Last week, the Oxley College of Health Sciences opened its doors at its location downtown, on S. Boulder Ave.
This college will pull together Communication Disorders and Sciences, Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, undergraduate and graduate Nursing and the School of Community Medicine, in partnership with OU.
Dr. Gerald Clancy, who formerly worked as the president of University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, is the Vice President of Health Affairs and now Dean of this new college.
The new college comes at a time when the US healthcare system is facing a growing elderly population and numbers of nurses and physicians are not meeting this demand.
According to Clancy, having the new building is essential because the previous facilities weren’t enough to expand.
Being downtown also allows the college to work closely with like-minded community agencies, like Big Brothers Big Sisters.
An important factor to the new building is the simulation center, which will host both hospital and clinic rooms.
These rooms will allow students to practice their skills on experienced actors, while faculty watch from outside.
The new building also houses the Oxley Clinics, a combination of a primary care, behavioral health, wellness program and legal clinic.
This clinic would see senior students working alongside clinicians. This experience reflects Clancy’s desire to have students “experience community and the lecture hall,” as he says he wants them to “see how messy and hard it is to get things done” in the community.
In addition to the Oxley Clinics, Clancy says some of the college’s research will be focused on how to shorten the gap between average life spans in different parts of the city.
Work over the past ten years has shortened the gap from a 14 year difference to an 11 year difference.
Clancy believes that over the next ten years, more research will be done into “how mental illness plays into lifespan differences and what it takes across an entire city to change.”
Changing the lifespan difference will involve collaboration between different fields of study.
“Legal issues have huge implications for health,” Clancy said, pointing to housing issues in certain parts of town as an example.
Teamwork is also an important goal for the new college. To deal with the predicted shortage of physicians in the future, Clancy believes physicians will need to work primarily in teams, and the new college is set up in a similar fashion. As the college builds its plan for mental health issues, it hopes to be directly involved with various mental health programs around the city.
Another goal of the new college is to grow the number of health sciences students. To do so, the college is adding the graduate nursing program, and has modified the bachelor’s degree of exercise and sports sciences.
The program will now have seven different tracks, each for a specific job. A master’s degree program in Athletic Training is also being added as a result of changes on a national level.
While the college did not offer any courses this semester in the new building, Clancy hopes to have classes there in the summer, or at least by the fall. Most of these would be for juniors and seniors in the college.
According to Clancy, however, “there is a lot of interest in a history of medicine course,” as well as courses in collaboration with film studies, anthropology and computer science.
These courses could possibly deal with how film can promote health, or how big data can predict future health care needs.During the semester, a shuttle will run between the main campus and the Oxley building.