The Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services developed the Ph.D. in interdisciplinary health sciences in response to the findings of the Pew Health Professions Commission1 and National Commission on Allied Health2 regarding the need for doctoral prepared research faculty educated in an interdisciplinary framework.
These commissions challenged professional schools to restructure health care education to reflect the fundamental changes that have occurred in health care in the last decade. They identified inflexible curricula and disciplinary boundaries as the principal barriers to change needed to prepare students for a new interdisciplinary, team-oriented work place. They also cited the paucity of research in allied health as a serious impediment to improving care and service delivery.
The Ph.D. in interdisciplinary health sciences was designed to meet this challenge. It develops doctoral level professionals with interdisciplinary competencies, as well as with advanced skill for teaching in higher education, and in using interdisciplinary research methodologies to address important questions in health (including allied health) and human services. The first students were admitted to this program in 2002.
1O'Neil, E.H., and Pew Health Professions Commission. Recreating Health Professional Practice for a New Century. San Francisco, CA: Pew Health Professions Commission, 1998.
2National Commission on Allied Health. "Executive Summary." Journal of Allied Health. Summer 1995; 24(3):165-185. National Commission on Allied Health was established by the Health Professions Education Extension Amendments in 1995 (PL 102-408).