San Antonio — St. Mary’s University students who seek bachelor’s and
master’s degrees in five allied health professions may take their last two
or three years of courses at The University of Texas Health Science Center
at San Antonio (UTHSC) as part of a new cooperative program, the presidents
of both institutions announced June 20.

Academically outstanding high school seniors who plan to study an allied
health profession and attend St. Mary’s will be eligible to enter the
Collaborative Admissions Partnership for Health Professions Scholars. They
may apply to be admitted to the UTHSC School of Allied Health Sciences to
pursue bachelor’s degrees in clinical laboratory sciences or respiratory
care, or master’s degrees in occupational therapy, physical therapy or
physician assistant studies. Entrance is contingent on the applicant’s
completing at least 60 hours of prerequisites, usually in the sophomore year.
“Allied health professionals are a vital part of the health care team and
they are in great demand throughout our region and state,” said Francisco
G. Cigarroa, M.D., UTHSC president. “This new partnership between the
Health Science Center and St. Mary’s will help young people to crystallize
their interest in allied health careers and take the first steps toward
obtaining the education necessary to obtain their goals.”

“The early matriculation program with the Health Science Center offers a
life-changing opportunity for St. Mary’s students who will distinguish
themselves through personal achievements both during and after their
university studies,” said Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., president of St.
Mary’s. “Graduates will be prepared for success in their personal and
professional lives in allied health.”

UTHSC and St. Mary’s are plowing familiar ground. In May 2001, the two
institutions announced a collaborative agreement for prospective medical
students. That agreement provides a competitive early acceptance program
for outstanding St. Mary’s sophomores. In October 2001, Presidents Cigarroa
and Cotrell announced a similar program for prospective nursing students.
The first participants in both programs are enrolled at St. Mary’s. Two St.
Mary’s juniors and five sophomores recently were accepted into the UTHSC
School of Medicine.

The new partnership will enable better academic advising for students and
greater opportunities for St. Mary’s students to be exposed to School of
Allied Health Sciences programs and faculty during the sophomore and junior
year. “The agreement allows us to simplify the pipeline for students and
help them to make more-informed career and education decisions,” said
Douglas L. Murphy, Ph.D., associate dean of the UTHSC School of Allied
Health Sciences.

St. Mary’s students who meet the stipulated requirements will be guaranteed
admission under the agreement beginning this fall. Admissions will be based
on applicants’ academic potential and proven interest in becoming clinical
laboratory scientists, physician assistants, or occupational, physical or
respiratory therapists. It is anticipated that the first participants will
enter the Health Science Center in 2005.

“During the program’s first phase, students will complete prerequisite
courses at St. Mary’s and live on campus,” said Anthony J. Kaufmann, Ph.D.,
dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology at St. Mary’s.
“The second phase consists of professional and clinical work at the Health
Science Center and students can continue enjoying campus life at St. Mary’s
while pursuing their degrees.”

The federally funded Health Careers Opportunities Program helps students
develop the thinking, reading, writing, math and science skills necessary
for pursuing a health career. HCOP will be one avenue for reaching students
with information about the new allied health program. St. Mary’s has
designated Lucien Manchester, Ph.D., as the faculty adviser to these
prospective students.

St. Mary’s, established in 1852 as the first institution of higher learning
in San Antonio, is nationally recognized for academic excellence and
service to society. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San
Antonio has established itself as a major research institution, and its
faculty members lead the state, nation and world in the discovery of new
knowledge and the search for answers to society’s health care needs.

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