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Doctor of Health Sciences Degree Online

Doctor of Health Sciences Degree Online

Doctor of Health Sciences Degree Online

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Online Healthcare Degree

The A.T. Still University (ATSU) Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) online program prepares students to better understand and effectively manage and evaluate solutions to the ongoing challenges of healthcare access, cost and quality.

This advanced online health science degree program provides health professionals with the knowledge and skills to excel in project management, decision-making, organizational leadership, establishing evidence-based standards and gaining competencies to apply research to professional practice.

Offered through the ATSU College of Graduate Health Studies (CGHS), the health science degree online program consists of 70 credit-hours of study: 64 credit-hours of distance education, plus a 6 credit-hour course which includes a one-week residency held in Arizona.

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Students have the opportunity to focus on one of three concentration areas: Global Health, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, or Fundamentals of Education. The health science online degree program promotes application of research to professional practice through completion of an applied research project.

Doctor of Health Sciences Program Outcomes

According to a recent survey of ATSU Doctor of Health Sciences alumni, there is consensus among graduates that the program prepared them for leadership roles in healthcare and academia. Alumni agree that the online health sciences degree program:

  • Prepared them to critically review literature (100%)
  • Strengthened their skills in applying research (98%)
  • Enhanced their ability to appreciate diverse philosophies (98%)
  • Developed their skills to write more effectively (95%)
  • Equipped them for the future of healthcare (88%)
  • Readied them for leadership roles (85%)

Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) vs. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Image of chart delineating Doctor of Health Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy The Doctor of Health Sciences degree is a unique approach to doctorate level health education. The ATSU Doctor of Health Sciences degree provides interdisciplinary scholarship and added value to health professionals in comparison to the traditional PhD.


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  • University Catalog+

    • University Catalog Program guide

      The ATSU Doctor of Health Sciences degree post-professional program offers focused, interprofessional learning in a flexible, online environment tailored for busy healthcare professionals. The online health science degree is achievable in three years, has various areas to concentrate learning and 95 percent of study can be completed online.

      Read the University Catalog to learn more about the Doctor of Health Sciences online program and university.

  • Career Advancement+

      • Academic Educator
      • Athletic Trainer
      • Counselor
      • Dental Hygienist
      • Dietitian
      • Health Specialist
      • Healthcare Administrator
      • Healthcare Consultant
      • Pharmaceutical Researcher
      • Medical Technician
      • Registered Nurse

      • Occupational Therapist
      • Paramedic
      • Pharmacist
      • Physical Therapist
      • Physician
      • Physician Assistant
      • Psychologist
      • Public Health Administrator
      • Respiratory Therapist
      • Social Worker
      • Speech Pathologist

  • Student Insights +

    • I think what best summarizes my choice of the DHSc was its direct relation to health sciences as opposed to some of the more arcane disciplines inherent in many PhD programs. This is not an exercise in merely obtaining a doctorate degree but in obtaining a degree which can actually further my educational and professional goals.
      ~Mark, ATSU DHSc student

      The DHSc is the best of both worlds. It is the integration of both research and practice. It is the focus on applied research with the end goal to affect the delivery of healthcare.
      ~Melanie, ATSU DHSc student

      I wanted more of a liberal and critical preparation approach to academics. The DHSc fits the need. It prepares us for clinical continuation, but has the applied portions of thinking infused with research.
      ~Debbie, ATSU DHSc student

Doctor of Health Sciences Degree Faculty

Six full-time and many adjunct faculty provide expert instruction within the health science online degree program. This structure provides students exposure to a variety of teaching styles and learning opportunities by a faculty with diverse healthcare-related backgrounds and experiences.

  • Dean +

      • Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA<br />Dean Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA

        Grey LinkedIn logo

        Don Altman, DDS, DHSc, EdD, MPH, MBA, MA, is the Dean of the College of Graduate Health Studies (CGHS) at A.T. Still University (ATSU). He also serves as director of public health at ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH). Dr. Altman has been with ATSU since October 2006.

