Message from Founding Dean Dr. William Latimer
Welcome to the School of Health Sciences, Human Services and Nursing at Lehman College of The City University of New York. Health care is undergoing major transformation in the US. As a result, it is an incredibly exciting time to be at the forefront of research, service and the educational and professional training of allied health professionals and scientists. In the US today, health care accounts for 15% of our nation's economy while allied health professions account for nearly 11% of the total workforce. Here in the Bronx, the School of Health Sciences, Human Services and Nursing at Lehman College is exceptionally well positioned to emerge as a local, national and international leader in the training of allied health professionals due in part to the long traditions of excellence of the disciplines comprising the new School.
Under the leadership of Dr. Norma Phillips, the Department of Social Work recently began to offer a Master of Social Work degree to complement its longstanding undergraduate program that has been fully accredited since 1983. Under the leadership of Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges, the Department of Nursing recently celebrated its 40th anniversary at Lehman College offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, including an innovative foreign nurse program. The Department of Health Sciences led by Dr. Luisa Borrell has seven undergraduate programs and five graduate programs, including health education and promotion, nutrition, and public health representing some of the fastest growing majors in the College and nationwide given widespread demand for these professions in the workforce.
The Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences led by Dr. Stephen Cavallo also offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees and is home to a growing speech and hearing center that provides high quality audiological services to the community. The Chairs of each of these departments and those that have gone before them have done extraordinary work to establish excellence in their respective training programs. One goal going forward will be to provide meaningful ways to build multiple bridges between departments across their respective research, service, and teaching missions to provide enhanced training opportunities for students. We also benefit substantially from long-standing collaborations with exceptional hospitals throughout the Bronx and in neighboring boroughs as well as by collaboration with many public and private agencies throughout New York City that shape health care agendas in urban settings nationwide.
While the new School at Lehman College and the Bronx are experiencing growth and development on a number of positive fronts, we still face significant health challenges. At nearly 30%, we have twice as many people living below the poverty line compared to New York State and national averages. Teen birth rates have been on the decline throughout NYC boroughs over the past decade, including the Bronx, however, the rate of teen births continues to be the highest in the Bronx compared to other urban settings. Rates of many chronic diseases, such as adult obesity and adult tobacco use are also high in the Bronx though comparable to rates in other boroughs. The health challenges facing Bronx residents are associated with a complex interplay of social and environmental factors that are not always easy to change. At the same time, there are a growing number of empirically validated approaches to health care delivery, health education and public health programming that can reduce chronic disease rates and burden while improving health and well-being across the lifespan. At the heart of the mission of the School of Health Sciences, Human Services and Nursing at Lehman College is a goal to translate scientifically validated approaches that foster health to a new generation of allied health professionals and to the communities in which we live and strive to serve throughout the Bronx and in urban settings nationwide and internationally.
While the challenges we face are substantial they are not insurmountable. Through sustained diligence, a commitment to the highest caliber of education, research and service, and in collaboration with public and private agencies throughout the Bronx, the School of Health Sciences, Human Services and Nursing at Lehman College is committed to bringing effective solutions to the public health challenges facing urban settings in an effort to promote health equity both nationally and internationally. We welcome you to join us in accomplishing this goal.