Creation of the new school was approved by the University Faculty Senate last week and by University President Dr. Andrew Roth on Monday. The approvals clear the way for the development of new allied health programs that build upon St. Bonaventure’s robust undergraduate science curriculum and pre-health offerings.
Allied health professionals provide a range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic and direct patient care and support services, and their numbers are rising. Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., said Dr. Joseph Zimmer, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. From 2010 to 2014, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health professions increased by 65 percent and 71 percent, respectively, outpacing any other field of study. What’s more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that healthcare will grow 19 percent over the next decade (2014-2024), adding 2.3 million new jobs.
St. Bonaventure is well-positioned to help keep up with this demand through new programs that draw from its solid foundation in science and sport studies, said Zimmer.
Over the past year, St. Bonaventure has explored the possibility of offering clinical graduate degrees in several allied health fields, as well as a “feeder program” at the undergraduate level. In August, Zimmer named two directors to work with faculty to begin building the programs.
Dr. Claire Watson, chair of the physical education and sport studies programs since 2013, is executive director of the Allied Health Initiative, while Dr. Monica Thomas, director of St. Bonaventure’s highly competitive Franciscan Health Care Professions Program, was named associate director.
Establishing a new school signals to applicants, the healthcare community and St. Bonaventure backers that the university is invested in its Allied Health Initiative and committed to improving healthcare through excellence in teaching and research by implementing best practices in allied health education, said Zimmer.
Follow the development of allied health programs and initiatives on the new School of Allied Health website: www.sbu.edu/alliedhealth.