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OBU Slated to Launch Four Hybrid Accelerated Graduate Programs in Healthcare

August 8, 2023

OBU officials have announced plans to launch four new hybrid accelerated graduate degree programs in healthcare through a partnership with Evidence in Motion, a leading learning solutions company. Pending accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, OBU will launch four new accelerated graduate healthcare programs including Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology (MS-SLP) and Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant (MMS-PA). Each program can be completed in two years or less.

The degree programs will be built and delivered using a hybrid and accelerated education model which will make them highly accessible to aspiring health care professionals throughout Oklahoma and the entire nation. Courses will primarily be taught online, with portions of the program delivered in person on the OBU campus through hands-on lab immersion experiences. Each program will also include clinical and capstone requirements. This accelerated hybrid model is career-focused with a seamless transition into clinical practice and post-professional education programs.

The healthcare industry is facing many challenges in filling needed positions as there are too few graduates to meet current demand.

“This new partnership with EIM will help OBU continue innovative leadership now in graduate health care,” said Dr. Heath A. Thomas, OBU president. “At OBU, we are focused on providing well-equipped, faith-forward professionals to meet the needs of our communities. With these degrees in particular, we will be able to help our communities meet severe healthcare needs and address employee shortages we are experiencing in Oklahoma and throughout the nation.”

OBU represents EIM’s ninth nationwide partner and its first university partnership in the state of Oklahoma.

“As we continue to realize such impressive education outcomes in the professions we serve, it is important to forge partnerships that share our common vision and make an impact on our world,” said Pradeep Khandelwal, CEO of EIM. “OBU is exactly this type of partner, and it is a great feeling to welcome them to our innovative circle of existing universities and we know that we will be offering meaningful value to their long term goals for success.”

Each program will require programmatic and HLC accreditation. Pending approvals, the OTD program is expected to launch in January 2026, with the application opening in early 2025. The MS-SLP program is slated to begin in fall 2026, followed by MMS-PA in early 2027 and DPT in fall 2027.

“The accelerated hybrid model in graduate healthcare helps students reach their professional goals more quickly while training them with excellence in the field,” said Dr. Larinee Dennis, co-provost and dean of business, health, science and education. “OBU is excited to pursue this option for tomorrow's future shapers in the allied health industry.”

The physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant programs will each span 2 years (6 semesters), while the speech-language pathology program covers 1.3 years (4 semesters).

The projected growth for physical therapists is 21 percent with a future job demand of 49,000 positions, based on U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics data through 2023. The demand for occupational therapists is expected to grow 17 percent with 23,000 new jobs, while demand for physician assistants is experiencing a 31 percent projected growth with 40,000 new jobs. The field of speech-language pathology is expected to grow 29 percent with a need of 45,000 new professionals.

A closer regional look shows that in the Southern United States, which includes Oklahoma, only 70 percent of the demand for speech-language pathologists is being met, and only 81 percent of the demand for physical therapists is being achieved.

“Through this partnership, OBU is leading important health care and educational transformation not only in their region but across the national landscape,” added Khandelwal.

About Oklahoma Baptist University: With its campus located in Shawnee, OBU offers nine bachelor’s degrees with more than 80 fields of study and four master’s degree programs. OBU has been rated as one of the top regional colleges and universities in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 31 consecutive years and as Oklahoma’s highest rated regional college or university in the U.S. News rankings for 29 years. OBU is one of three universities in Oklahoma and the only private Oklahoma university listed on Great Value College’s rankings of 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest. The Wall Street Journal ranked OBU second in the nation for student engagement among all U.S. colleges and universities. consistently ranks OBU as a top university in Oklahoma and the Princeton Review has named OBU one of the best colleges and universities in the western United States for 18 consecutive years.

About Evidence In Motion: EIM is a health care learning solutions company dedicated to reimagining education that transforms every community. We do this by partnering with leading universities and colleges to power hybrid, accelerated graduate programs in health care. EIM was founded by academics to expand evidence-based practice within health care professions through a focus on teaching, research and application. We share a common vision with our university partners because they too care deeply about rigorous, innovative and accessible programs that impact the world in a tangible way.