Author: Charlotte Anthony | Category: Of Interest | Translational Science (Ph.D.) | February 25, 2015
“The program opens up graduate catalogs of four University of Texas components so our
students can take courses from multiple campuses,” explained Dr. Michael
Lichtenstein, program director of the Translational Science program at the UT
Health Science Center at San Antonio.
of four universities working together to offer a single joint doctoral degree
is unique in the University of Texas System. The program is able to combine the
resources and expertise of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), and The University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH) Regional Campus in San Antonio.
expertise of the Health Science Center and from UT Austin, UTSA, and UTSPH is
really good for the students. They have more opportunities for collaboration
across institutions. They are not housed in a single department. This is all interdisciplinary so they have opportunities
to work with a large number of professors with a lot of different expertise,”
said Susan Stappenbeck, senior project coordinator at UT Health Science Center
at San Antonio.
a graduate student in the program explained that as a student with a
full-time job, the program’s flexibility allows her to pursue an education
without compromising her career.
classes offered across all four universities allow the flexibility to keep a
schedule outside of work hours and my employer is highly supportive of this
effort, including very flexible shifts in work hours per semester needs,”
Hammill said. “The flexibility of the program allowed me to show up and also to
craft my pathway within my interest of policy and implementation sciences.”
Kelly Reveles, alumnae
of the Translational Science Ph.D. program said that although the program is
rigorous, it compels you to balance a variety of activities, including
coursework, research, teaching, and home life.
“The program is
flexible in that you can tailor your coursework to your research interests and optimal
schedule, as well as being a part-time student if necessary,” Reveles said. “I
was actually able to work a few hours a week on top of being a full-time
student. The rigor of the program helps you learn the best way to organize and
prioritize your activities to become more efficient.”
With a Doctorate
of Pharmacy, Reveles was interested in learning specifically how drug therapies
prevent and treat healthcare-associated infections and how to move clinical
research into the community.
enabled me to view these infections from a different perspective. I enrolled in
several courses within the UT School of Public Health and these sources enabled
me to better understand the broader implications of my research and actually
helped to shape my research aims,” Reveles said.
explained that many of the students in the Ph.D. program are people who have
worked in the field and realize the need to get a doctorate degree to further
they do is with the goal in mind to translate what they are doing to the next
step whether its bench work, clinical, medical practice, health care or
policy,” Stappenbeck said. “Our students are aware of what they are doing and
how they can use it for the next step. It’s not doing science for the sake of
science, it’s about trying to make the goal of making their science be of use
explained that in addition to allowing students to take courses from multiple
campuses, the program was built from the ground up.
“There are about
30 Translational Science Ph.D. programs in the U.S. and a lot of them have been
rebranded. For example, there might have been a Ph.D. program in Molecular Medicine and
the university may decide to turn that into a Translational Science Ph.D,” Lichtenstein said. “Our
program covers the entire translational spectrum so we have people from very diverse
background. This includes anyone who’s really interested in basic discovery to
someone who’s interested in policy research.”
that the collaboration between the universities was intentional in the design
of the program.
in grassroots bottom-up approaches to change and in lowering barriers in access
to education. The Translational Science program is an example of that,” Lichtenstein
said. “People should be able to take the best courses from wherever they are available within the UT System. If there’s a
faculty member who’s superb at what they do, we should figure out ways to make
it accessible to as many students as possible. Students vote by which courses they select. In some ways, it's analogous to operating a
restaurant; if customers clamor for reservations then you are doing a great job. If customers
don’t come, you should rethink your menu.”
Special thanks to Kelly Reveles for sharing her diploma which features the seals of University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin).
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