In October, I announced that I will retire in early 2018. I have been reflecting on my career, and I am proud of what we have accomplished for the University and the healthcare professions we represent now and will in the future.
When I started with the University as an instructor 20 years ago, we were serving approximately 200 physical therapy students. We were also adding occupational therapy. Since then we have prepared more than 1,400 occupational therapy graduates (out of more than 6,000 graduates overall), including many who were part of our dual degree program.
The benefits of an interprofessional education continue to drive our decision-making as we add new programs. That includes the Doctor of Education offered in 2009 for clinicians who want to enter or advance in higher education. Our Master of Health Science brought athletic trainers to the University for post professional education in 2014. More recently, the Master of Health Administration added perspectives on operations, policy, and finance. Our Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Doctor of Nursing Practice are adding critical frontline health professionals to our community.
Although our education is often hands-on, technology is creating opportunities across healthcare, which is why we opened our new Informatics specialization to students across programs. Read about the Informatics specialization and the faculty member helping lead it. Next May, our permanent Miami campus will open with spaces designed for interprofessional dialogue and collaboration. See the photos and renderings. Next fall, we plan to add another critical rehabilitative profession with the addition of an MS in Speech-Language Pathology. Read about our program director.
Our interprofessional emphasis is driving innovation in our programs. This is especially evident in the Center for Innovative Clinical Practice. Be sure to read how faculty across programs are collaborating to simulate clinical situations for students so that they gain the clinical and communication skills for successful internships, fieldwork, and careers.
By growing into a leading, comprehensive health sciences university where faculty and students from diverse programs work and learn together, we can improve patient outcomes. It is a wonderful legacy.
Wanda Nitsch, PT, PhD
University President and Chief Academic Officer