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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.

‘I could really see myself here at VCU’

A health sciences summer pathways program offers undergrads from across the country a six-week slice of life as a graduate health professional student — and connections to last a lifetime.

Cheryl Ford-Smith, D.P.T., demonstrates a reflexology exam over Zoom on Kaylah Beharrie, a second-year VCU physical therapy student and 2019 Summer Academic Enrichment Program graduate, in a classroom at VCU College of Health Professions. (Tom Kojcsich, University Relations)
Image by Tom Kojcsich, University Relations

As director of special programs for student recruitment and retention and an associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the VCU College of Health Professions, Cheryl Ford-Smith created a physical therapy-focused high school program in the 2000s and was used to managing every aspect of a pathway program, from recruitment to education of participants. When VCU established the Division for Health Sciences Diversity and its pathway programs, Ford-Smith could put her focus back on what she does best: establishing relationships with pre-health students and educating them about the profession and VCU’s program.

Read more about student experiences at the Summer Academic Enrichment Program.

Northam, on tour of College of Health Professions

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday, along with leaders at Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health, stressed the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and of training frontline health care workers in remarks made to reporters during a visit to VCU’s College of Health Professions.

picture of Governor Northam in CHP Lobby

Northam, M.D., received an in-depth tour of the college’s eight-story facility that included stops in the departments of Health Administration, Occupational TherapyNurse AnesthesiaRadiation Sciences and Medical Laboratory Sciences. He also observed some of the research taking place in Physical Therapy while meeting students, faculty and staff. Susan Parish, Ph.D., dean of the college, Arthur Kellermann, M.D., senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System, and members of the dean’s office accompanied Northam during his visit.

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New health services degree gives students a chance to make change

Health care jobs are in high demand during the pandemic. And with student interest in health care careers on the rise (according to educators’ responses to a January 2021 Education Week survey) Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Health Professions is offering more options for students.

picture of bachelor science_featured_news

Starting this fall, a new Bachelor of Science in Health Services program will give students who are passionate about improving health care but might not be as interested in clinical aspects the opportunity to advance their careers.

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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.”


Introducing “The Write Track,” an online community writing space for faculty

VCU Faculty now have a space as a community to support one another in advancing writing projects, grants, book proposals, performances or exhibits, and much more with “The Write Track.” Essentially, this group is here to support anything that helps advance the scholarship and creative work of faculty colleagues.

According to organizers, this is intended as a peer to peer group with support from the Director of Faculty Success and CTLE. Think of it as one avenue to get your questions answered, create writing accountability, share progress, and find resources. The group will thrive best with more and more faculty participating. 


Please invite any VCU faculty -  all ranks, adjuncts are welcome! VCU doctoral students working on scholarship and writing are also welcome.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/304102474791118

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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.