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Health Sciences Department

Bridging The Gap

Health sciences bridge the gap between scientific research and the application of this knowledge to help patients. Tailor your degree to meet your interests and needs to become a pioneer in this ever-changing field.

Health Sciences Department

The undergraduate Program in Health Sciences prepares students to enter a wide variety of careers in health care and related professions. Examples of careers and graduate programs our students pursue include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, cardiac rehabilitation, physician assistant studies, nursing, exercise physiology, nutrition sciences, clinical research, public health, health advocacy, bioethics, health psychology, and others.

Why Drexel?

Dedicated and highly-qualified faculty – Our diverse faculty hold doctoral degrees in several specialty areas including  Anatomy, Physiology, Medicine, Pharmacology, Physical Therapy, Statistics, Clinical Research, Embryology, Exercise Science, and more. They have extensive experience teaching and mentoring undergraduate students in the health professions.

Curriculum choices – Our Health Science Program allows students to tailor their undergraduate degree to meet the needs of a variety of health care related graduate programs and careers. Furthermore, the integrated co-op experience provides our students the opportunity to work with health care professionals in the workplace.  Qualified students may participate in accelerated dual-degree programs with Physician Assistant Studies and the Physical Therapy programs.

Employment opportunities – Health care professions are the fastest growing job sector for the upcoming decade. There is tremendous demand for trained health care providers at all levels. In the Health Science Program, the multidisciplinary faculty, flexible curriculum, and co-op experience provide students with a competitive edge in the market place and in the pursuit of graduate studies.


Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences

Two Accelerated Track Options

Articulation Agreement Options

Health Sciences Faculty

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News & Events



A daily dose of exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, but when a flare for fitness becomes a compulsion the mental and physical side effects can easily become unhealthy.

Exercise addiction is a subject that researchers have struggled to understand on its own. It’s been observed in connection to eating disorders, specifically in female eating disordered populations, but its impact on general recreational exercisers remains misunderstood and potentially underestimated. A new research study lead by Krista Rompolski, PhD, an assistant professor in the Health Sciences Department, aims to change that and shed light on a condition that she expects is quite common. “I wanted to examine the research on exercise as an addiction, or compulsion, rather than a totally healthy behavior,” she said.  “There’s some research on the concept but there’s no specific criteria to diagnose it.”

Rompolski’s hunch that exercise can be addictive came from her personal experience dealing with a bad knee injury. “I had trouble not just physically, but mentally coping with it because it so interfered with my ability to do everything I enjoyed,” she said. Exercise was at the top of that list for her, and the mental struggle was by far the worst. She began to take notice of others like her. “I would look around the gym and see people with one arm in a sling bench pressing with the other and wonder how many people are affected mentally when they can’t (or shouldn’t) exercise.”

On a global level, health promotion is at a peak. Every which way you look, you can spot a Fitbit on a wrist, a sign about healthy eating or the poster child for physical fitness beaming at you from the largest billboard in town. The message is unavoidable – eat less, move more. Absent from view, and often mind, are the messages raising awareness for eating disorders or helping gym-goers to determine whether they’ve gone too far.

Rompolski’s research is some of the first to take a closer look at the eating and exercise habits of recreational adult exercisers to peel back the layers and understand why someone in this population may be compulsively exercising. “Almost all the research on the topic is done in populations diagnosed with eating disorders, or adolescent and college-aged women.” She surveyed 1,600 adult members of Drexel University’s Recreation Center – both men and women -- with general demographic questions, exercise habits, history of significant weight loss or gain, feelings about their weight and history of injuries related to overuse. Participants also completed the compulsive exercise test and the eating disorder examination questionnaire.

“To my knowledge, this is one of the first studies to look at compulsive exercise and disordered eating in an adult population of recreational exercisers. We got 425 responses – a 25% return rate!” Rompolski said excitedly. The average age represented is 37 and 50% of responses came from men, a group of particular interest. “I was really interested in looking at men because a common assumption with eating disorders or compulsive exercise is that it’s primarily a female problem. In analyzing my results I can tell you based on primary findings– men and women don’t differ much on the Compulsive Exercise test in our group, and only slightly on disordered eating,” she added. While the two sexes proved similar in the results of the compulsive exercise test, their reasons for exercising and eating behaviors are quite unique, and suggests that more research needs to be done in male populations.

