Oklahoma City University | Focus on Health Professions - Spring 2023 Skip to content

Focus on Health Professions - Spring 2023

Students participate in the inaugural Physical Therapy graduation ceremony.

In December, OCU’s Physical Therapy program graduated its inaugural cohort of 28 students. The program was granted candidacy status from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education in 2019, allowing matriculation of its first cohort of students into the program the following year. Additionally, the Doctor of Physical Therapy program recently received accreditation from CAPTE which is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit entry-level physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs. OCU’s eight-semester professional curriculum combines full-time didactic and clinical education coursework with the clinical portion including service-learning, integrated clinical experiences and full-time clinical experiences.

Saints & Stars program announced

OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing and SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital have started a nursing partnership aimed at helping stem the critical shortage of nursing professionals in the state. This five-year agreement allows OCU students to work part-time with SSM Health while completing their nursing degree and receiving a $3,500 annual scholarship from SSM Health and a $5,000 annual discount from OCU. The partnership also allows students the opportunity to engage in paid leadership clinical hours, take part in clinical rotations, participate in a summer nurse extern program, complete service learning hours and be assigned a nurse mentor. The first cohort of the program began with junior nursing students in January with 20 additional juniors being selected to participate in the program each year for the next four years.

Additionally, up to two SSM Health employees may enroll in OCU’s Master of Science in Nursing Education program. OCU will reciprocate by emphasizing the hiring of the program’s SSM Health graduates to serve as clinical adjuncts to supervise Saints & Stars students completing their rotations at SSM Health. These nurses will be essential in supporting the ongoing clinical education of students participating in the Saints & Stars program.

Fifth physician assistant class graduates

Last May, the fifth physician assistant class graduated, making a total of 174 graduates practicing medicine across the country. If all of these graduates practiced only in Oklahoma, they would account for more than 10% of the current physician assistants practicing in the state. The OCU PA Class of 2022 received a 100% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination.

Faculty Honors

  • Dean Gina Crawford was awarded the 2023 State Award for Excellence from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The award is given to nurse practitioners who work to increase patient access to high-quality care and will be presented at the 2023 AANP National Conference in New Orleans in June.
  • Toni Frioux, associate professor of nursing, who developed and leads the Doctor of Nursing Practice Community-Based Public Health track, received an award as a top-25 trailblazer in public and community health from the Oklahoma Turning Point Council.
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