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UCF to Offer Graduate Program in Clinical and Lifestyle Sciences

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By Karen Guin

The University of Central Florida will begin offering this summer a new master's degree program in clinical and lifestyle sciences, approved last month by Provost Terry Hickey. The new program will be offered as a track in the Master of Science in Health Sciences program.

Students in the new program will gain a thorough understanding of the pivotal role of exercise and nutrition in maintaining health and preventing chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. They will learn how to translate these concepts into programs that promote a healthy lifestyle, as well as develop skills to participate in research on strategies to establish and maintain healthy lifestyles.

"I imagine it will be of interest to a growing number of students in health sciences," said Diane Jacobs, chair and professor in the Department of Health Professions

The new program consists of 38 credit hours, with course work in clinical and applied physiology, nutrition and clinical research methodology. Students may select a thesis or non-thesis option.

"It's a program that's well-grounded in the health sciences, but its application will be to the study of contemporary lifestyles," Jacobs explained.

Jacobs anticipates there will opportunities for the program's faculty and students to collaborate with UCF's newly established Center for Lifestyle Medicine and College of Medicine and the Orlando branch of the Burnham Institute of Biomedical Sciences.

Graduates of the program will be eligible to take exams for certifications as an exercise specialist or a registered clinical exercise physiologist. They will likely find employment in these positions and others in settings such as lifestyle medicine centers, industries, government agencies, private practices and public relations offices. 

Jacobs said her department developed the program in response to a report, "Healthy People 2010," published in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that documented the need for promoting healthy lifestyles.

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The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
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I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
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