DePaul University and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science are establishing a unique, wide-ranging alliance to help address the expanding need for health care professionals prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly collaborative and rapidly evolving field.
The Alliance for Health Sciences is designed to:
- establish curricular pathways for DePaul students to graduate professional degree programs at Rosalind Franklin;
- expand and strengthen academic programs at both schools;
- foster collaboration between faculties of the two institutions; and
- create additional research opportunities for students.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the nation is facing an increasing shortage of all types of health care professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, nutritionists and podiatric physicians, most of which are expected to have employment growth ranging from 20 to 30 percent over the next decade. Six of the 10 fastest-growing professions are expected to be in the medical field, according to bureau reports.
There also is a need for health care practitioners in different specialties to work with each other on health care teams. According to a landmark 2001 report by the Institute of Medicine, such collaborative care significantly decreases errors and improves patient outcomes. Through the alliance, DePaul will integrate its interdisciplinary liberal studies programs to align and support requirements for Rosalind Franklin’s inter-professional education programs, which prepare students for the shared practice model that will be the norm in the future.
“The United States is facing a dramatic need for highly skilled health care professionals to meet the demands created by dramatic demographic shifts in society,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., DePaul’s president. “DePaul is excited by the opportunities this Alliance with Rosalind Franklin University will afford our students and the larger DePaul community to expand health education. It also will offer us another avenue to better serve the Chicago community.”
Dr. K. Michael Welch, president and CEO of Rosalind Franklin University, added, “As health care delivery changes in the coming years, it is critical that we prepare students today for what we know will be tomorrow’s health care needs. Together, DePaul and Rosalind Franklin will offer one of the widest arrays of health science programs among private universities in the Midwest.”
For DePaul students, the Alliance will uniquely provide exposure to and advising on Rosalind Franklin’s graduate and professional level health programs via curricular pathways, enhanced academic options, faculty collaboration and joint research. It provides hands-on educational experiences from the freshman year through completion of a professional degree.
The universities will collaborate to develop innovative, rigorous curricula that will benefit DePaul undergraduates pursuing health careers by preparing them for highly competitive professional programs and grounding them in the cross-disciplinary knowledge and broader perspectives on health required for success in today's health care environment.
An early admission pathway will streamline qualified students' progress through undergraduate programs at DePaul into the highly competitive master's and doctoral programs at Rosalind Franklin, including: medicine, pharmacy, pathologist’s assistant, podiatric medicine, physician assistant and physical therapy. Together, the two schools will seamlessly integrate a strong undergraduate and liberal studies foundation, contemporary professional health education, and state-of-the-art health and medical training facilities. Students enrolled in the jointly developed curricular programs may benefit from reducing, by one year, the overall time required to complete their professional degrees.
As part of the agreement, DePaul hopes to expand its successful master's entry into nursing program at the Rosalind Franklin campus in North Chicago. The program admits those with either science or non-science bachelor’s degrees, providing them with an accelerated path to becoming a registered nurse. Rosalind Franklin University will soon break ground on a new 53,000-square-foot education facility to accommodate this program and others with increasing enrollments.
“There's a natural fit between DePaul and Rosalind Franklin,” said Dr. Wendy Rheault, vice president of academic affairs at Rosalind Franklin. “Both have growing enrollments, top-notch science and health facilities and well-established commitments to community needs.”
In recent years, DePaul also has expanded its education programs in the sciences, establishing the College of Science and Health and building two new state-of-the-art facilities exclusively dedicated to science instruction. It currently has more than 3,200 students enrolled at its College of Science and Health, and its recently established multidisciplinary health sciences degree is the University’s fastest- growing undergraduate program with more than 440 students.
“DePaul students will meet regularly with faculty and staff from Rosalind Franklin, a rare benefit for undergraduates in pre-professional programs,” said Patricia O’Donoghue, DePaul’s interim provost. ”They'll get academic and career advice from medical professionals and gain contacts who will give them an advantage as they apply to graduate health programs. They'll be prepared for the intensity of graduate study and gain first-hand experience in Rosalind Franklin's classrooms and laboratories.”
The schools also will create a joint competitive research fund that will provide seed money for new areas of exploration. Those projects are expected to help secure external research grants from federal, state and local governments and private foundations.
About DePaul University
With more than 25,000 students, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. The university offers approximately 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on three Chicago and three suburban campuses. Founded in 1898, DePaul remains committed to providing a quality education through personal attention to students from a wide range of backgrounds. For more information, visit www.depaul.edu.
About Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Formed in 1912 as the Chicago Hospital-College of Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is a national leader in interprofessional medical and healthcare education, offering a doctor of medicine program through the Chicago Medical School, doctor of podiatric medicine program through the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, and a range of degrees through its College of Health Professions, including nurse anesthesia, nutrition, physical therapy, pathologists’ assistant and physician assistant, and a doctor of pharmacy through its College of Pharmacy that welcomed its first class in August 2011. The University also offers advanced biomedical degrees through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. For more information, please visit www.rosalindfranklin.edu.