If vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others, then Shirley Szekeres, dean of Nazareth College’s School of Health and Human Services (SHHS), has it. Szekeres’s vision has guided the SHHS to its current level of excellence and is now helping to lay the groundwork for the new Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute, which will usher the SHHS to even greater heights.
Under Szekeres’s leadership, the SHHS has developed into an educational environment that emphasizes inter-professional collaboration in both learning and delivery of services. It’s the only Rochester-area college to offer a unique array of allied health professional programs in conjunction with nursing, music therapy, and art therapy, and its clinics and outreach programs serve approximately 3,700 clients each year. Most programs boast 95 to 100 percent pass rates on licensure exams; since 2002, 95 to 100 percent of HHS graduates are employed immediately following graduation. With such impressive numbers, enrollment in the school has increased by 60 percent since 2002.
In 2012, Nazareth completed work on Peckham Hall, a state-of-the-art facility featuring the laboratory spaces necessary for HHS student work. The next step is the additional clinic space to be provided by the new Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute, which will allow the SHHS to expand its capacity in critical ways. The vision for the institute includes increased student enrollment and numbers of clinical supervisors in each discipline as well as teaching resources and new spaces for wellness and rehabilitation clinics.
“What is particularly exciting is that the institute will be an authentic learning environment,” concludes Szekeres. “Students from all different disciplines will get their initial training here. They will attain a quality education that will prepare them to be collaborative professionals.”