        Dr. Altman graduated from the University of Texas Dental Branch (DDS) in 1983. He completed his Master of Public Health degree at the University of Texas School of Public Health in 1989 and became Board Certified in Dental Public Health in 1999. Dr. Altman completed his MBA at the University of Phoenix (2002) and a MA in Bioethics from Midwestern University (2004). He graduated with a Doctor in Health Science (DHSc) degree in March 2012 from the Arizona School of Health Sciences at A.T. Still University (ATSU-ASHS) and his EdD from Southern New Hampshire University in March 2016.

        Dr. Altman has worked for The City of Houston, the State of Texas, the State of Arizona, as well as The Principal Financial Group. Dr. Altman’s public health experience includes: serving as President of the Arizona State Board Dental Examiners; serving as President of the Arizona Public Health Association; volunteering with Health Volunteers Overseas (Cambodia and Vietnam); Director of the National Oral Health Leadership Institute; and serving as the Consumer Representative to the Dental Products Panel for the Food and Drug Administration. On May 1, 2012 he was appointed as a Director to The American Board of Dental Public Health and is currently the president.

        Dr. Altman’s research interests are currently centered on public health and higher education. He has published articles in the Journal of Dental Education, Journal of the American Dental Association, Public Health Reports, Special Care in Dentistry, and Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

  • Associate Dean Academics and Assessment +

      • Katherine M. Adler, DHA, FACHE<br />Associate Dean Academics and Assessment Katherine M. Adler, DHA, FACHE
        Associate Dean Academics and Assessment

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        Katherine Adler, DHA, FACHE, TOC, is the associate dean of academics and assessment at the College of Graduate Health Studies (CGHS). She began teaching for the College of Graduate Health Studies in 2006, became the program chair for Health Administration in 2009, and became the associate dean in 2012.

        Dr. Adler holds a doctorate in healthcare administration and leadership from the Medical University of South Carolina. She has more than 25 years of varied experience in the not-for-profit health care industry, spending the bulk of her career working at safety-net hospitals in urban Detroit.

        During her tenure in administrative roles, Dr. Adler worked closely with physicians in medicine and surgery, having direct oversight of those departments and subspecialties, and gained extensive knowledge in public health, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental health sciences. Through her formal training and work, Dr. Adler has a strong background in health services administration as well as public health. She is a patient advocate, understands the plight of the underserved and underinsured, and has worked to incorporate patient-centered care into the curriculum with the understanding that prevention and whole person healthcare are the keys to a healthy community and society.

  • Chair and Associate Professor +

      • Kathleen DiCaprio, PhD Kathleen DiCaprio, PhD
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        Kathleen DiCaprio, PhD, has been named chair for the Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) program in the ATSU College of Graduate Health Studies. She previously served as an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, as well as the director of content development and education at Oceania University of Medicine. In addition, she served as an instructor and curriculum consultant for Kaplan Medical.

        Dr. DiCaprio has a history of teaching undergraduate, graduate, and medical courses in areas related to infectious diseases and infection control, immunology, public health, and emergency preparedness. She comes to ATSU with an impressive history as a faculty member and administrator in higher education of the medicine and the health sciences.

        Dr. DiCaprio earned her BS in biochemistry from The College of Saint Rose and her PhD in pathology from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Her prior research focused on studying pathogenesis of maximum containment (Biosafety-level 4) viruses such as Ebola and Marburg in non-human primate models. Her research efforts contributed to the development of potential vaccines and therapeutics against these deadly viruses, and her work has been profiled in numerous publications and press releases.

