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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

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Two Drexel University faculty members were awarded an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) R01 grant in the amount of $740,305 over a three-year period to fund a study of the information requirements, decision-making needs and workflow/efficiency in the homecare admission and care planning process. An R01 grant is awarded based on significance and innovation of the proposed research. 

Paulina Sockolow, DrPH, associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions Department of Health Systems and Science Research is the Principal Investigator of the investigator-initiated R01. Ellen Bass, PhD, professor, who shares joint appointments in the College of Computing & Informatics and the College of Nursing & Health Professions, is a co-investigator. They received the grant as part of AHRQ’s initiative to support research to improve the quality, effectiveness, accessibility and cost effectiveness of health care.  

The funded project, entitled “Information Needs of Homecare Nurses During Admission and Care Planning”, will focus on if/how health information technology efficiently supports the understudied area of homecare admission. Homecare is a sector of the health care industry that admits 11 million older patients annually. Improvements in the admission process could potentially lower hospital readmission rates by providing more timely and appropriately targeted allocation of clinical resources.  

“This study will not only determine the support or hindrance that electronic health records provide during the clinical admission process, but it will also inform electronic health record design and future health information technology interventions when a patient is transitioning to and from home care,” said Sockolow. 

“The transition from the hospital to home is critical to enhancing patient health outcomes and to reducing hospital readmissions. This research is filling a gap to support the information needs and decision-making process of homecare agency nurses so that they can create better plans of care for their patients,” added Bass.

The funding for this project began on April 1, 2016. 


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.

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