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ATSU celebrates innovative healthcare education: ATSU-ASHS

Photographer: Mark Skalny

Still Magazine celebrates the University’s 130th anniversary by recognizing the influence ATSU has made in healthcare and healthcare education. The concept of whole person healthcare may have seemed radical in 1892, but ATSU’s founder, A.T. Still, DO, knew it was the best approach for patient care. His pioneering ideas were met with skepticism and resistance, but he remained steadfast in his beliefs. And today, his movement continues to grow.

Osteopathic medicine has expanded from one school in Kirksville, Missouri, to 38 accredited colleges across the U.S. For the founding American School of Osteopathy, now known as ATSU-KCOM, it is part of a thriving university comprising seven schools with online and residential programs spanning the health professions. In addition to its heritage campus in Kirksville, campuses are also located in Mesa, Arizona, and Santa Maria, California, with a learning site in St. Louis.

Still Magazine highlights each of ATSU’s schools and how they are contributing to the innovative healthcare education that began 130 years ago. Through the perspectives of deans and students, they share a glimpse of what makes ATSU a special place to work and learn.

Arizona School of Health Sciences
Established 1995


Speech-Language Pathology program
ATSU-ASHS’ new Speech-Language Pathology program focuses on graduates who are prepared to provide services to bilingual communities with speech-language pathology and swallowing disorders.

Telehealth and telepractice
To improve access to care, the School has integrated telehealth and telepractice with single courses and
threaded modules throughout its programs.

Microcredential digital badges
The Doctor of Athletic Training and Master of Science in Athletic Training digital badging initiative makes it easier for athletic training students to showcase their advanced training and competency for employment opportunities. Digital badges in single courses lead to microcredentialing in important areas of practice, such as clinic decision-making.

The ATSU difference

ATSU-ASHS prepares students for success by integrating blended learning, simulated case platforms, and state-of-the-art patient care models into their educational experience. Each program promotes community engagement, evidence-based practice, and advocacy for patients, the profession, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The School’s programs span the full spectrum of professional education, and alumni of entry-level programs often return to ATSU-ASHS for post-professional degrees, advanced certificates, and residencies. The School as a whole is a unique constellation of health professions
exemplifying the necessity of whole person healthcare in the real world.

Duc Phan

First-year doctor of audiology student

Duc Phan in white coat leaning on counter
“I was very impressed with how comprehensive the audiology curriculum is at ATSU. There are courses listed in the curriculum
that are not offered in other programs, such as two vestibular courses, two business courses, and an anatomy course with a
lab component.”
-Duc Phan

Day in the life
“There’s not really a typical school day, but that’s what makes it exciting. For example, this term I have three full days on campus with classes and labs. Every Friday morning, we have Audiology Grand Rounds with all the first-, second-, and third-year students along with the audiology faculty. I have a full day at a clinical site in Arizona one day per week, leaving one day for studying and a little relaxation. I am also president of the Student Academy of Audiology, so aside from classes, I have to plan and organize meetings and events with other officers and members.”

Favorite thing about ATSU-ASHS
Faculty open-door policy

Career aspirations
Well-versed audiologist who can serve many patients with different needs

Nadine Quarrell

Third-year doctor of physical therapy student

Nadine Quarrell sitting at table outside
“Our program had the amazing opportunity of having a pro-bono clinic. This allowed us to apply our learning with real patients and the guidance of our instructors. Not every physical therapy program has the opportunity to have such a clinical opportunity, and being a part of the student board was very rewarding.”
-Nadine Quarrell

Day in the life
“Before clinical rotations, a typical school day for me consisted of a 20-minute commute to campus. Once on campus, I would typically be in classes for the majority of the day. If I happened to have a break in between classes, I would mostly spend it in a library room studying with my friends. Some days after school, I would work evenings at the ATSU Center for Occupational and Physical Therapy pro-bono clinic.”

Favorite thing about ATSU-ASHS
Faculty support and student events

Career aspirations
Provide physical therapy services in underserved areas of home state

Jacob Layfield

Physician assistant graduate, ’22
Doctor of medical science student, ’24

Jacob Layfield in white coat standing by column
“ATSU’s mantra, in regard to the osteopathic approach, focuses on the ‘body, mind, and spirit.’ The implementation of these principles through our curriculum cultivates growth within us as providers to understand our patients better and to provide comprehensive and holistic care.”
-Jacob Layfield

Day in the life
“During the first 14 months of the 26-month program, I was in the didactic phase, which consisted of lectures, labs, and test taking. The second phase of the program was the clinical portion, which consisted of eight six-week rotations. During these rotations, I saw patients, created patient charts, and curated treatment plans through the supervision and guidance of preceptors. Currently, I have completed all my core rotations and will be concluding my clinical year with an orthopedic surgical subspecialty in Arizona.”

Favorite thing about ATSU-ASHS
Faculty guidance and responsiveness

Career aspirations
Emergency medicine physician assistant

Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MPH


Dean Ann Lee Burch standing in conference room
During formal meetings in Roadrunner conference room or walks across campus, Dr. Burch enjoys every opportunity to meet and catch up with her colleagues. Leading a committed team with determined resolve, she embraces the moments where chairs, directors, faculty, and staff come together to face challenges and celebrate successes.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience serving as dean of ATSU-ASHS. I love celebrating the School’s
successes with all who have helped to bring new programs and innovative ideas to fruition. I am surrounded by colleagues who recognize that underserved communities need our graduates – leaders
in the health professions committed to whole person healthcare and reducing health disparities. Our faculty members excel in teaching, scholarship, and service and are motivated by the mission of the University every day. Our staff keeps everything running smoothly, and each individual is essential to our success.”

View the video below to see more about ATSU-ASHS, in their words.

To learn about innovative healthcare education at other ATSU schools, please follow the links below:


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