A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) sponsored its first winter institute for the online Doctor of Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.) program Feb. 7 – 12. Sixty-eight students and 10 ASHS faculty and staff participated. Students in attendance were from as far away as Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Peru.
ATSU offers the D.H.Sc. degree via online learning, which includes a one-week, on-site institute. The D.H.Sc. program is a post-professional degree designed for master’s prepared healthcare professionals and is one of only three such programs in North America. Students have the opportunity to focus on one of three concentrations: global health, organizational behavior and leadership, and advanced physician assistant studies for physician assistants.
“The Doctor of Health Sciences program has far exceeded expectations in its popularity for all health disciplines,” said Helen Ewing, D.H.Sc., R.N., director, D.H.Sc. program. “We have representation from the majority of disciplines including students from clinical practice, administration, research, and academia.”
During the winter institute, students shared their research projects with colleagues and faculty. Examples of topics included strategies for weight reduction, reduction of medication errors in healthcare, improved diets, workplace wellness programs, and incorporating exercise into daily activities.
“The students were engaged throughout the week and brought such energy and enthusiasm to their learning,” said Dr. Ewing. “Many of the students are applying their health promotion projects to their work environment, which exemplifies true theory-to-practice learning.”
“I was particularly impressed with the quality of the students’ applied research projects, which are overseen by Dr. Jeff Alexander, assistant professor, department of interdisciplinary health sciences,” said Eric Sauers, Ph.D, ATC, FNATA, chair, department of interdisciplinary health sciences and associate professor, athletic training. “The students are an amazing group of multidisciplinary health professionals who are committed to their education and improving the health of society.”
The institute provided an opportunity for students to meet face-to-face and discuss pertinent issues in healthcare with faculty. In addition, the institute afforded a forum for sharing of ideas from a multidisciplinary health professions perspective.
One attendee said, “In my opinion, the faculty and staff of the Doctor of Health Sciences program embody the mission of the institution through their service and dedication to students. I feel this program is developing my research competency and skill set, enabling me to complete my applied research project.”
“The inaugural winter institute has long been anticipated as a highlight of the Doctor of Health Sciences program,” said Dr. Ewing. “This was an exciting event that allowed professionals from numerous health disciplines to come together and dialogue. It was a great week for the University and the students.”