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Elon University trustees approve School of Health Sciences

Elon University's board of trustees voted April 15 to establish a new School of Health Sciences, serving graduate students in the existing doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program along with students in the new physician assistant (PA) studies master's program, which will enroll its first class in January 2013.

The School of Health Sciences will be housed in the Gerald L. Francis Center on Haggard Avenue, which is undergoing a total renovation, creating classrooms, lab facilities, meeting and office space. The Francis Center is scheduled to open in December 2011.

"Creating the School of Health Sciences is among the goals of Elon's strategic plan, the Elon Commitment, and supports our objectives to expand graduate education and further develop our programs in the sciences," said Leo Lambert, Elon University president. "The DPT program and the new PA program will enjoy great synergy and thrive under strong leadership with a shared mission and vision for excellence."

The decision to create the new school follows the board of trustees vote last January to launch the PA program. The PA program will enroll classes of about 36 students annually and combine a rigorous academic program with a focus on leadership and service to the community. Major funding to support the new PA program includes grants from the Duke Endowment, Alamance Regional Medical Center, Moses Cone Health System, the Cannon Foundation, Glen Raven Inc. and other local companies, organizations and individuals.

Elon's DPT program has built a reputation for excellence and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE). The three-year full-time professional clinical doctorate program currently has 115 students and 13 faculty members. The department of physical therapy education was created in 1996 offering a master's degree, and enrolled its first doctoral students in 2003.

Founding dean of the School of Health Sciences is Elizabeth Rogers, who has led Elon's physical therapy program since its inception. She has a clinical background in acute care at Hinsdale Hospital in Illinois and at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Rogers has a doctor of education degree in health sciences and administration from the University of Houston, a master of education degree from Boston University and a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from Loma Linda University.

The School of Health Sciences is the university's sixth major academic unit, joining Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business; the School of Communications; the School of Education and Elon University School of Law.

Dan Anderson,
8/9/2011 4:50 PM