College of Health Professions Renamed
The College of Health Professions at Governors State University renamed itself effective last July, becoming the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS).
“Changing the name of the College wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” said CHHS Dean Linda Samson. “But the simple truth is the name ‘College of Health Professions’ no longer describes the full range of educational opportunities or services we provide to the communities we serve.”
Samson noted that the College is evolving from a focus only on teaching into one where teaching and research are important in order to serve as a positive resource within the communities of the Chicago Southland.
“Our faculty are working hard on health disparities research in our communities,” Samson explained. “Yet when we think about health disparities, we have to think of systemic failures, and many of those systems that we are examining and trying to fix are most accurately described as human services systems.”
The name change is also more inclusive of the College’s programs.
“We certainly offer outstanding programs in the health professions,” Samson said. “But we also have equally outstanding programs in human services professions, like Social Work and Health Administration.”
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Doctor of Nursing Practice in Full Swing for the Fall Trimester
With nursing shortages critical throughout Illinois and the nation, one thing is clear: Solutions are needed to increase the number of nurses in both the long and short term. The College of Health and Human Services has responded with the development of its new Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program.
The program, known as the DNP, has been developed to prepare BSN or MSN nurses for expanding roles in the nursing profession, and, perhaps most importantly, to ready the next wave of educators – nurses who can step from patient care to the classroom and teach a new generation of nurses.
“We’re not just experiencing a shortage of nurses,” said CHHS Dean Samson. “We’re in the midst of a growing shortage of nurse educators. Without doctorally prepared nurses to educate new nurses, there won’t be new nurses.”
Twenty one students were admitted to the Department of Nursing’s new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program, which began its first classes at the start of the Fall Trimester. Dr. Nancy MacMullen, chair of the Department of Nursing, said the strongest interest lies, thus far, in the program’s educator track.
“A lot of the students are already faculty, and they want to be able to have more flexibility in their jobs,” MacMullen said. “The DNP will enable them to teach in four year and master’s programs.”
The DNP is the second doctoral program developed by the College of Health and Human Services, which began offering its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Physical Therapy, during the 2007 Spring/Summer Trimester.
For more about the DNP, visit www.govst.edu/dnp.
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Making the Transition: New
Physical Therapy Doctorate
The College’s development of the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program, launched in Spring/Summer 2007, is in keeping with the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) vision for all Physical Therapists (PT) to be prepared at a doctoral-level by 2020.
But the APTA’s vision is part of an evolution that has continued to call for increasing levels of preparation for PTs. At one time, the entry-level degree for new PTs was the bachelor’s. Then the master’s took over, and new PTs needed the more advanced level of preparation.
Now that the profession sees a future transition to the doctorate as the entry professional degree, what about PTs who were licensed when they earned their bachelor’s or master’s? How do they keep up?
The answer is the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT), a new and primarily online degree program for bachelor and master-prepared PTs.
Developed by the College’s Department of Physical Therapy, the tDPT allows licensed PTs to use their current degrees as the foundation for the additional training they need to earn their doctoral degrees.
The program is now accepting applications for the Winter Trimester.
For more about the Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, contact Dr. Ann Vendrely at email@example.com, or visit www.govst.edu/tdpt.
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New Doctor of Occupational Therapy
It’s clear that the College of Health and Human Services has taken decisive steps toward offering health and human services professionals the new doctoral-levels of preparation within their professions.
The College’s first doctoral offering, the Doctor of Physical Therapy, was quickly followed by the Doctor of Nursing Practice. Now, the Doctor of Occupational Therapy will join the new Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy in accepting its first students in the Winter Trimester.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the new offering in February of 2008, and the Higher Learning Commission, the University’s accrediting body, gave its approval last month.
For more information about the Doctor of Occupational Therapy, please contact Dr. Beth Cada, Department Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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One Church One Addict
The College of Health and Human Services’ long-standing funding for the One Church One Addict (OCOA) program has ended, a casualty of the budget crisis in Springfield.
