School of Biomedical Sciences prepares for a vibrant future

          The students in the graduate programs of the School of Biomedical Sciences in the USF College of Medicine are a diverse and talented group.

         Some are focused on earning a PhD to follow a career in scientific research. Others wish to better prepare themselves for medical school or other professional educational offerings.

         Some already have full-time jobs and hope learning more can enhance their skills in a tough economy. Still others are seeking to pursue new, emerging roles in healthcare.

         Now, the organizational structure of the School of Biomedical Sciences in the USF College of Medicine has been reoriented to better serve these students, especially those seeking research PhDs and professional master’s degrees.

         “The change in the School of Biomedical Sciences is a great example of USF Health’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurial solutions,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health. “We’re supporting students in more traditional research careers, while also answering the needs of those seeking education in professional careers and emerging fields.”

          In the past, academic institutions sometimes have hesitated to act boldly and move in new directions,” Dr. Klasko said. “USF Health is responding to the changing medical and health professions workforce needs by moving forward in a way that responds to the educational needs of our students while maintaining the core missions and traditions of the College of Medicine.”


          Graduate education always has been a key component of the College of Medicine’s mission. But over the past few years, interest in the college’s professional master’s degree concentrations, such as the pre-professional program, the on-line health sciences program, and metabolic and nutritional medicine, has grown dramatically.

          In 2003-04, the graduate programs held 104 students. Today, close to 800 students are enrolled in 33 programs, concentrations and certificates. 

          Michael Barber, D Phil, associate dean for graduate and postdoctoral affairs, has been the director of the School of Biomedical Sciences since 2007. Under the new organizational structure, Dr. Barber will continue to direct the school, but will also supervise the Division of Professional Programs.

         The other division, the Integrated PhD Program, will continue to be directed by Eric Bennett, PhD.  Dr. Bennett, a professor and vice chair in the department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, has served as the leader of the PhD programs.

          The move to these two divisions will allow the school to meet the needs of both PhD students pursuing research careers in the basic sciences and respond to the growing interest in education in emerging healthcare professions.

        “With the School of Biomedical Sciences, we are living the academic entrepreneurial model,” Dr. Klasko said. “This change helps us move forward as we work to change the DNA of healthcare.”