Besides higher education, healthcare is one of the more frequent topics of conversation in the United States today. Families stress over the cost of healthcare while providers and regulators debate the quality of service delivery. Policymakers continually examine and scrutinize every aspect of service, and the pace of improvement is forever accelerating. These features of healthcare then find their way into pre-health science education for undergraduates and health-related education for graduate students.
Drury University has a long history of educating successful healthcare professionals, and the range of careers of our alumni spans the gamut. The diversity of the professions and the ever-changing nature of the field put special requirements on the faculty and the students who are in the pre-health fields. The most successful healthcare professionals graduate from singular undergraduate programs that position them for acceptance to the best professional schools. Drury University is proud to serve as such a conduit. We are recognized by professional schools for preparing healthcare professionals who are talented and equipped to learn in a highly dynamic set of fields. These schools’ confidence in Drury’s pre-health science curriculum, faculty and students is evident in the impressive array of ‘early admittance’ agreements we have.
Medical professionals must possess the skills that improve patients’ quality of life. Technical talents, as I am fond of saying, are necessary but not sufficient. Healthcare professionals must place people at the center of their attention, and Drury is confident that our pre-health science students cultivate and nurture this talent for valuing the individual and the family. The core curriculum, the interdisciplinary learning environment and the commitment to engaged learning are platforms for instilling in our students the importance of the human aspect of healthcare. A wonderful example of how this is accomplished is the Drury Health Services Corps, which enables pre-health science students to volunteer at the Jordan Valley Health Clinic. We are very pleased that a major gift from the Ferrell-Duncan Clinic has helped expand these volunteer opportunities through the creation of the Loren Broaddus Medical Service Scholars and the Thomas Ferrell Medical Relief Travel Grants. Both of these programs also allow students to shadow healthcare professionals.
Finally, a key experience in Drury’s pre-health science program is the opportunity for students to undertake research and scholarship with faculty. Engaging in research is a direct precursor to the rigor of professional school and enhances each student’s academic portfolio. Drury University’s science faculty members have a long history of promoting and engaging in undergraduate research. This year, with the assistance of the Ferrell-Duncan Clinic, Drury is launching the Douglas Duncan Research Experience in the Natural Sciences.
The three new partnership projects between Drury and the Ferrell-Duncan Clinic confirm past successes in pre-health sciences, a commitment to the quality of healthcare in southwest Missouri and an investment in the future of healthcare education at Drury. The university is well positioned to continue succeeding in healthcare education because of our strong foundational base and our forward-thinking partnerships that are focused on effectively preparing future generations of healthcare professionals.
Dr. David P. Manuel