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A new era: Announcing the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences


It’s not just a new name, it’s the beginning of a transformation in healthcare education in Northeast Florida.

In honor of the largest single gift in the history of the College of Health Sciences and in gratitude for Brooks Rehabilitation’s ongoing support totaling $4 million over several years, the College is now the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences.

The additional funds and heightened connection with its longstanding healthcare education partner open new pathways for the college.

“Strategic planning with Brooks Rehabilitation as our core supporting organization will allow us to decisively invest in very specific areas of healthcare training,” said Dr. Christine Sapienza, Dean of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences.

“We also intend to produce high-quality scientific research, and use contemporary, hybrid and online teaching methods, so that we educate in the most flexible and efficient manner to meet the needs of today’s society. With Brooks Rehabilitation as the model of one of the most effective rehabilitation centers in the country, we have no doubt our results will provide us with continued celebration of this investment.”

As an example of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences’ rapid response to industry demand, it has already announced a new Master of Science in Health Informatics, the first in the region. It will be a hybrid of in-class and online coursework starting fall 2015, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Health informatics is helping clinicians improve quality and delivery of services by heightening patient safety, reducing medication errors, revamping diagnostic and workflow processes, decreasing cost of care and boosting development of personalized medicine and nanomedicine, said Program officials.

A lead portion of the University’s ongoing $120 million ASPIRE 2020 Campaign, the investment by the non-profit Brooks Rehabilitation strengthens the University’s cooperative relationship with one of the premier healthcare organizations in the region and reinforces a joint commitment to offer the highest-quality healthcare education and practice possible.

“Brooks Rehabilitation is a world-class partner,” said JU President Tim Cost. “They have earned a stellar reputation for outstanding service and care that complements ours, and this agreement will benefit our community’s residents and visitors. Together with our good friends at Brooks, the University will accelerate its recruitment of the very best students, faculty and researchers. We are honored and grateful to team with an organization of the unparalleled caliber of Brooks Rehabilitation and its outstanding CEO, Doug Baer.”

The newly donated and committed funds from Brooks will help Jacksonville University fulfill its 81-year academic promise to invest in its students and the community that has sustained it throughout its proud history. The mission and vision of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences is to offer the most cohesive, competitive and exceptional programs that attract and educate the brightest minds to respond to the needs of an ever-changing healthcare marketplace.

“Brooks is proud to support JU in its commitment to provide exceptional educational programming for our future healthcare practitioners,” said Doug Baer, CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation. “JU is being aggressive and proactive to elevate its existing programs and identify areas of unmet need. Brooks is a large employer of therapists, nurses and other health professionals, and therefore, we have a unique motivation to ensure that graduates from JU’s College of Healthcare Sciences are expertly trained in their fields. Our culture of excellence is based upon the value of continuous learning, which is demonstrated by the expertise of our staff. We are excited about this partnership and the impact it will have on our community.”

Brooks Rehabilitation’s longstanding history as a JU supporter includes a seven-figure gift in 2014 that established the Brooks Rehabilitation Speech-Language Pathology Program, fulfilling a goal to create a transformational educational program for Northeast Florida. The Brooks Rehabilitation Speech-Language Pathology program has proven very successful, advancing degrees of more than 60 students every two years, with outstanding employment prospects.

According to Sapienza, one of the biggest pluses of the stronger connection is the ability to heighten JU’s reach and impact in the area’s healthcare community.

“The approach that we have adopted in partnership with Brooks Rehabilitation will allow us to build a high-quality educational team that will create essentially a community of healthcare providers,” she said. “It is our intent to attract our graduates to stay and serve the Jacksonville community. Our programs will have premier internships not only with Brooks Rehabilitation as the hub, but with the many distinguished affiliations we have in the Jacksonville area.”

The partnership also helps solidify plans to continue to build out the college’s successful Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program (MS SLP), initiate professional training in occupational therapy, and develop a high-quality mental health counseling program focused on marriage and family, with specific coursework available to those in active or past military service, Sapienza added.

As an industry leader in advancing the health and well-being of the communities it serves, the non-profit Brooks Rehabilitation has more than 40 years’ expertise in providing world-class physical rehabilitation clinicians. Its 157-bed rehabilitation hospital and cutting-edge research facility are unique in the region, and its more than 25 outpatient centers provide world-class physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology for people requiring care.

“Brooks Rehabilitation’s leadership strongly supports our mission. It is an honor and a privilege to partner with them, as their support empowers JU to lead progress, create opportunity, build programs and thrive during a time of progressive transition,” Sapienza said. “It is our intent to develop genuinely caring healthcare professionals. In today’s academic society, an institution must adapt and offer a broad-enough array of healthcare education while shaping excellence in the curriculum.”

For more about the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, click here.