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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



Joseph M. Grosso, Jr. (AS, Physical Therapist Assistant, HU, `90; BS, Health Science & Society, HU, `92) is now an employee benefits senior sales representative at OneAmerica.
Stefani Tsirigotis, NP (MSN `17) joined the trauma and acute care surgery department at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital as a nurse practitioner.
Petros Arzoumanidis’ (BS, Health Science, `11) business, Workout Anywhere in Woodbury, New York, won "Best of Long Island" in Medical Health News.
Sarah Spader, PA (BS, Health Science, `15; MHS, Physician Assistant, `17), a physician assistant at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, passed the Physician’s Assistant National Certifying Exam in January.


By Roberta Perry
Drexel University is well known for its co-op experience, but it is also deeply interested in expanding its students’ education globally through its very robust work and study abroad program. Nikola Fistrovic decided she wanted an unusual summer experience and that included international travel. This health sciences sophomore wanted a hospital work experience in an impoverished area for a very specific time frame and found something that suited her with Gap Medics. They provide this specific work experience worldwide to students interested in a career in healthcare. “I traveled to Tanzania with a group of people who were 18 to 24 years old—I think most of them were around 24—and most from the UK and Europe. We basically lived together, then went to the hospital to work.”
The work she would be doing, she hoped, would give her a sense of how different it is to work in a hospital in an underdeveloped country versus the one she worked in here. Fistrovic worked in the pediatric department her first week and in obstetrics and gynecology the second. “It was just so eye opening,” she said. “They have beds and basically nothing else. Patients are not hooked up to monitors; they make it work with the bare minimum. Even the babies, they have them wrapped up in a bunch of blankets which people made and they’re not hooked up to anything. They don’t have oxygen, nothing,” Fistrovic continued.
There are two incidents she saw that stuck with her even almost a year later. When working in pediatrics, most times, the mothers of the newborns would come in and hold and feed their babies. “But there was this one baby whose mother never came in. The nurses would go to the mom and said, ‘You have to come in. You have to feed your baby. You have to take care.’ But she just wouldn’t.” Situations like this are common according to Fistrovic; mothers sometimes don’t want anything to do with their babies. “It’s really sad.” But not all of her experiences were that way. A boy came into the hospital very yellow and sick. He had malaria, something on the decline (unlike HIV/AIDS) in the Iringa region where she was staying. “One day he comes in with malaria, and the next day he was up and energetic. It was amazing to see.” While they have medicine to give for things like malaria, when it came to pain medication for child birth, it was a different story.
“I got to see five C-sections and one live birth,” Fistrovic shared. “They’ll give women something to numb them from the waist down, but there’s no pain medication.” A woman, whose delivery she witnessed, was given too much numbing medication and began seizing. “She was foaming at the mouth—I have never—the doctor cut into her so fast and got the baby out right away. She was okay, but it was crazy.”
When asked if she came away with a greater appreciation for things in her life, her answer was twofold. Of course she values the things we have here in this country more, but she also developed admiration for the people she met who work in the hospital. “Those doctors are so knowledgeable and they make everything work with minimal supplies.”
Fistrovic wants to become a physician assistant and, while enjoying her experience here at Drexel, is also looking at graduate schools already. It is not surprising that she is pursuing a career in healthcare—she was a certified nursing assistant before enrolling in CNHP’s health sciences program and her mother, a nurse, also provided incentive in her pursuit. She is enjoying all her classes and is impressed and grateful for the opportunity she has here at Drexel. “In anatomy, we have the gross lab where we get to work with cadavers. Not a lot of schools get that,” she pointed out. In addition to the facilities, Fistrovic remarked that her professors are a big part of the successful education she’s getting. Though being a member of the Drexel swim team helps her with keeping a routine, she feels she sometimes needs additional attention. “I think my professors truly do care about me and want me to have the best experience. They will go out of their way to get me extra time in the lab or extra tutoring time.”
The future holds a lot of promise for this go-getter. The job market for physician assistants, however competitive, is still growing and offering so many specialties. With the experience of Gap Medic Fistrovic has under her belt, a whole new realm of possibilities has opened up for her.  


On January 11, US News and World Report published their 2017 Best Jobs list and 52 of the top 100 are in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant are number two and three on that list with no surprise as the demand for more skilled health care professionals skyrockets. Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News said in a press release about the jobs list, "Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can't be exported or entirely replaced by robots – at least not yet.
“Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education," furthered Snider. While the opportunities for PAs and NPs expand practically every specialty — orthopedics, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatrics — a reported 80% of nurse practitioners choose primary care whereas a study from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states physician assistants tend to practice outside of primary care. 
Regardless of the position a person chooses, it’s all good news for CNHP. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cited nurse practitioner and physician assistant among the fastest growing occupations with 35% and 30% growth respectively. This expansion can be attributed to a few factors including a move to patient-centered care models and an aging population. But another reason is the expansion of coverage for an additional 20 million people through Affordable Care Act. “The ACA recognized physician assistants as an essential part of the solution to the primary care shortage by formally acknowledging them as one of the three primary care health providers,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, CNHP clinical professor and department chair. “They also committed to expanding the number of PAs by providing financial support for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, as well as by funding the training of 600 new PAs,” he continued.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions of Americans to have access to insurance to pay for the cost of their health care. That meant hospitals and providers reduced their cost of indigent care.  While these figures have presented a hopeful outlook on what new health care reform may mean, one recent report has portrayed a potentially much different outcome.
The study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed repealing the ACA, likely starting with the insurance premium tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility would result in a doubling in the number of uninsured Americans while having widespread economic and employment impacts. In 2019, the study predicts a loss of 2.6 million jobs nation-wide, primarily in the private sector, with around a third of them in the health care industry. Pennsylvania could see around 137,000 jobs lost. 
Elizabeth W. Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor and department chair of the doctoral nursing program and Kymberlee Montgomery, DrNP, CRNP-BC, CNE ’09, associate clinical professor and department chair of the nurse practitioner program, both suggest that it is too early to tell what any real impact will be to healthcare or employment. “The ACA also lowered Medicare spending by allowing people to enter into share savings plans with accountable care organizations where providers are reimbursed based on the quality, not the quantity, of their services,” Gonzalez said. “This emphasis on quality has resulted in significant savings, lower cost of health care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low income families, and children. The ACA encourages a focus on the patient experience and this has led to some wonderful innovations because clinicians are being paid to focus on ways to enhance the quality of the care they provide patients,” she added. 
“The Affordable Care Act introduced patients to the role of the nurse practitioner. Patients were forced to see us for primary care — nurse practitioners provided care at a lower cost,” stated Montgomery. “Now patients want to see us because of the level of care we provided.” There are just so many unknowns where the ACA is concerned. While the current administration seems determined to repeal the law, they haven’t yet put forth a replacement that will provide affordable healthcare for those who would undoubtedly lose what they currently have. It’s uncertain whether a new law might be proposed that would guarantee that no jobs created under the ACA are lost or if patient outcomes will decline.” But both Gonzalez and Montgomery feel that advanced practice nursing will continue to be a cost effective way to deliver outstanding clinical services. While it’s tough to speculate, Montgomery thinks opportunities for nurse practitioners will continue to grow regardless. “Who knows, it might make it better for the nurse practitioner especially because we provide high-quality, comprehensive care at lower costs,” she said.

By: Roberta Perry and Kinzey Lynch `17

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