The Beaver College of Health Sciences is creating a new Department of Rehabilitation Sciences (RHS) that will launch on July 1, 2022. This collaborative, interdisciplinary department will include the undergraduate program in Communication Sciences and Disorders, minors in American Sign Language and Communication Sciences and Disorders, and graduate programs in Athletic Training and Speech-Language Pathology. Once the college receives final approval for the creation of a new Master of Occupational Therapy (MSOT) degree, this program will also join the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences.
“There are a number of natural synergies between athletic trainers, speech therapists and occupational therapists, who work with many of the same populations and within similar agencies, including schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and long-term care facilities,” said Gary McCullough, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education. These professions use a holistic perspective and work to empower people of all ages to improve/restore their functional abilities, fulfill their daily routines and roles, and mitigate limitations or disabilities following injury or illness.
Combining these programs into a new department will provide meaningful interprofessional education (IPE) opportunities for RHS students in education, research and practice. There will be increased opportunities for students and faculty to engage across disciplines with the potential to share resources, labs, faculty, clinical settings and coursework.
“Students who graduate from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences will transition into their respective positions as quality healthcare practitioners with enhanced IPE clinical skills, knowledge and values,” Dean Marie Huff said. “They will be well-prepared to improve the health and wellness of people across the region, state and world.”
As a result of these changes, the current department of Health and Exercise Science voted to change their department name to Public Health and Exercise Science (PHES). With Athletic Training moving to the Department of RHS, the newly named PHES department will better reflect the two remaining programs.