  • Faculty +

      • Jeffrey Alexander, PhD, FAACVPR Jeffrey Alexander, PhD, FAACVPR
        Associate Professor
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      • Kathleen DiCaprio, PhD Kathleen DiCaprio, PhD
        Associate Professor and Chair
        Read Bio Grey LinkedIn logo
      • Kathleen Mathieson, PhD, CIP Kathleen Mathieson, PhD, CIP
        Associate Professor
        Read Bio Grey LinkedIn logo Button: CV
      • Eric Matthews, PhD Eric Matthews, PhD
        Associate Professor
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      • Helen Salisbury, PhD Helen Salisbury, PhD
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio Grey LinkedIn logo Button: CV

Doctor of Health Sciences Degree Admissions

  • Requirements +

      1. Application:
        • Completed and signed admissions application along with a nonrefundable application fee.

      2. Academic:

        • An accredited degree from a university recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (bachelor’s degree for masters programs and a master’s degree for doctoral programs). Applicants who graduated from a university outside the United States may have to provide a degree equivalency evaluation.*
        • Official transcript from the qualifying degree-granting institution. For students using VA benefits transcripts for all institutions attended are required.
        • Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) at the qualifying degree institution.
        • Some degree programs may require experience or credentialing relevant to the field.

      3. Elements of Success:

        • A current resume.
        • Completion of an essay.
        • English Proficiency **
        • Meet technology requirements.***

      *Applicants who have graduated from a foreign college or university should submit acceptable evidence of U.S. degree/course equivalency. All course work taken at the foreign institution must be evaluated for American institution equivalence by one of the following services:

      **Applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English when applying to A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Studies. Written and spoken proficiency in the English language may be demonstrated by one of the following options:

      • Option 1 - English is your first language.
      • Option 2 - Graduated from a regionally accredited four year college/university in the United States with a BA/BS or graduate degree.
      • Option 3 - You are demonstrating your English proficiency by submitting acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

      Acceptable minimal scores for CGHS applications are:
      The Computer Based Test (CBT), Internet Based Test (iBT), or the Paper Based Test (PBT) are accepted. The following are the minimum required score based on test type:

      • CBT - minimum total score of 213 Minimum of 22/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 26/Writing Skills section
      • iBT - minimum total score of 80 Minimum of 22/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 24/Writing Skills section
      • PBT - minimum total score of 550 Minimum of 57/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 61/Writing Skills section

      The TOEFL is administered by TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6151, USA 609. 771.7100. A.T. Still University’s institutional code is 0339. Please be sure to include this information when you submit your application packet. TOEFL Educational Testing Services P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, 609.771.7100
      ***ATSU technology requirements

  • Tuition+

    • Application Fee: $70
      Tuition: $521 per credit hour (2017-2018 school year)
      Technology Fee: $32.00 per credit hour
      Note: All fees and tuition are subject to change.

      The Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) online program consists of 70 credit-hours of study. Most courses are three credit hours, a few are five credit hours, and the Winter Institute is six credit hours. There are additional fees for books, reference materials, Winter Institute travel, and accommodations.

The Family and Culture

Image of three smiling new ATSU graduates in their white coats Image of two ATSU students with unidentified woman in ATSU clinic. Image of xray tech demonstrating machine to ATSU students Image of ATSU audiology professor demonstrating proper patient ear exam to ATSU audiology students Image of ATSU kinesiology professor demonstrating ankle supination for kinesiology student Image of ATSU student doctor talking to a little boy patient who is holding a Teddy Bear. Image of ASDOH student training on dental model Image of ATSU athletic trainer examining fellow student patient Image of geriatric patients exercising during a Still Standing course.


  • Blackboard Demo Course +

    • ATSU has set up a demo course of our Blackboard
      Learning Management System for interested students.

      Please click the "Connect Now button below and use join code: DHSCdemo

      • Fill out your full name
      • Choose a username, and a password.
      • Confirm your password
      • Agree to Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
      • Click the "Start Learning" button.

      Connect Now

Doctor of Health Sciences Curriculum Overview

The Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) online program consists of 70 credit-hours of study. The DHSc degree curriculum aims to develop and enhance the professional skills needed to provide competent leadership in today’s challenging healthcare systems.

