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New Cross-Disciplinary PhD Offered

Dean Sothmann & Dr. Bonnie Martin HarrisThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Institute of Medicine  have emphasized the importance of  inter-disciplinary approaches to health care, and it is the justification for the College of Health Professions’ (CHP) new cross-disciplinary, research-intensive Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science program.
Now accepting applications for the Fall 2009 semester, the recently approved research doctorate will train scientists to approach complex disorders and conditions from a cross-system perspective. Under the program direction of Bonnie Martin-Harris, Ph.D., Otolaryngology, the advanced degree in Health and Rehabilitation Science program differs from research conducted in other health care disciplines in its emphasis on function, factors, and interventions that disable or enable people. This emphasis on applied knowledge bridges  many disciplines, appealing to students and professionals with diverse backgrounds. Qualified applicants may enter the program with a bachelor or graduate degree in several health related areas such as physical therapy, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, health administration, biology, and engineering, among others.
The program is one of only 12 such rehabilitation-oriented doctorate programs in the nation and offers a core curriculum modeled directly on Institute of Medicine guidelines for the delivery of health care. The Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science will offer concentrations in three of the four research classifications identified by the IOM: Pathology and Impairment, Functional Limitations, and Health Services.
The new doctoral program supports direct mentoring from established researchers in multiple disciplines across campus and  in the statewide centers of excellence and eventually national and global researchers. Students will also have an opportunity to take core courses with students from the MUSC College of Graduate Studies. Students will write protocols, submit grant applications, and conduct research,  skills that will give graduates a competitive advantage in their search for funding.
The program will address two critical needs here in South Carolina: the health needs of South Carolina residents with disabilities or  chronic medical conditions that lead to disability; and the need of the state to become a national leader in rehabilitation sciences. The rehabilitation needs of our citizens result in massive direct health care costs for our communities each year and indirect or unseen costs such as lost productivity and diminished quality of life. The program seeks to stimulate a change in culture in SC improve the healthcare of our citizens and develop our economic potential.
For information on the Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science program, contact Martin-Harris at 792-7162.

- Dr. Bonnie Martin-Harris reviews new PhD program

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