Classes to begin at new health sciences school

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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Mary Baldwin College’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences

Mary Baldwin College’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences is welcoming its first students this month. The school is located on a 30-acre site in Augusta County, about 8 miles from Mary Baldwin‘s main campus in Staunton.

Seventy students are expected to start physical therapy and occupational therapy doctoral programs on June 15, with 35 students in each cohort. Besides those programs, Murphy Deming also plans to offer a master’s degree in physician assistant studies and an online bachelor’s degree in nursing next summer. The school is housed in a 53,000-square-foot building that includes four large classrooms, nine clinical laboratories, two research spaces and several collaborative learning spaces.

Linda Seestedt-Stanford, vice president of the health sciences college, says Mary Baldwin created it partly because of a local need for health-care training. The nursing program, for example, will help hospitals meet new Institute of Medicine standards, which call for the proportion of their nurses with bachelor’s degrees to reach 80 percent by 2020.

Augusta Health in Fishersville has agreed to provide $60,000 a year for five years to support the program, which will help its nurses meet the new requirements. Seestedt-Stanford says the nursing program “is a transition program for those nurses who have that … associate degree in nursing so they can get their bachelor’s degree.”

The health sciences college also has agreements with other Virginia schools, such as Bridgewater College, Virginia Military Institute and Ferrum College. Students at those colleges are guaranteed admission to Murphy Deming’s physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician-assistant studies programs if they meet admission requirements and have a successful interview.

“Bridgewater has sent us some amazing students, and Ferrum also has, so we are really very pleased with those articulation agreements and what we’ve accomplished so far with them,” Seestedt-Stanford says. 

Mary Baldwin is a private, liberal arts university, which includes an undergraduate college for women and graduate and adult degree programs for men and women. Last fall, Mary Baldwin enrolled 1,739 total students, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

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