundation for student success. The college’s graduate programs in physical therapy and communications sciences and disorders are consistently ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News and World Report and other publications.
Infused into every program is the philosophy of a hands-on curriculum. The WellWorks fitness center and HeartWorks cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program record more than 70,000 client visits annually while providing dozens of student employees with a head start on working within their academic disciplines though activities such as checking participants’ vital signs and serving as personal trainers.