Francis Marion University took the first steps to establishing new graduate programs in occupational and physical therapy at its regular Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday. The board unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the University to amend its official mission statement so that it could offer new doctoral programs in occupational and physical therapists. The new degrees would be FMU’s second and third doctoral programs, joining the Doctor of Nursing Practice which was established in 2017.

The change in mission statement is the first step in the process to add the new programs. Assuming that the necessary approvals occur, the first of the new programs, occupational therapy, would admit its first class in 2023-24. 

The new programs will become a part of FMU’s fast-growing School of Health Sciences. The School of Health Science will open its third building in January when classes begin in the Hugh and Jean Leatherman Medical Complex in downtown Florence.

Dr. Fred Carter, FMU’s president, said the new programs continued FMU’s mission of bringing new healthcare professions to the region.

“We’re all aware that our region and state are underserved substantially when it comes to advanced practice healthcare professionals,” said Carter. “Here’s another area where FMU can offer degrees that address the critical medical needs of the community. We need to prepare more therapeutic providers while at the same time expanding career paths for our students. These programs will permit us to do both.”

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