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Students anxiously await fall opening of ninth college

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Uchenna Azogu and Janis Connor will finish spring quarter as juniors in RIT’s College of Science and return in the fall as seniors in the College of Health Sciences and Technology.

“It is awesome that RIT will be able to say, ‘Yes, we have a college specific for those who wish to purse a career in medicine,’” says Azogu, a student in the biomedical sciences program. “I’m just excited to see it all come together.”

Azogu and Connor, a fellow biomedical sciences major, will already have started the arduous task of applying to medical school when the RIT–Rochester General Health System Alliance officially opens the Institute of Health Sciences and Technology and RIT’s ninth college in September. Azogu and Connor will be members of the inaugural graduating class. And even though they will have only one year to experience the College of Health Sciences and Technology, they have quickly identified with their new home base.

For decades, pockets of passionate students like Azogu and Connor have worked toward health-care related careers in programs scattered throughout the College of Science, College of Applied Science and Technology, and College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. Seven existing programs from these colleges will form the foundation of the College of Health Sciences and Technology: physician assistant (B.S./M.S.), diagnostic medical sonography (B.S. and certificate program), biomedical sciences (B.S.), clinical chemistry (M.S.), nutrition management (B.S.), health systems administration (M.S.) and medical illustration (M.F.A.). Initially, 1,000 students will enter the new college.

The Center for Bioscience Education and Technology and the premedical studies office also will move into the Institute of Health Sciences and Technology. A building to house the institute, college and the institute’s research and outreach components—the Health Sciences Research Center and the Health Science Outreach Center—is tentatively planned for 2015.

“For those of us who have been in allied health and the medical sciences program since we’ve arrived at RIT, this has been a dream,” says Richard Doolittle, acting dean of the college.

“There is going to be a critical shortage of health-care professionals—from physicians to patient care workers to people working as medical assistants,” he continues. “It’s a combination of baby boomers coming into a stage where they need more care and those same baby boomers retiring without enough workforce available to fill their shoes.”

Students in the College of Health Sciences and Technology will work with faculty and physicians contributing to the Health Sciences Research Center and the Health Science Outreach Center. These branches of the institute are in the early stages of development but will focus on applying innovative technologies in health-care delivery and meeting community-health needs.

“The wonderful thing about the institute is that it creates an enterprise that has opportunities for people across the campus to participate,” Doolittle says. “They can collaborate in the health-care arena with us.”