Missouri’s health care economy is powered by SHP graduates from 13 unique programs who fill critical roles in Missouri’s hospitals, clinics, therapy centers, athletic fields and schools. They are the physical and occupational therapists that help you rehabilitate after injury or illness; the speech therapists that help your child at school or your parent after a stroke; the friendly faces providing respite care for older adults; and the interdisciplinary teams that support families of children with autism. More than 65% of SHP graduates stay in Missouri to work – they are Missouri’s health care team.
SHP’s academic programs include the largest undergraduate major at Mizzou, health sciences, in addition to accredited programs in:
- athletic training (MAT)
- clinical laboratory science (BHS)
- speech, language and hearing sciences (BHS, MHS, PhD)
- diagnostic medical ultrasound (BHS)
- occupational therapy (OTD)
- nuclear medicine (BHS)
- physical therapy (DPT)
- public health (BHS, MPH)
- radiography (BHS)
- respiratory therapy (BHS)
For more than a decade, SHP professional programs have reported at least a 99% pass rate on licensure and certification exams, and a 100% job placement rate within 6 months of graduation. For years the health professions story was one of growth – the Bachelor of Health Sciences degree program soared in popularity, taking the school’s enrollment from a few hundred a decade ago, to more than 3,000 students who call SHP home today.
Now SHP is the 4th largest school at Mizzou. While our enrollment continues to grow, our story now is one of innovation in education and health care, with a focus on preparing future health professionals for enhanced team-based care of patients and improving individual and population health outcomes. SHP programs integrate teaching, research and service across disciplines and across campus to prepare students for their roles in creating healthier communities and improving the health and well-being of others. For example, in the Adult Day Connection, teams of students from all majors work with older adults to provide respite care that supports family caregivers in keeping their loved ones independent as long as possible.
SHP innovation sets the standard in several key areas:
Earlier this year, SHP announced the creation of the Department of Public Health in partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine. This new academic department is home to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health and provides the essential academic infrastructure needed to advance public health education and research at Mizzou. The creation of the Department of Public Health is an essential step in advancing the university’s standing in the AAU and extending precision medicine initiatives to the citizens of Missouri.
In addition to exciting changes in public health, SHP has added an interdisciplinary PhD program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. The new interdisciplinary research-focused doctoral program is designed to prepare students for careers in research, higher education and organizational leadership in the health disciplines. The only program of its kind at a public institution in Missouri, it will enhance the university’s capacity for interdisciplinary research in critical health disciplines.
SHP has also made program changes to keep our clinical programs at the forefront of accreditation and practice standards. The athletic training program is transitioning to a master’s degree (MAT) and the occupational therapy is transitioning to a doctoral program (OTD). A new interdisciplinary master’s degree in Clinical and Diagnostic Science is in the final stages of approval.
SHP students get their first clinical experiences alongside faculty who are licensed, certified and active in professional practice. For example, physical therapy students see patients in PhysZOU, the department’s pro-bono clinic, on their first day in the program. The clinical experience is integrated in to the curriculum, giving Mizzou’s PT students an edge when they compete for spots in clinical rotations, and job offers, later in the program. PT faculty have presented the department’s clinical education model at national conferences, and other universities around the country are now building co-curricular clinical experiences into their PT programs. Our students spent more than 15,000 hours serving Missourians in nearly 20,000 clinic visits in SHP clinics last year.
This year, SHP supported a Faculty Fellow for Interprofessional Education (IPE) who created a team of faculty and students that are transforming how we teach and evaluate clinical education. Team-based case studies, simulations and other innovative instruction and research opportunities help students as they prepare to treat patients and clients as part of an interdisciplinary care team.
Award-winning faculty with federally funded programs of research are shaping the future of health care. In the last 4 years, SHP research funding has more than doubled (+116%). Our researchers are working on innovative, collaborative, interdisciplinary projects, and findings in injury prediction and management, health behaviors, and therapy interventions can be immediately shared and put to use in clinical settings. Undergraduate participation in research has increased dramatically: last year nearly 100 undergraduate students were involved in research projects with a faculty mentor, empowering students to explore research and teaching as possible career paths in addition to their clinical practice goals.
SHP is poised to continue its trajectory of growth and innovation, with plans to participate in MU’s distance education priorities, pursue deliberate holistic admissions policies, and the construction of a new building to house our MU Adult Day Connection, the Robert G. Combs Language Preschool, and interdisciplinary training and clinics.
Kristofer Hagglund, PhD, ABPP
Dean, University of Missouri School of Health Professions