Trine maps course for health sciences expansion

FORT WAYNE — With the nation and region grappling with a growing shortage of trained medical professionals, Trine University intends to expand its already-successful Rinker-Ross School of Health Sciences programs in Fort Wayne over the next several years.

The university plans to enlarge the number of students in its existing Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) programs, as well as add several new degree programs.

“We know there is a great need for medical personnel to serve an aging population,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president. “By providing students in new areas of the health sciences with the career-focused training and practical experience that are already hallmarks of a Trine education, these new programs will help meet that need, as well as offer opportunities for graduates to be readily employed.”

In anticipation of the curriculum expansion, the university recently appointed longtime Trine University professor Ryan Dombkowski, Ph.D., to its health sciences leadership team as associate dean of the Rinker-Ross School of Health Sciences. Dombkowski will work with Max Baumgartner, Ph.D., dean of the Rinker-Ross School of Health Sciences, and Cathy Swick, dean for the school’s undergraduate programs, to direct the expansion and guide new program development.  

The university will expand the physical footprint of its health sciences programs in Fort Wayne, which are currently housed at the university’s Health Sciences Education Center, located at 1819 Carew Street on the Parkview Randallia campus. Parkview Health has been a strong supporter of Trine’s health sciences programs and collaboration between the organizations will continue.

“Parkview Health has been a tremendous partner for Trine University, providing expertise, facilities, student internship opportunities and financial support,” said Brooks. “The expansion of our ongoing collaboration will not only benefit Trine and Parkview, but all residents of northeast Indiana.”

“Trine University’s expansion of health sciences is an important step toward meeting the growing need for quality healthcare professionals in our region,” said Rick Henvey, chief operating officer for Parkview Health and a member of Trine’s Board of Trustees. “Parkview has benefited greatly from Trine’s outstanding Doctor of Physical Therapy program, and we are hopeful we’ll be able to employ more Trine graduates with expertise in many other critical fields.”

The timeline for the expansion is:

Fall 2019

  • Trine University’s DPT program will expand from 32 to 45 students per class.
  • The university’s MPAS program will expand from 28 to 32 students per class.
  • Trine will launch a Master of Applied Health Sciences (MAHS) program. The MAHS, which will offer the option for completion with as few as 30 graduate credit hours, can be customized to fit students’ career goals. It will fulfill admission requirements for most medical, dental, veterinary, and graduate programs in biological sciences, and also allow graduates to specialize in biomechanics and prepare for employment as a biomechanics lab technician.
  • Trine will launch an Associate of Science in Surgical Technology program. The program will train graduates to assist in surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses or other personnel in authority.

Fall 2020

  • The MPAS program will expand to 36 students per class.
  • Trine University will launch a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Designed to prepare students for advanced roles in occupational therapy, the degree will allow graduates to work with clients as well as lead and conduct research as occupational therapy professionals.
  • Trine University will launch a Master of Science in Anesthesia program. The degree will prepare graduates to become Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants (CAAs), providing services under the direction of physician anesthesiologist to patients undergoing surgery and other procedures.
  • Trine will launch an online RN to BSN program, which will allow registered nurses to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
  • Trine will launch Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Technology programs, which will prepare students to work in radiologic imaging fields.

Fall 2021

  • Trine will launch a Master of Speech Language Pathology program, which will prepare graduates to practice as speech language pathologists in areas of communication and swallowing. According to the Bureau of Labor Services, speech language pathologists in Indiana consistently have one of the highest caseloads in the United States.

The DPT and MPAS programs are supported by undergraduate programs at Trine’s main campus in Angola, which offer direct entry options as well as the opportunity to begin the health sciences graduate programs after only three years of undergraduate work.

Trine University already boasts a more than 99 percent employment or graduate school placement for its graduates.