UAB adds Biomedical Sciences undergraduate program

UAB adds Biomedical Sciences as a major; will train professionals in processes and methods for diagnosing, analyzing and treating diseases.

Written by Kevin Storr

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) and the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees approved the addition of a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

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This new program, housed in the UAB School of Health Professions, leverages the strengths and expertise from faculty across campus to emphasize the study of life processes in the context of human health and disease risk, diagnosis, management and treatment.

This unique curriculum is human-based and clinically focused, and it will prepare students for health-related graduate and professional programs or for entry into one of the fastest growing occupational sectors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, combined with healthcare support occupations, will add approximately 3.4 million jobs from 2010 to 2020.

“The UAB campus has a deep-rooted history in health and medical education, so we are proud to offer a valuable addition to meet the tremendous increase in the number of students interested in healthcare careers,” said Bradley Newcomer, Ph.D., inaugural director of the biomedical sciences undergraduate program. “The program will also capitalize on the existing course work and expert faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences to provide students a broad academic foundation.”

Newcomer, who has more than 14 years of experience as a faculty member at UAB, earned his doctoral degree in biomedical sciences from Wright State University. Previously, he was the founding director of UAB’s Experiential Learning Scholars Program (ELSP). In four years, he grew it into the largest signature program within the UAB Honors College. He is a past director of the Global and Community Leadership (GCL) Honors Program. Most recently, Newcomer led the transition of the UAB Honors Academy into the UAB Honors College, overseeing a 39 percent enrollment increase in the Honors College during his two-year tenure.

“He was successful developing and leading two university-wide undergraduate honors programs at UAB for the past several years,” said UAB School of Health Professions Dean Harold Jones, Ph.D. “There is nobody who understands the needs of exceptional undergraduates better than Brad; we are all excited to see him build the biomedical sciences program into a signature program.”

The first two years of the program consist of core liberal arts studies including English, biology, calculus and history. The final two years cover areas such as biochemistry, physiology and pathologic diseases; it also includes six elective courses the students will choose based on their desired career track.

“The most exciting thing about this new degree option is that it prepares students for entry into health-related graduate and professional programs by allowing students to tailor their academic curriculum to fit their future academic and career goals,” said Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences. “By allowing this curriculum tailoring, students will be able to prepare themselves earlier in their academic careers which, we hope, will allow them to more seamlessly and quickly reach their ultimate academic and/or career goals.”

The biomedical sciences undergraduate program is available for freshman and rising sophomores beginning with the fall 2013 semester. For more information, visit www.uab.edu/shp/cds/biomedical-sciences.

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