A conversation with Dr. Daniel Ornt




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RIT’s new Clinical Health Sciences Center was celebrated at a grand opening on Oct. 2. The center, at the north end of Louise Slaughter Hall, is home to the clinical programs of the College of Health Sciences and Technology, as well as a new primary care practice, Rochester Regional Health Family Medicine, scheduled to open on Oct. 19. Dr. Daniel Ornt, vice president and dean of the Institute and College of Health Sciences and Technology, talks about what the Clinical Health Sciences Center means for the college, RIT and the community.

How will the new building change what the College of Health Sciences and Technology (CHST) is able to offer RIT students?

Ornt: There is greatly improved clinical education space designed with simulated office settings for physician assistant students, simulated sonography suites for diagnostic medical sonography students, classroom and research space for nutrition management in the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition, and space to develop our new focus in behavioral health, including a focus in health and wellness.

What aspect of the building are you most excited to show off?

Ornt: The space to engage in real practice situations for both our colleagues from Rochester Regional Health and our own behavioral health faculty. It is a great resource.

CHST’s clinical practices will be a new element at RIT. What will it add to the university?

Ornt: It will give us the visibility to recruit students in professional programs with on-campus educational opportunities, and to recruit new faculty with the added resource of on-site clinical activity and research opportunities.

How does the RRH Family Medicine practice enhance the Clinical Health Sciences Center and the education of CHST students?

Ornt: It provides a site for practical clinical education and for research into approaches to improve primary care delivery and opportunities to integrate behavioral health into primary care in innovative ways. This integration represents a major national focus in health care.

How does the RRH Family Medicine practice benefit the RIT community?

Ornt: RIT faculty and staff will have the opportunity to receive primary care for themselves and their families on campus. Having a family medicine practice and blood-draw lab at RIT will provide convenient access to services that encourage better health. The RRH Family Medicine will also serve the general public.

How is CHST using technology to advance health sciences?

Ornt: CHST faculty are forming partnerships with colleagues in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, in the biomedical engineering program in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and with partners on campus and elsewhere. Many faculty and students are looking for opportunities to be creative in the health-care arena and having real-time programs on campus makes this more likely to be successful.

CHST is now 5 years old. What will continue to define CHST and set it apart from other health colleges?

Ornt: Our reputation will grow through our clinical professional programs and opportunities to partner with our technical colleagues in other colleges, who are looking for solutions to improve health care.

What do you see as the next big steps for CHST?

Ornt: We will establish new degree programs in behavioral health and in the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition. One example is the exercise science degree, which is awaiting state approval.

About CHST

The College of Health Sciences and Technology is the ninth college to open at RIT. The college, which opened in September 2011, has its roots in the RIT & Rochester Regional Health Alliance, formed in 2008 to broaden educational opportunities for RIT students and to encourage collaboration between the two organizations. CHST offers these programs:

  • Biomedical sciences: A Bachelor of Science program.
  • Diagnostic medical sonography: A Bachelor of Science as well as certificates in diagnostic medical sonography and echocardiography, or ultrasound of the heart.
  • Health systems administration: An online Master of Science program as well an undergraduate certificate program.
  • Medical illustration: A Master of Fine Arts program.
  • Physician assistant: A combined Bachelor and Master of Science program.
  • The Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition: A Bachelor of Science in nutrition management. A Bachelor of Science in exercise science is pending state approval, and the college plans to build a Master of Science degree in health and wellness and a Ph.D. in applied nutrition.
  • The Center for Applied Psychophysiology and Self-regulation