By Dr. Divina Grossman, President, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
This year, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) is celebrating 40 years of educating clinical professionals and improving healthcare by preparing graduates to be leaders in their fields. The University has nearly 8,000 graduates who are making a positive impact in communities across the nation.
Founded in 1979 by Dr. Stanley Paris, a world-renowned physical therapist who introduced many new ideas to the profession, the University has grown to become the largest physical and occupational therapy university in the U.S. We have since broadened our focus to include additional health and rehabilitative science disciplines in critical need for well-prepared providers. USAHS started in St. Augustine, Florida and has expanded to serve Miami, Dallas and Austin in Texas, and San Marcos in Southern California.
Our success blends a health sciences education focus with a “students first” philosophy and curricula that are reflective of the most current healthcare practices. The University maintained this focus throughout our history, and we are committed to maintaining it as we evolve in ever-changing healthcare and higher education environments. This focus allows USAHS to sustain a culture dedicated to the best practices in healthcare education, support wellness across the lifespan of patients, advocate for professionalism, and advance innovative practices.
Beyond the classroom, our mission is to positively impact the communities we serve. Last year, USAHS students and employees reported thousands of volunteer hours across the nation. Many of our programs incorporate service learning opportunities with local nonprofits and healthcare providers. USAHS sponsors annual community service projects for students and employees can take paid days off to volunteer.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences strives to prepare future healthcare professionals who are poised to become leaders in their professions. To meet the needs of current and future healthcare practitioners, USAHS offers first-professional degree programs for those new to their intended professions and post-professional degree programs for current practitioners who seek additional education and/or certifications. The University also helps professionals stay current in their fields and explore new areas of practice through Continuing Education Seminars and Certifications.
Our accredited degree programs are rigorous and aligned with the expectations of the professions. Each USAHS academic program focuses on foundational sciences and concepts, sound decision-making, and strong technical skill development. In addition, all degree programs at USAHS are graduate-level and delivered using a unique combination of online, classroom, and laboratory learning activities. USAHS offers full-time residential programs, blended programs with required on-campus meetings to accommodate working adults, and online programs for students unable to attend classes on campuses.
USAHS programs have threaded inter-professional concepts throughout the curricula to reflect current practices in patient care. Where academically appropriate, students from multiple programs share classes in which they collaborate on projects and case study examinations, emulating the reality of patient care they will experience after graduation. USAHS has made significant investments in simulation technologies that enhance the student experience prior to fieldwork.
Faculty members at University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences are more than instructors – they are stewards of their profession with a wealth of experience through clinical practice positions, clinical appointments and participation in academic research. Our faculty are experts who hold advanced degrees in their fields. As practitioners, they are at the forefront of modern care delivery, providing mentorship and career advice to students that extends beyond the classroom.
USAHS faculty also hold offices in their professional organizations such as the national and state physical and occupational therapy associations, present research at national and international conferences, and run successful private practices as clinicians. USAHS couples a supportive learning environment with demanding curricula, and our programs require faculty to have the level of commitment that will be expected of our graduates when they enter their chosen professions. Faculty model the professional demeanor they expect of their students, and students recognize the professionalism they see on campus. That level of professionalism among USAHS students is often cited by employers as a critical characteristic that sets our students apart from other institutions.
CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE CLINICAL PRACTICE
There is no better way to learn than through hands-on practice. At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, our students gain experience helping patients in real-world medical scenarios in the Center for Innovative Clinical Practice (CICP) at each campus, a multidisciplinary simulation center that mimics real-life home, acute care, and clinical settings.
From the first term, USAHS students learn and practice new skills and techniques in these realistic, inter-professional environments. Guided by expert faculty, they practice assessment, diagnostics, and treatment by role-playing as both practitioner and patient. Students can watch video recordings of their simulation sessions and work with classmates and faculty to evaluate their performance and discuss how to improve. It’s a way to learn at a higher level and gain the confidence needed to approach a variety of patient-care situations in real clinical settings. USAHS is among the first institutions to have a simulation training center and state-of-the-art equipment embedded in the curricula for rehabilitative sciences programs.
The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences has been recognized for excellent academic quality and exceptional student outcomes, offering relevant programs in today’s healthcare environment. We are proud of our 40-year legacy of providing access to high-quality, graduate-level rehabilitative and health sciences programs.