By Cheryl J. Hill, Ph.D., D.P.T., PT, Physical Therapy Professor and Editor in Chief, Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice
Once upon a time…
Nova Southeastern University began in 1964 as Nova University of Advanced Technology. Initially located on East Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale, it subsequently moved to the former site of Forman Field in Davie—an auxiliary airfield during World War II. Over the next three decades, Nova University added programs in business, computing, education, engineering, law, oceanography, and psychology.
Also occurring in the 1960s was the birth of Osteopathic General Hospital, which ultimately became Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine. In 1953, Morton Terry, D.O., M.Sc., FACOI, founded Biscayne Osteopathic General Hospital, a 100-bed general community hospital.
This privately owned hospital relocated to North Miami Beach in 1960 and was renamed Osteopathic General Hospital. As osteopathic medicine gained a foothold in health care, Terry envisioned the day he could establish an osteopathic medical school in Florida. He accomplished this goal in 1979 when Osteopathic General Hospital was converted into Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine (SECOM)—the only osteopathic medical school located in the southeastern United States at the time.
The next step for SECOM was to add a college of pharmacy, followed by a college of optometry. By 1989, which is when Southeastern College of Optometry admitted its charter class, the three colleges were accorded university status, prompting the adoption of a new name: Southeastern University of the Health Sciences.
Terry eventually came to believe that Southeastern University probably could not grow further without an affiliation with an established university, so in late 1989, he met with the dean of the University of Miami School of Medicine. However, the two universities did not reach an agreement, so he later contacted Nova University.
Formal discussions for a merger between Nova University and Southeastern University of the Health Sciences began in April of 1993. The formal merger agreement took place on September 27, 1993, and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) was born. The medical programs became the Health Professions Division of Nova Southeastern University, and the College of Allied Health was created.
The Physician Assistant Program was the first program of the College of Allied Health to open in 1993, followed by the Occupational Therapy Program and the Physical Therapy Program in 1994. The College of Allied Health was initially housed in the old physical therapy department in North Miami Beach, Florida.
As the number of faculty members grew, physical therapy moved to the old pharmacy space and then to the old pediatric wing, which had been converted into office space for physical and occupational therapy. However, the PA Program faculty members stayed in the old physical therapy department. An interesting note is that at that point in the college’s history, faculty members brought their own computers from home to their offices, as the university did not provide computers for any of the colleges.
In 1996, the College of Allied Health moved from North Miami Beach to its current location on the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus. Today, the college also has programs in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Tampa, and the United Kingdom.
Undergraduate Degree Offerings
- Athletic Training—Fort Lauderdale—The program transitioned to a Master’s degree in May, 2018
- Exercise and Sport Science—Fort Lauderdale
- Health Sciences—Online
- Health Sciences Cardiovascular Sonography—Tampa
- Health Sciences Medical Sonography—Fort Lauderdale
- Respiratory Therapy (Completion)—Online—Palm Beach Gardens
- Respiratory Therapy—First Professional—Palm Beach Gardens
- Speech Language and Communication Disorders—Fort Lauderdale
Master’s Degree Offerings
- Anesthesiologist Assistant—Fort Lauderdale—Tampa
- Athletic Training—Fort Lauderdale
- Health Sciences—Online
- Occupational Therapy—Fort Lauderdale
- Physician Assistant/M.M.S.—Fort Lauderdale—Fort Myers—Jacksonville—Orlando
- Speech-Language Pathology (Hybrid)—Fort Lauderdale
Doctoral Degree Offerings
- Audiology—Fort Lauderdale—United Kingdom
- Audiology (postmasters)—United Kingdom
- Health Sciences (D.H.Sc.)—Online
- Health Sciences (Ph.D.)—Online
- Occupational Therapy (Dr.OT)—Online
- Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.)—Tampa
- Occupational Therapy (Hybrid O.T.D.)—Tampa
- Occupational Therapy (Ph.D.)—Online
- Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)—Fort Lauderdale
- Physical Therapy (T.D.P.T.)—Online
- Physical Therapy (Ph.D.)—Online
- Physical Therapy (Hybrid D.P.T.)—Tampa
- Speech-Language Pathology (SLP.D.)—Online
It’s All in the Name
Originally called the College of Allied Health, the name changed to the College of Allied Health and Nursing when NSU opened its nursing program in 2004. In 2012, when the nursing program separated from the College of Allied Health to become the College of Nursing, the allied health college changed its name to the College of Health Care Sciences. Finally, in 2017, following a substantial donation to the college from pediatrician Dr. Pallavi Patel, M.D., the college was renamed the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences.
