Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

March 31, 2005

SHRS turns 35

Pitt’s youngest Health Sciences school is a baby no more, as this academic year marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS).

Established by then-Chancellor Wesley Posvar on Jan. 1, 1969, the School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) as it was originally known, was launched with the mission “to educate entry-level practitioners in a variety of health related professions and to prepare established clinicians.”

Founding Dean Anne Pascasio spent two years building curricula, recruiting faculty and working toward accreditation, a process that included acquiring the independent D.T. Watson School of Physiatrics and the medical technology program from Pitt’s Arts and Sciences.

Soon followed the establishment of the health information management program.

By 1971, when the school’s first permanent home became the now-razed Pennsylvania Hall (located near the site of the new Pennsylvania Hall, Pitt’s latest dormitory), SHRP graduates numbered 31 baccalaureate, 10 master’s and 18 post-baccalaureate certificate students taught by 23 full-time faculty.

Pascasio served as dean for 13 years, followed by Jerome Martin, and then interim dean Edison Montgomery.

When current Dean Clifford Brubaker arrived to head the school in 1991, he initiated a number of rapid and significant changes, including re-naming SHRP the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in part to reflect new awareness and increased emphasis nationally on education, research and assistive technology following enactment of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.

Brubaker also established several new programs and departments, including the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and launched a now-thriving doctoral program.

By the time SHRS moved in 1996 to its current home in Forbes Tower, the school enrolled 450 students and had 40 full-time faculty.

Those numbers today are nearly 800 students and 76 faculty.

Along with SHRS, Forbes Tower also houses programs and clinical centers that the school runs jointly with UPMC, such as the Center for Assistive Technology and the Human Engineering Research Laboratories.

Several SHRS programs are ranked nationally in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s graduate school guide, including: physical therapy, 3rd; speech/language pathology, 10th; audiology, 13th, and occupational therapy, 14th.

Also during Brubaker’s tenure as dean:

• In 1997, a new program in emergency medicine was created.

• In 1998, the transfer of the Department of Communication Science and Disorders from Arts and Sciences was completed.

• In 2000, a certificate program in disabilities studies was added.

• Sports medicine and athletic training became a part of SHRS in 2001, moving from the School of Education, and were then combined with clinical dietetics and nutrition in 2003 to become the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition.

• Doctoral programs in physical therapy and audiology were approved in 2002.

SHRS is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a special alumni day April 9. For more information, contact Patty Kummick at 412/383-6560.

—Peter Hart

Leave a Reply