University of Scranton Awarded Grant for Health-Profession Education

Apr 15, 2010

      The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $95,000 grant to The University of Scranton to support a health-profession education and training initiative that targets the local community, as well as international partnerships. The funding stems from grants made available through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2009.

      The health-profession education and training initiative includes education and training for faculty, students and community leaders; a forum for civic engagement and community enrichment; and the development of regional and international academic affiliations and initiatives.

      The program will be run through the Jesuit university’s Panuska College of Professional Studies. Daniel West, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Health Administration and Human Resources Department at The University of Scranton, will serve the program’s director.

      “The intent of this initiative is to draw faculty, students and professionals into a meaningful examination of key health care issues that would result in improvements to health care practice in our community,” said Dr. West, who hopes this grant will lead to subsequent support for post-secondary education.

      The grant provides a “win-win” situation for faculty, students and the health care community, according to Debra Pellegrino, Ed.D, dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

      “Our faculty will hone their grant-writing skills and apply for federal and state government funding for research in the health care arena. Writing proposals can be daunting at times, but through the summer grant-writing workshop provided through the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) grant and our collaboration with the Office of Research Sponsored Programs, faculty will experience success in qualifying for potential funding sources,” said Dr. Pellegrino.

      The education and training portion of the initiative will include lectures, workshops and curriculum and course development in areas such as multicultural education, diversity management, globalization, biotechnology, health care informatics, civic engagement and cultural enrichment. The Leahy Community Health and Family Center will facilitate the community outreach for area programs. The center provides comprehensive community engagement programs for the health-profession students and staff that include the Leahy Clinic for the Uninsured; nutrition and exercise counseling; behavior therapy sessions; physical therapy evaluation and treatment; the “peacemakers” after-school program; an autism playgroup; and the University of Success. 

      The first of the grant supported educational programs, scheduled for April 16, will be led by guest speaker Rev. James F. Duffy, S.J., M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and Trustee of The University of Scranton. He will discuss interdisciplinary approaches to delivering effective community health. Approximately 50 invited community health care leaders, faculty, staff and students are expected to attend.

      A grant workshop for faculty is also planned for this summer/fall.

      The second part of this initiative, the Leahy Forum for Civic Engagement and Community Enrichment, will provide regional professionals an outlet to explore and discuss national issues concerning health care with leading experts in the field. 

      In addition, the initiative, which is funded for a two-year period, will include course and curriculum content development and faculty exchanges to develop a joint degree with 

      St. Elizabeth College of Health and Social Work in Bratislava, Slovakia; the development of international fieldwork locations; and the implementation of health care and training programs with The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) and Scranton-Temple Residence Program for medical residents, faculty and students.

      Dr. West serves on the Scientific Council of Health and Social Sciences at St. Elizabeth University and was recently appointed adjunct faculty at TCMC in addition to holding appointments at several universities in the Czech Republic, Georgia and Slovakia.

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