SMHS to offer Ph.D. in translational health sciences

Media Credit: Haelin Oh | Hatchet Photographer

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences has an April deadline for applications to its new translational health sciences Ph.D. program.

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences will now offer a new doctoral degree in translational health sciences.

The school announced the new Ph.D. this month, which will help health professionals create and translate cross-disciplinary knowledge to better prepare graduate students for future research, according to a release.

The Council of Doctoral Studies, a University-wide council of administrators that votes on all doctoral programs, approved the degree on May 18 ‒ and the GW Board of Trustees gave the final approval in spring of this year.

Mary Corcoran, an associate dean for faculty development for health sciences and the program director for the new degree, described translational health sciences as the study of “the integration of science from bench to bedside to policy,” with a focus implementing health care programs based on evidence from past results.

“Translational health sciences is an important and emerging discipline in health and medicine,” Corcoran said in an email. “Currently, it can take as long as 20 years for new discoveries to make their way to mainstream health care, and even longer to be reflected in health policy.”

Corcoran said the program has assembled a diverse team of social scientists, educators, researchers and health professionals to serve as advisers for doctoral students in the program.

“The role of the adviser is to help the student stay on track for graduation, meet the program benchmarks, and access a wide network of potential mentors for the dissertation,” Corcoran said. “The adviser will also serve as a member of the dissertation committee.”

The doctorate requires 52 credits after a master’s degree in a biomedical science or health-related field and other requirements including two comprehensive examinations and a dissertation. The program is now accepting applicants for fall 2016 with an April deadline to submit the application.

At least 10 other institutions offer this doctoral degree, including Ohio State and Pennsylvania State universities. Tufts University, one of GW’s peer schools, also offers the degree.

GW passed a University-wide strategic plan in 2013 that called for new interdisciplinary research and courses.

SMHS is not the only school to announce new doctoral degrees this year. The Board of Trustees also approved a new Ph.D. program in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development in June.

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