Administered through the College, OCOA supported various faith-based organizations dedicated to helping individuals with addictions reintegrate, drug-free, into society.
Funds also supported training and development to strengthen faith-based community agencies in their quest for other funding sources and to improve the quality of the programs offered. Funding came through the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA).
The College’s program is one of several affected by reductions in the state’s budget for drug and alcohol treatment programs.
The College has administered funding for OCOA since 1999, to more than 18 different programs. The long-term goal was to give the programs the necessary skills and tools to help individuals with addictions, and to steer them clear of the temptations that lead back to addiction and associated behaviors. A key element in the College’s approach was to show programs how to find alternative funding, so they could become self-sustaining entities.
Unfortunately, a ripple effect accompanies the budget cuts for those programs which haven’t become self-sustaining. As individuals struggling against addictions lose the support mechanisms provided by OCOA, the collateral damage can reach into families and to communities at large, as the behaviors that accompany addictions re-emerge.
Nevertheless, Dr. Penny Havlicek, Director of Administration and Operations for the Center for Care and Study of Vulnerable Populations, is hopeful that the College has been able to establish something lasting in the communities served by OCOA.
“We were able to provide these programs with resources they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she said. “We helped create a forum. As a result, the programs have contacts with one another now, and they may be able to work together to move forward.”
Havlicek sees other possibilities, as well, through the College’s Center for the Care and Study of Vulnerable Populations. “The Center’s mission is to do research to find better ways to support vulnerable populations. So we’re not giving up the ship. We may find a way to work with these groups in the future.”
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Saving Kids Program Concludes
The name says it all: Saving Kids. Known within the College of Health and Human Services as “Project SKIPP,” Saving Kids through Integrated Prevention Programs, has been a four-year program designed to help youth living in Chicago Heights, and their families, discover effective alternatives to drugs, gangs, alcohol, and sexual behaviors that lead to STD infections.
The program was funded through a one million dollar grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and concentrated on helping children from 10 to 14 years of age.
The grant drew to a close in September.
Prevention Specialist Carolyn Estes-Rodgers said that Saving Kids took a multidimensional approach to interventions, integrating three strategies into a single, comprehensive approach.
“Most programs use a single strategy,” she said. “Some use a community-based program, while others focus on school-based programs. We used both and included a summer program as well.”
Estes-Rodgers said Saving Kids developed community resources through the creation of prevention steering committees (PSCs) in Chicago Heights’ East Side and Hill communities. Saving Kids also established a Strengthening Families program designed to help families develop communication skills, with an emphasis on recognizing and avoiding factors that lead to risky behaviors in younger family members.
Saving Kids also worked with a local school to implement its All Stars program, which was based on a proven SAMHSA model. All Stars helped participants recognize their own aspirations and how drugs and other influences could prevent them from achieving their goals.
As the program closes, Estes-Rodgers said the work the College has achieved in the community will be lasting. “We wanted to leave an organization or group of individuals to continue with programs once funding ended,” she said, noting particular success in the Hill community and its continuing organization, known as “The Hill.”
Estes-Rodgers said the objective now that active work in the community has ended is to analyze the program’s effectiveness and publish the results.
For more about Saving Kids “Project SKIPP,” see the College of Health and Human Service’s 2005 Annual Report article “Project SKIPP: A Passion for Change.”
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CHHS Magazine Off the Press
The College of Health and Human Services’ 2008 magazine, Make Someone’s Life Better (formerly known as the Annual Report), is now in print and online.
This year's issue features successful CHHS students and alumni, all of whom have taken the college’s mission (“Make Someone’s Life Better”) to heart. If you'd like to be on the mailing list to receive a copy of the magazine, e-mail Nancy Burley at email@example.com with your name, address, and affiliation. Or you may see a pdf version of the publication on the CHHS website.
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If you would like to remove your e-mail address from this distribution list, please reply to the following e-mail address with the word "Remove" in the subject line: firstname.lastname@example.org
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