Preparation Courses

  • Writing for Health Professionals+

    • This course provides a review of basic writing skills, grammar, and style in preparation for advancing writing proficiency. This is a required introductory course for the program with the goal to assist students to develop and fine-tune their writing abilities. The course addresses grammar, sentence structure, paragraph development, referencing, and writing requirements for scholarly papers. This course examines in practical terms the elements required for successful publication of a journal article or clinical case review. This course encourages good writing skills through choosing better words, writing better sentences, and preparing better tables, graphs and photographs. All students are required to develop and submit a quality paper that meets the requirements for publication in a peer-reviewed professional or biomedical journal. DHSC 6000 must be completed with a passing grade in order to move forward in the program.

Decision Analysis Foundation

  • Principles of Management and Decision Analysis+

    • This course introduces the principles of management and leadership and utilizes the application of decision-making theories and models. The primary goal of this course is to acquaint students with a set of management and decision analysis tools, and to demonstrate how these principles and tools apply to managerial decision modeling in applied health care delivery and research. The course links the process of structuring decision problem alternatives using diagrams, frameworks, analysis and decision trees to reach a solution that meets the decision goals and objectives. The course focuses on developing a variety of problem solving and decision analysis skills which can be incorporated into business and personal decision-making.

  • Risk Management for Health Professionals+

    • This course provides an introduction to quality of healthcare and risk management as it relates to and interacts with the broader picture of quality improvement. The course will explore many important issues pivotal to promoting quality health care. Topics discussed in the course include: how are quality outcomes defined and measured; who is responsible for measuring health; and what are the prominent quality improvement theories used in healthcare. In addition the results of data from studies describing how the United States health system is performing; and what are quality initiatives that could be implemented to enhance healthcare are highlighted.

  • Healthcare Information Systems+

    • This course will provide students with the opportunity to examine the application of technology to obtain and use data, knowledge, and information in the field of health care. Students will understand how application of technology in healthcare has become increasingly critical to patient care, quality, effectiveness, efficiency, and overall operations. With increased government support for healthcare information systems, health information technology will be the base of support for clinical and management decision-making. This course also explores the issues, benefits, and challenges of using health care information systems. Emphasis will be placed on applications that directly impact government initiatives, business operations, and patient safety.

Health Sciences Foundation

  • Healthcare Delivery Systems+

    • This course introduces the historical development, structure, operation, function, and current and future directions of health care delivery systems. The course will explore how national systems have evolved and how countries confront the emerging issues in healthcare. Specific topics discussed will include the historical evolution of health systems, the various models that are used around the world, the main components of a health system, and the criteria used to assess the functioning of a health system. Included will be discussions around how health systems can be reformed and what strategies may be used to accomplish this.

  • Health Administration Law & Ethics+

    • This course provides non-legal health professionals with a concrete foundation in healthcare law and ethics. The goal is to assist students develop practical approaches to improving the excellence and delivery of healthcare. Healthcare decisions are especially apt to have some form of ethical consequence. This course is designed to provide a basic framework from which to consider these consequences, as well as give the healthcare professional tools that will assist in times of ethical dilemmas.

  • Population Health & Patient-Centered Care+

    • This course examines many of the issues that are believed to influence the health of the global population. As the world is being challenged daily with forces of nature and manmade dilemmas, we are all tasked to influence and alter the trajectory and consequences of many of these negative stimuli. The course will explore many prominent themes and issues that are believed to influence the health of populations. Topics that will be discussed in the course include how population health is influenced by urbanization and migration, climate change, culture, the media, social and economic class, gender, employment status, and political and health systems.

Evidence-Based Practice Foundation

  • Healthcare Outcomes+

    • This course introduces the concept of continuous quality improvement as a means to evaluate and improve health care outcomes. Continuous quality improvement (CQI) has presented a great opportunity to the health community but it is not a panacea for all health system problems. CQI represents a perspective and framework for on-going development processes leading to increased customization and co-configuration of health services and strategies for health care reform. It is one of an array of approaches that health care leaders should be using to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health services, along with patient-centered care, evidence-based medicine/management, clinical pathways, and process re-engineering.

