MGH Institute sets record for student population

The MGH Institute of Health Professions in the Charlestown Navy Yard has passed the 1,000 mark for enrolled students for the first time in its 34-year history.

A total of 1,004 students began classes on September 7 in nursing, physical therapy, communication sciences and disorders, and medical imaging.

This represents a 64% increase in the past six years. At the start of the 2005-20065 academic year, there were 612 students enrolled at Boston’s health sciences graduate school.

The growth is a combination of several factors, including continued recognition of the school’s excellent academic programs, and a surge from college graduates who are looking to change their career and enter a healthcare field.

“This is certainly a milestone in the history of the MGH Institute,” said President Janis P. Bellack, PhD, RN, FAAN. “It’s another indication that we are a school of choice for those who want to become a healthcare professional.”

Dr. Bellack cited the pending retirement of much of the country’s healthcare workers, the aging of the Baby Boom generation, and anticipated changes stemming from the recent healthcare reform legislation as other indications the future of the MGH Institute is bright.

“There is going to be a tremendous demand for new healthcare professionals in the coming years, and the MGH Institute has positioned itself to help meet that need,” she said.

The school has launched several programs in recent years as it has anticipated new healthcare demands, including a 14-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (now the most popular program), the Doctor of Nursing Practice, and the Certificate in Medical Imaging. The school currently is working on adding more degree programs in the near future.

The MGH Institute this summer was named a 2010 Great College to Work For by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is the 23rd largest graduate school in Boston as listed by the Boston Business Journal.

In addition, three of the school’s programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report:

• The Doctor of Physical Therapy is tied for 7th in the United States – and 1st in New England;

• The Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology is ranked 24th in the country – and 1st in New England; and

• The Master of Science in Nursing, which prepares students to become nurse practitioners, is ranked in the Top 10% in the country and tied for 4th in New England.

Close to 4,000 students have graduated from the MGH Institute since it was founded by Massachusetts General Hospital in 1977. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

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