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Degree-Granting Status Marks Milestone For The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Degree-Granting Status Marks Milestone For The University of Texas
M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/14/00

For the first time in its history, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is authorized to grant degrees to its students.

Since its founding in 1944, M. D. Anderson has trained more than 30,000 physicians, scientists, nurses and allied health professionals to address the challenge of cancer. But only recently has the institution received authority to offer bachelor's degrees in five specialized programs.

"We are delighted to now be taking applications for the graduating class of 2001," said Dr. Michael Ahearn, M. D. Anderson's dean of allied health programs. The school is recruiting 45 students for its first official class, which will begin this fall.

"Many hospital-based training programs in the allied health field are being discontinued due to financial constraints. This program offers an opportunity for students to gain experience and credentials at a top institution at a time when the need for these professionals is growing."

Following legislation passed by the 76th Texas Legislature and approval by The University of Texas System Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, M. D. Anderson is now able to offer bachelor of science degrees in cytogenetic technology, cytotechnology, medical dosimetry, medical technology and radiation therapy. All five programs are accredited by their respective national credentialing agencies.

The current national vacancy rates in the five specialty areas range from seven percent to 14 percent, creating significant demand for persons trained in these areas.

"Our graduates are heavily recruited, and there is high competition to get into the programs," Dr. Ahearn said. "Each year, we generally receive four applications for every one of the 45 positions we have open."

Education is a significant element in M. D. Anderson’s mission to eliminate cancer, and M. D. Anderson has been teaching in the allied health field for more than 50 years. Prior to obtaining degree-granting status, graduates of the specialty training programs were awarded certificates of completion. Graduates from M. D. Anderson's certificate programs have traditionally scored in the top 5 percent to 10 percent on nationwide registry exams given by credentialing agencies.

"M. D. Anderson's programs are unique," said Dr. Ahearn, who led the effort to gain degree-granting status. "Most of them address clinical and specialty programs that are not widely duplicated. Students are trained at one of the top two cancer centers in the country, and learn from a renowned clinical and basic science faculty."

For example, the M. D. Anderson medical dosimetry program is one of only five approved academic training programs in the United States. It produces seven of the 16 medical dosimetry graduates from these programs annually in the United States.

Admission to the M. D. Anderson allied health program requires 90 hours of specified prerequisites from an accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 overall and 2.5 in science courses. During three semesters at the cancer center, students will complete an additional 40 to 56 hours of course work in their selected professional discipline.

New M. D. Anderson Degree Programs

The Cytogenetic Technology program teaches students the structure of chromosomes and their application to the diagnosis and monitoring of acquired and inherited abnormalities. The six-month program trains individuals who are medical technologists or board eligible medical technologists to become cytogenetic technologists. Plans are being finalized to offer a one-year program for individuals without a medical technology background starting in August.

The Cytotechnology program is designed to prepare students for a challenging and exciting career as cytotechnologists. Students work in classrooms and laboratories learning how to properly prepare and analyze specimens using a microscope to detect and diagnose cancer and precancerous lesions.

Medical Dosimetrystudents learn to design treatment plans for patients in consultation with radiation oncologists. They use the latest developments in computer technology, along with their scientific knowledge and critical-thinking skills, to devise the best plan for the patients' radiation therapy treatments.

The Medical Technology program prepares students for a challenging career as medical technologists, or clinical laboratory scientists, who use their knowledge and technical skills to conduct diagnostic laboratory testing to produce high quality test results.

The Radiation Therapy program trains radiation therapists, who play an integral role in the cancer management team. Students learn to deliver a planned course of radiation therapy. They have a unique opportunity to blend knowledge of mathematics and science with direct patient care .

06/14/00


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