The Dean’s Office
The college is very fortunate to have had only three deans in its history. The first dean, Raul R. Cuadrado, Ph.D., Dr.Ph., M.P.H., hailed from Cuba and owned an avocado farm on 25 acres in Homestead, Florida. Over the course of his academic career, he served as dean of the NSU College of Allied Health and as dean at Florida International University’s College of Allied Health, and is credited with developing more than 20 fully accredited, innovative health and social degree programs at the master’s and doctoral level.
In 2001, Richard E. Davis, Ed.D., PA-C, became the college’s acting dean. By 2003, he was named permanent dean and served as such until 2013, when he was promoted to vice president of the university’s regional campus network and online operations.
While serving as dean of the college, Davis was instrumental in expanding the professional programs from 400 students in 2001 to approximately 4,000 students by 2013. He also served as the first editor in chief of the Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice—the open-access online journal of the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences.
Davis was succeeded by Stanley Wilson, Ed.D., PT, CEAS, as the college’s dean in 2013 and continues in that position today. Wilson is highly respected by faculty and staff members for his leadership and people skills within the college. He is extremely proud of his faculty and staff members and administrators, who work very hard and unselfishly give of themselves to ensure the high quality of the college’s 29 programs.
Program Inception Overview
1993: Physician Assistant Program starts in North Miami Beach and offers a Bachelor
of Health Science degree.
1994: Occupational Therapy Program launches in North Miami Beach.
1994: Physical Therapy Program opens in North Miami Beach.
1997: Post-Master’s Audiology Program (online) commences.
2000: Audiology residential program begins on the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus.
2001: Athletic Training Program starts on the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus, offering a
Bachelor of Science entry-level degree. In May 2018, the undergraduate program is
phased out and replaced with a graduate program offering a master’s degree.
2003: Audiology Program established in the United Kingdom.
2006: Anesthesiology Assistant Program opens on Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus.
2009: Second Anesthesia Assistant Program opens at the Tampa Campus.
2009: Exercise Science Program launches on the Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus.
2011: Physical Therapy Program (hybrid) begins on the Tampa Campus
2012: Occupational Therapy Program (hybrid) begins on the Tampa Campus.
Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice
The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice (IJAHSP), the college’s official journal, is an internationally peer-reviewed, open-access, scholarly, online journal dedicated to the global exploration of allied health professional practice, research, and education. Now in its 16th year of publication, the IJAHSP continues to welcome manuscripts from first-time and seasoned authors who have the desire to share knowledge through the dissemination of published works online.
The IJAHSP provides a global, interdisciplinary forum where initiatives involving the science, practice, and education of allied health professionals are shared. Because of the journal’s broad scope, its editorial and review boards are composed of practitioners, researchers, scholars, and educators from universities, hospitals, and private practices across the globe. It is because of these individuals that the journal continues as a free service to the health science community.
There is no cost to authors to publish or to readers to download articles, and there are no advertisements. It is truly a service to the world of allied health. More than 100 articles are downloaded each day from readers around the world. At the bottom of the front page, there is a world map that shows which articles are being downloaded and from where when you use Firefox or Chrome as your browser; this feature does not work with Explorer. To view the journal, please visit nsuworks.nova.edu/ijahsp.
The Next 25 Years
The one thing we know for sure about the future of the college is that there will be change. Changes in health care are coming at us so quickly, it is hard to keep up. Available technology to facilitate better diagnosis and treatment is increasing at a pace we have never seen before, and the need for interprofessional approaches to patient care has become paramount. Whatever comes our way, the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences will be there to lead our professions into new visions for health care.