Community Collaborator

Manchester University’s Health Sciences curriculum prepares students for interdisciplinary medical careers while uniquely assisting the community with health care needs.
May 2, 2024
Jennifer Blomquist
Jeffrey Crane & Provided

Today’s health care students need to be prepared to meet patients where they are while providing value-based holistic care. The professionals in the health sciences field at Manchester University in Fort Wayne strive to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to patient care. 

“As a health sciences and pharmacy college, we can help the health care industry and we are working in collaboration with the hospitals, pharmacies and clinics to help educate the students and train them. We can also do research and innovative practices in our clinic,” says Jennifer Campbell, Dean of Student Life at Manchester University’s Fort Wayne campus. “We’re here as a collaborator for the community and the health care field. It’s so important to remember that we all can do more if we work together.” 

Formerly Manchester College, Manchester University has been an educational pillar in the North Manchester community for more than 100 years. In 2012, the school opened a second location for pharmacy doctoral students off Diebold Road on Fort Wayne’s north side.   

The Fort Wayne location has grown over the years and continues to undergo expansion to house more specialties in the health sciences field. 

“We’ve added the master’s program in pharmacogenomics, athletic training, nutrition and nutrigenomics, in addition to our traditional and accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing programs. This spring we’re also starting our Doctor of Physical Therapy program,” says Campbell. 

Campbell and her colleagues at the Fort Wayne campus emphasize the importance of incorporating the practice of interdisciplinary health care teams to students. 

“At Manchester we have a variety of programs from which students can choose their career path,” says W. Thomas Smith, Dean of Health Sciences and Pharmacy. “Health care is not delivered in silos. Generally, it’s multidisciplinary professionals working together in the holistic care of patients. For example, you might have a physician, nurse, pharmacist, physical therapist and nutritionist all working together to treat one patient. That’s one of the benefits of being together at our Fort Wayne location. We have the ability to work with one another to educate our students as members of a health care team.” 

While Smith acknowledges there is still plenty of room for improvement in the seamless delivery of care, there have also been tremendous advancements, especially with electronic medical records that allow multiple professionals to access the same information about a patient. 

“All of our students participate in inter-professional education, which is the precursor to inter-professional clinical practice,” says Campbell. “When I was in pharmacy school, I didn’t really interact with students in other health professions. We didn’t have the experience of working together as a team and learning about the other students’ professions. Now, that is intentionally a part of our curriculum.” 

Smith and Campbell are looking forward to the opening of a patient-centered, inter-professional teaching clinic later this year in Manchester’s renovated Fort Wayne space. In this clinic, Manchester’s Health Sciences and Pharmacy students will work together to provide team-based care to patients in northeast Indiana, sticking to their mission of meeting the health care needs of our region while gaining valuable hands-on experience. Tom Ruediger is program director of the Physical Therapy Program at Manchester University Fort Wayne and says the clinic will be a huge boost to the school’s commitment to training students in the ever-growing field of lifestyle medicine. 

“Lifestyle medicine is ‘whole person health’ as opposed to simply managing symptoms,” says Ruediger. “Our mission is clinical excellence. I’ve taught evidence-based practice for 15 years and the provider skill is one of the pillars. Research is another pillar, but the biggest component is the patient values. It means meeting the patient where they are in life. We want to reframe their approach to the future instead of looking back to the past; motivate them and mitigate some of the devastating things like depression and suicidal ideation to improve their life and their family’s life. So, we’re using these resources to better society by bettering individuals.” 

“In many parts of the country, there is a big need for health care professionals and that would include Fort Wayne,” says Campbell. “With the lifestyle medicine component really accelerating right now, the clinic we’ll be opening will be a huge advantage to patients. We can set up longer appointments, which will give us a chance to spend more time with the patients to address their concerns about their lifestyle and changes they can make to improve their health. COVID may have played a role in the fact that this area of medicine is becoming so big right now. During the pandemic, people realized that patients with co-morbidities such as obesity and diabetes were sicker than those who didn’t have those issues. More and more, people are wanting to make lifestyle changes to be well.” 

“People are absolutely much more invested in their health and overall well-being now,” says Smith. “That’s why we modified the way in which we teach our students to be prepared for that. Health care today is a different landscape than it was even just four or five years ago. We are answering the call to meet those needs through both community outreach and education.” 



Programs
: Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Athletic Training (MAT), Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics, Master of Science in Nutrition and Nutrigenomics, Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)


Manchester University Health Sciences and Pharmacy 

Address: 10627 Diebold Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46845

Phone: (260) 470-2700 

Website: manchester.edu 

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