The preliminary data is promising. Rompolski hopes to build on this momentum and continue to develop her research on the topic. Her long-term hope is for an increased awareness of disordered eating and exercise among recreational exercisers, and for sports psychology to be an integral component of injury care. She said, “A Physical Therapist or sports medicine physician isn’t necessarily trained to recognize or deal with someone’s depression or anxiety over their injuries, and having a baseline evaluation of how an injury or physical ailment impacts someone mentally could potentially predict whether a person is more or less likely to adhere to their recommendations.” 


High-achieving Drexel students can earn a master’s in occupational therapy from Salus University

Drexel University’s Health Sciences Department and Salus University’s Occupational Therapy Department have partnered to offer a sequential degree program to high-achieving undergraduate students enrolled in the Health Sciences program at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions.

The articulation agreement creates the potential opportunity for up to four select undergraduate students from Drexel University, who successfully complete all necessary requirements, to continue their education in occupational therapy studies at Salus University, beginning fall 2016.

“We are excited to partner with Salus University to offer students an opportunity to expand their career possibilities,” said Sinclair Smith, ScD, chair of the Health Sciences Department at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. “We are deeply committed to training future health care professionals and are confident that our graduates will uphold excellent standards of compassion and care as they go on to further their education in pursuit of a rewarding career in occupational therapy.”

Through the newly-established BS/MSOT Option, students on the traditional four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) degree track or the accelerated three-year BS degree track first complete a BS degree in Health Sciences at Drexel University, and then enroll in the two-year Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program at Salus University. Upon completion of Salus’s MSOT program, students will sit for the national certification exam to become Registered Occupational Therapists (OTR).

“We are delighted to partner with the Health Sciences Department at Drexel University in an effort to identify and prepare Drexel students for the profession of occupational therapy,” said Fern Silverman, EdD, OTR/L, director of Salus University’s Occupational Therapy program. “We share Drexel’s goal of supporting students in health care education who will become caring, knowledgeable, and competent practitioners. Given the strong academic program at Drexel, particularly in the sciences, I know Drexel students will be ideally prepared to successfully handle the Salus MSOT curriculum."

For more information, including application information and requirements visit Drexel University’s website.

This content was originally prepared for a press release distributed on January 13, 2016.


Twice per year, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives, medical residents and more gather from across the globe to attend the only colposcopy course in the United States that offers a hands-on learning experience, and it’s held at Drexel University.  The course is a transdisciplinary effort between the College of Nursing and Health Professions and the College of Medicine. 

Colposcopy is a skill required for anyone practicing gynecology.  It’s a follow up to an abnormal pap smear in which the clinician closely examines a woman’s cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of disease, including cervical cancer.  “We know that when detected early, there is a tremendous survival rate, almost 100%, when caught in the early stages.  And although pap smears are wonderful, they are a screening tool, whereas the colposcopy is more diagnostic.  It lets us know the extent of the disease and will best guide us in terms of treatment,” said Alis Panzera, DrNP ‘09, assistant clinical professor in the Nurse Practitioner program and co-director of the course. 

“It’s not typically a skill that people are ready to learn in their master’s course, it’s a more advanced skill that we offer as a continuing education credit.  Usually some people take it a year after they’ve graduated, others take it many years later, and we have much more experienced providers who are looking for a refresher, to get up to date on everything that’s going on,” said Panzera.

Participants have traveled from as far as New Zealand and Venezuela to attend Drexel’s colposcopy course because of its unique hands on approach.  This three-day course consists of not only didactics, but two days of interactive lab performed in the simulation labs housed within the Center for Interdisciplinary Clinical Simulation and Practice in New College Building.  “Thanks to the help of the people in the lab, we have been able to replicate cervixes that they can actually practice on.  They can practice taking a biopsy on a simulated cervix they make from scratch for us.  We formulated a pretend vagina, which is a piece of PVC piping, on which we can really emulate the whole procedure for our participants.  They get to try it several times before they actually do it on a real person.  We went through several reiterations in terms of color and feel, and they just did a wonderful job.  The participants just love the lab, it’s nothing they’d ever seen where they’re able to practice so hands on.”

Attendance is capped at 34 participants to ensure that each gets individual attention.  The course sells out every time it’s offered. 

Said Panzera, “You’re not practicing to the fullest extent of your skillset if you’re not offering colposcopies.  We’re making the service available for women throughout the country. Hopefully every woman in the United States will be able to receive this procedure if they need it.”

For more information or to register for upcoming courses click here
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