  • Research Methods, Design, and Analysis+

    • This course provides an introduction and overview of research methodology. This course will explore qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches to examining a problem and finding answers through research methodology. Topics that will be discussed in the course include: how to select the best research method for the problem under study, the purpose of a literature review, ethical considerations for all research, and what types of data collection tools and analytic principles should be employed. The goal of the course is introduce the research process, and the methods and analytical tools required to critically evaluate research reports in preparation for initiating the Applied Research Project. The main focus of the course will be to gain skills in reviewing and critiquing research.

  • Evidence-Based Practice+

    • This course teaches health professionals how to integrate best research with clinical expertise, critical thinking, and patient values for optimum care. Systematic methods for critical appraisal of study quality, research design, strength of research recommendations, and quality of literature pertaining to a particular clinical problem will be presented. Evidence-based resources and databases for the health professionals will be identified. Methods to promote health professionals participation in learning and research activities to the extent feasible will be explored.

Winter Institute - Health Promotion

  • Health Professionals Role in Health Promotion+

    • This course will reflect on the national goals for health promotion through reviewing current public health documents. This course will assist in the development of a health promotion plan that could be incorporated at an individual, group, or community level. To fully understand the processes necessary to implement health promotion initiatives as a health professional, studying and discussing the development of health promotion programs is necessary. The course will explore the common issues threatening the health status of society. The steps and processes required to develop or evaluate a health promotion initiative will be discussed. The residential component of the course will consist of lectures, group work, presentations, debates, case studies, and various other events which address relevant health care issues that impact educators, administrators, researchers, and clinicians.

Concentration Areas (Select ONE concentration only for a total of 9 credits)
Global Health

  • Global Health Issues+

    • This course provides an introduction to important global health issues, including determinants of health, key areas of disease burden, and the role that new health technologies can play in solving these problems. The goal of the course is to expand students’ understanding of the impact of infectious and chronic diseases on the world’s population with particular attention paid to the health status of women, children and the poor. Students will examine case studies of successful global health interventions to understand features of successful programs.

  • Globalization and World Politics+

    • This course introduces the theoretical and practical issues associated with the radical global processes that are now affecting human life locally and globally. The course emphasizes the political-economic, cultural, institutional, technological, and ecological implications of globalization and allows students to evaluate whether these processes pose opportunities or challenges to individuals, societies, and the global community.

  • Global Health Ethics+

    • This course provides an introduction to the principles and theory of ethics as applied to global health. The course will examine some of the primary theories and principles in healthcare ethics including virtue, deontology, utilitarian, autonomy, justice, beneficence, and nonmaleficence. The course will explore many prominent global health issues and exemplify how greater knowledge and understanding of global ethics is vital to effective and sound decision-making. Topics that will be discussed in the course include ethical issues related to: pandemic preparedness, end of life, human organ transplantation, clinical research in developing countries, human rights, resource allocation, and the effects of globalization on world health.

Leadership and Organizational Behavior

    • This course examines the historical and current theoretical models of leadership and will address contemporary thoughts on leadership, the leader’s role, and explore applications of that role. The course will explore topics that include the current context for leadership and personal leadership styles in the health care arena. Students will examine moral frameworks for leadership and decision making as well as leadership domains and the synthesis of leadership development. Case studies will explore leadership in practice in both the public and private sectors as it relates to health care management.

  • Health Policy Development and Analysis+

    • This course provides an in-depth discussion of the key political and administrative decision-making processes of the American health system. Particular emphasis is placed on the health policy development process. The goal of the course is to expand knowledge on the definition of public policy; health policy development process; and funding solutions to complete policy issues. Students will examine the variety of social, economic, and political influences on health policy making and will discover that there are a variety of “policy instruments” available to decision makers to solve policy problems at the policy formulation stage.

  • Organizational Behavior+

    • This course examines how the personal characteristics of organizational members influence the effectiveness and productivity of organizations and the job satisfaction of its members. It is believed that organizations are comprised of three levels, the individual, the group or department, and the organization itself. This course will focus on the problems and challenges leaders face in dealing with the individual and the small groups in the organization. Special attention will be given to the role of teams in organizations, the stages of team development, and actions that can support the development of effective teams. The realities of interpersonal processes are considered through examination of the roles of power, politics, and conflict in organizations. The human side of organizational change is then explored with a focus on understanding how and why people react to organizational change and identifying opportunities for enhancing the effective implementation of change.

