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In February 2017, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a request by the College of Health Sciences to create a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Sciences (BS-RHSC) major. The program will admit its first students in fall 2017.

The BS-RHSC major is administered by the College of Health Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences. The major is designed to prepare undergraduate students for a career in the rehabilitation professions.  Most rehabilitation professions require post-baccalaureate education as the entry level degree.  This major provides students with the requisite course knowledge, attitudes, values and skills to meet the challenges of graduate or professional education at The University of Texas at El Paso in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Speech Language Pathology. Prerequisites for programs at other universities might differ.

The major degree curriculum is designed to introduce pre-rehabilitation professions students to five core overlapping competencies recommended by the Institute of Medicine for the future of health care, including (1) providing patient-centered care, (2) working in interdisciplinary teams, (3) employing evidence-based practice to optimize care, (4) applying quality improvement and (5) utilizing informatics and information technology to manage knowledge, mitigate error and support complex decision-making.

The required degree courses and prescribed electives cover the socio-cultural context of health and wellness; the roles and responsibilities of different rehabilitation professionals; the U.S. health care system; the role of health care informatics and information management technologies within the health care environment; quantitative and qualitative research designs and methods applied in the health sciences; principles of continuous quality improvement within health care; concepts and models of interdisciplinary collaboration; cultural diversity; a holistic approach to wellness; interdisciplinary collaboration; lifelong learning; creativity and innovation; principles of best practice; tenets of evidence based care; and ethics within the field of health care. Students will develop proficiency in written and verbal communication skills, effective interpersonal and team based skills, and beginning scientific literacy and information competency.  The curriculum focuses on critical reasoning and the application of knowledge and skills to solve complex problems.  In addition, students will develop self-evaluation and self-management strategies and career planning skills.