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Every day College of Health Professions students, alumni, faculty and staff do extraordinary things. Read more about our latest achievements below.

Class of 2021: Cara Harman wants to help patients regain their lives

Cara Harman realized at a young age how happy she felt when she was helping someone else. At 6 years old, she wanted to help her parents’ close friends, whose baby was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

Picture of Cara Harman for featured news

“I drew them cards, helped my mom make dinners and baked goods for them and helped raise money towards the Muscular Dystrophy Association,” said Harman, who will graduate next month from the VCU Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program in the College of Health Professions.  “I remember even donating my tooth fairy money to the MDA.”


Let's Talk

Join us for two sessions

to learn more about:

-Peer to peer/peer to supervisor contexts

-Student/faculty contexts

Session 1:  April 9, 9:00 am

With William E. King, Ombudsperson, Office of the ProvostThis session will focus on peer to peer; peer to supervisor contexts. 

Register here

Session 2:   April 23, 9:00am

With Alena Hampton, Associate Dean of Student Success, College of Health ProfessionsThis session will focus on student/faculty contexts.

Register here

Angela Duncan named to associate dean shared position at the School of Nursing and College of Health Professions

VCU School of Nursing announced that Angela Duncan, Ph.D., M.S., M.Div., has been named associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion in a shared position with the VCU College of Health Professions, effective immediately.

A champion for reducing health disparities in marginalized and underserved communities, Duncan has led the College of Health Profession’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as associate dean since January 2020. Her exceptional work led to her being engaged to assess and guide the School of Nursing’s DEI efforts, said Jean Giddens, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean and professor of the VCU School of Nursing.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the College of Health Professions to leverage Dr. Duncan’s exceptional skill in building an inclusive organization,” Giddens said. “Her experience and perspective will help advance our work to provide a diverse and inclusive environment as well as equity in the education we offer to our students.”

“Each of us has the opportunity to incite meaningful change that challenges systemic barriers, so the responsibility to foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion lies within every member of an organization,” said Duncan, who is also an assistant professor in the Department of Patient Counseling at the College of Health Professions. “I am truly honored to partner with the School of Nursing, and will strive to strengthen a foundation built upon VCU’s core values.”

Duncan has served in various roles at VCU and VCU Health. She served as assistant dean for student affairs and community engagement for more than five years and as interim chair of the Department of Patient Counseling at the College of Health Professions. She also served as manager of bereavement services at VCU Health and as faculty chaplain at the Pauley Heart Center. 

Prior to VCU and VCU Health, Duncan served in management consulting in health care information technology, medical and hospital practice management technology, and product assurance and quality engineering in both the automobile and aerospace industries. She has also been a member of various for-profit and nonprofit boards in the areas of health and human service, finance, education, television, and religion.

Duncan earned her B.S. in zoology/chemistry from Howard University, her M.Div. from Union Presbyterian Seminary, and both her M.S. in patient counseling and Ph.D. in health related sciences from VCU.

Distinguishing Chronic Low Back Pain in Young Adults

Peter Pidcoe Ph.D., D.P.T., Alexander Stamenkovic, Susanne M. Van der Veen, and James Thomas Ph.D., D.P.T., write a paper discussing distinguishing chronic low back pain in young adults. The paper is available for public viewing at the link below.


Follow this link to learn more

Picture of Xander

The VCU College of Health Professions has named Paula Song, Ph.D., as the new chair of the Department of Health Administration

Richmond, Va. (Sept. 15, 2020) — The VCU College of Health Professions has named Paula Song, Ph.D., as the new chair of the Department of Health Administration, effective Sept. 1.

“I am thrilled to welcome Paula, to our team,” said Susan Parish, Ph.D., dean of the VCU College of Health Professions. “She brings an extraordinary set of experiences, and I am confident their collective energy, leadership and vision will have a considerable impact on the College.”

Since 2017, Song served as program director for the residential master’s program in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and a research associate at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. As program director, Song focused on programmatic improvements, enhancing efforts around diversity and inclusion, and engaging in national organizations. Under her leadership, the national ranking of UNC’s master of health administration program rose from no. 5 to no. 3 according to U.S. News and World Report. 

Song began her career as a health administrator, and subsequently transferred her interests in health administration to teaching and research. Her current research focuses on the financial management of healthcare organizations, payment reform, and how alternative payment models impact utilization and access to health services for underserved populations. Her work has been published extensively in leading health services research and healthcare management journals. She teaches courses in healthcare accounting and finance and has co-authored five leading textbooks in healthcare finance.

“I feel very fortunate to contribute to a dynamic field that has an impact on people’s lives and healthcare experiences,” said Song. “I look forward to continuing my research at VCU to address emerging questions relevant to health administration and policy, teaching and mentoring students and colleagues to be successful in their careers, and leading programs and the Department of Health Administration.”

Song is actively involved in national professional organizations such as the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). Most recently, she was named the 2020 recipient of the John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators by AUPHA. The Thompson Prize was established to honor John D. Thompson, a professor of health administration education, who set teaching, commitment to learning, collegial relationships, and health services research standards which are without peer.

She received her doctoral degree in health services organization and policy, her Master of Arts in applied economics, and Masters of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in biological basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania. 

An avid long-distance runner, Song enjoys spending time with her husband, two small children and their dog. She and her family will reside in Richmond.


VCU Nurse Anesthesia tool provides learning opportunities from real-world experiences

Anesthesia eNonymous has been rebuilt from the ground up by the team at VCU Nurse Anesthesia. It's a free resource with real patient stories from the operating room, offering lessons of how CRNAs and their teams stared down a challenge and emerged on the other side. Our goal is to learn from these stories, together, to become better providers. For more information, visit here

Have a story about the College of Health Professions in action that you'd like to share? Contact us at mgburkett@vcu.edu or (804) 828-7247.