Fundamentals of Education

  • Theoretical Foundations of Learning+

    • The purpose of this course is to review the research on learning theory to provide the foundation for understanding learning styles and their applicability to adult learners. The course is designed to examine evidence related to adult learning and will explore the neuroscience, behavioral, cognitive, psychological, and social factors inherent in adult learning. The student will engage in a critical analysis and examination of numerous scientific theories and processes that are thought to influence learning. Some of the main theories that will be explored include: behaviorism, social cognition, information processing, constructivism, cognitive learning, and motivation.

  • Contemporary Teaching and Learning Concepts+

    • This course is an overview of some of the current models and theories that are becoming popular in higher education. Much research has focused on academia over the past few years to determine how best to educate students in a cost effective, productive manner. Some of the more prominent theories include: learner-centered teaching, student-centered learning, inter-professional learning, and distance education. The purpose of this course is to explore the research and practical application of contemporary models of education. Students will examine various models and philosophies of delivering and managing course content, promoting knowledge transfer, and determining best practices for effective teaching.

  • Curriculum and Course Design+

    • The purpose of this course is to expand knowledge and understanding of curriculum and course development. The course is designed to engage students in developing course syllabus, assignments and grading rubrics, lesson plans, and a course outline. Students will explore strategies that promote student learning based on best teaching practices.

Applied Research Project (25 Credits)

  • DHSC 9010/9015 - DHSC 9050/9055 (25 Credits)+

    • The applied research project consists of five courses that develop a research project from the stages of proposal to dissemination. The research project is an applied research-based effort in an area chosen by the student. The goal of the applied research project is to advance practical knowledge in the health sciences based on applied research and analysis. Each student will be assigned a faculty member to approve the project and provide mentorship and supervision throughout the process.
      DHSC 9010/9015: Literature Review for Applied Research Project
      DHSC 9020/9025: Proposal Development for Applied Research Project
      DHSC 9030/9035: Data Collection for Applied Research Project
      DHSC 9040/9045: Data Analysis for Applied Research Project
      DHSC 9050/9055: Dissemination-Publishable Paper for Applied Research Project
      Applied Research Project Examples

Three Year Study Plan

  • Example of Three Year Study Plan+

    • First Year QTR Hrs
      DHSC 6000: Writing for Health Professionals Fall 3
      DHSC 7010: Health Care Delivery Systems Summer 3
      DHSC 7030: Population Health and Patient-Centered Care Fall 3
      DHSC 8020: Research Methods, Design, and Analysis Summer 3
      DHSC 8030: Evidence-Based Practice Spring 3
      DHSC 8230: Organizational Behavior Spring 3
      DHSC 9000: Health Professionals Role in Health Promotion Winter 6
      Second Year QTR Hrs
      DHSC 6020: Risk Management for Health Professionals Summer 3
      DHSC 7020: Health Administration, Law, and Ethics Summer 3
      DHSC 8010: Health Care Outcomes Winter 3
      DHSC 9010: Literature Review for the ARP Fall 5
      DHSC 9020: Proposal Development for the ARP Winter 5
      DHSC 9030: Data Collection for the ARP Spring 5
      Third Year QTR Hrs
      DHSC 6010: Principles of Management and Decision Analysis Spring 3
      DHSC 6030: Health Care Information Systems Spring 3
      DHSC 8210: Trends and Issues in Leadership Summer 3
      DHSC 8220: Health Policy Development and Analysis Summer 3
      DHSC 9040: Data Analysis for the ARP Fall 5
      DHSC 9050: Dissemination for the ARP Winter 5
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HLC seeks third-party comments about ATSU

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) is seeking comments from the public about the University in preparation for its periodic evaluation by its regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). How to submit comments.

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