New Fordham Program Helps Meet Demand for Healthcare Careers in Westchester

Good news for Westchester residents thinking of pursuing careers in the medical field: Starting this fall, Fordham University will be offering classes from their School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) post-baccalaureate pre-health/pre-med program at their West Harrison campus. The program is for college graduates interested in pursuing a career in the health professions and who need prerequisite science courses.

Laura Bigaouette, the program’s new director.

Classes and labs for this program are currently offered at Fordham’s Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. After the five-year old program saw 33% growth since last spring, Laura Bigaouette, the program’s newly appointed director, said it seemed like a natural next step to extend the program to West Harrison. “With the growth of the healthcare industry in the county, there will be an increasing demand of people looking to get into the healthcare field. We feel that we can serve a market for which the Westchester campus is more convenient than the Bronx or Manhattan.”

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Bigaouette addresses the growth of the program by rotating among the three campuses to personally meet students for advisement and support. There is focused advising for students and an expanded support process for those applying to medical, dental, veterinary, nursing, physician assistant, and physical therapy programs. “This support for each individual student coupled with the academic quality and rigor of the program is an effective preparation for our students’ next steps in their academic and professional careers,” says Bigaouette. She continues, “The Committee on Health Professions process has been enhanced and made more rigorous in order to optimize our students’ success and acceptance rates. Students are provided with advising and workshops that help with specific aspects of the application process.”

Nicole Bryan, Associate Dean of Programs and Innovation for Fordham’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, says that Bigaouette has been instrumental in growing the post-baccalaureate pre-health/pre-med program at the university. “It was [Bigaouette’s] strong student-centered orientation that set her apart and which aligned her background with our aspirations for the program. This platform, built around the needs and goals of our students, exemplifies the university’s philosophy of cura personalis, a Latin phrase, which means care for the entire person.  This manifests into the program’s respect for each one of our students, while avoiding a rote approach to student advising,” says Bryan.

Students are able to take the program at their own pace and begin taking courses during any semester. The pre-med program is offered in the evening during the academic year and summer. West Harrison’s campus will offer classes in biology and chemistry, starting in the fall. Depending on interest, the university may consider offering more of the program’s classes in Westchester.

Of Westchester’s program, Bigaouette says, “We anticipate growth due to our unique program aspects, such as the individualized support and advising.   We also want to take advantage of the health care industry in Westchester and establish relationships with organizations to provide rich opportunities for all constituents, especially our students.”

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