Points of Pride

Academic excellence: U.S. News & World Report ranks Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services' audiology, occupational therapy, physician assistant, and speech pathology graduate programs among the top 50 programs of their kind in the nation. Rehabilitation counseling and social work are also ranked among the best graduate schools in the nation.

State-of-the-art facility: College of Health and Human Services academic programs are housed in a high-tech building that facilitates progressive methods of teaching, learning and research. It is the first building in southwest Michigan to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (Leed-EB) standards, and its 2009 gold-level certification distinguishes it as the most highly rated higher education building in the United States.

Research productivity: For more than 10 years, the College of Health and Human Services has been among a select few of the nation's schools and colleges of allied health that consistently receive prestigious research awards from the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical skills and specialized health care provision: Through College of Health and Human Services affiliates—the Unified Clinics and the Center for Disability Services—students practice clinical skills and a broad population of community members receive specialized health care. These enterprises serve 1,800 patients per week in more than 80,000 appointments annually. 

The College of Health and Human Services is advancing its commitment to interdisciplinary, holistic and collaborative education, research and service innovatively through two interdisciplinary health academic programs and two interdisciplinary academic centers.

The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Ph.D. program is an interdisciplinary approach to educating Ph.D. professionals with research and leadership skills to improve health and human services in all areas of society.

The Interdisciplinary Health Services program prepares students to apply skills necessary to think critically, work collaboratively, act ethically and respond flexibly to change in health and human services.

The Center for Excellence in Gerontology in the College of Health and Human Services addresses the aging of America and forecasted future needs and services for older adults. It provides for the study of aging, the education of WMU students in gerontology, interdisciplinary research to improve health and human services for older persons, and education and service learning activities for professionals and older adults and their families.

The Center for Health Information Technology Advancement is a collaboration between the Bronson School of Nursing and the Department of Business Information Systems at the WMU Haworth College of Business. It addresses state and federal priorities aimed at using technology to reform health care delivery. Through courses and real-world experiences, students are able to offer ways to organize and deploy information technology effectively and efficiently for better health care outcomes.

The Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies is the oldest and largest—and regarded as one of the best—programs of its kind in the world. Faculty members are engaged in groundbreaking national research on safety issues related to quiet cars and traffic roundabouts, which impact the safety of persons with blindness and low vision.

The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at WMU was one of the nation's earliest clinics for the study and treatment of speech disorders and the preparation of speech therapists. Its founder Dr. Charles Van Riper was a pioneer in the field, known worldwide for his innovative treatment for stuttering. The department's graduate program was the first in Michigan and one of the first six in the nation to gain accreditation.

The Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness program is one of only four similar programs in the country and offers both an undergraduate minor and graduate certificate that foster "holism" within health care and across other disciplines.

The college's occupational therapy department is the first and oldest non-teacher education program at WMU; its founding in 1922 initiated Western's expansion from a teachers' college to a comprehensive institution of higher learning. It is also the highest-ranking occupational therapy program in Michigan by U.S. News & World Report.

The college's physician assistant program is the first to be established with legislative approval and funding appropriation in Michigan and has one of the highest pass rates in the country for its national licensure exam.

The School of Social Work is a research-driven professional program that focuses on social change, social justice and service transformation, working closely with students and the community. It serves the profession, and has reached national and international audiences through its Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare since 1974.

Established in 1973, the Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse was the first of its kind in Michigan and the first university-based training clinic in Michigan to address the criminal justice population of substance abusers.