Student Spotlight: Beth Wolfe, Doctor of Health Sciences
Beth is passionate about her work as an Injury Prevention Coordinator at Tufts Medical Center, a role that she's balancing with earning her DHS through MCPHS Online.
For Beth Wolfe, Doctor of Health Sciences (DHS), career advancement is a priority. But she is also passionate about the work she does as an Injury Prevention Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Tufts Medical Center Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. When it came time to consider doctorate programs, she knew she wanted to continue to work full time during her studies.
The Doctor of Health Sciences program at MCPHS requires students to continuing working in healthcare during their time in the program, and empowers them to do so through a flexible, part time, online format.
“The requirement to have a full-time job in healthcare in order to be in the DHS program was the reason why I chose to enroll,” said Beth. “I looked into other doctorate programs around Boston and the U.S., and all of them required you to quit your job or commit a significant part of your time to be on a campus.”
Beth was able to maintain career stability and continue in the role she loves. “As a young professional trying to start my career, I couldn’t afford not to have a full-time job,” said Beth. “Also, I was trying to create some resume stability as I job hopped after I completed my graduate degrees and couldn’t afford to resign from a job that I had only occupied for a year."
In this profile, Beth shares a current student perspective on the DHS program.
Why did you choose the DHS program at MCPHS?
Being able to keep my job, apply what I am learning in class to my job, and collaborating with my peers has been the most rewarding experience yet. I really love that any, and all realms, of healthcare are represented in our program. The interprofessional education that is happening is fantastic, and I have not seen or heard of a diverse program like this anywhere else in the U.S.
In your own words, can you describe the DHS program?
The DHS program is a collaborative, non-traditional classroom experience where healthcare professionals from across the U.S. gather to learn and discuss how they utilize our coursework and incorporate it into their realm of healthcare.
What is your favorite course you have taken so far in your program?
I greatly enjoyed my Stakeholder Leadership course, as I do a great deal of work in the community, and I was able to directly apply my course work and projects to my job and community outreach programs. Having the real-time feedback and resources to assist my efforts on my job were extremely valuable and I credit my successes at my job directly to that course.
Students from across the country – and the globe – are in degree programs through MCPHS Online. Why is it so important to learn with a diverse group of professionals?
I have learned about more medical and allied health professions within my two years at MCPHS than I ever have working within the field of Athletic Training for the past six years. Having exposure and enlightenment about the fields and jobs my colleagues currently are immersed in has been fascinating. I too have had the chance to educate and share what an athletic trainer (not a personal trainer) is and that we treat and care for more than just athletes.
Tell us about your experience with the other students in this program.
This program has created a dynamic of mutual respect and admiration between my colleagues and I. Our international colleagues offer great insight on what the healthcare policies and norms are from various parts of the world, and this provides some lively dialogue in our weekly assignments.<pTell us about your current role as an Injury Prevention Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Tufts Medical Center Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.
My job is to research and evaluate the top three mechanisms of trauma that our hospital encounters, find out why those injuries occur, and then implement evidence-informed, community-based programs to prevent those injuries. I started my position in January of 2014, and it has been very rewarding and challenging.
What is the most fulfilling part of your role at Tufts?
The most rewarding part of my job is the relationships that I have built with our community partners, and most importantly, the senior citizens of Boston. Our number one mechanism of injury at most hospitals across the U.S. is falls, and thus I offer a fall prevention program for seniors within the greater Boston area. I primarily work with under-served groups of seniors within South Boston, and going to teach a falls prevention class is such a pleasure because of their positive attitude, laughs, and genuine hospitality. Their smiles, fellowship, and feedback from how the programs have positively affected their lives is a priceless aspect of my job that I absolutely treasure.
Tell us about the research you have recently published.
I’ve published several times over the last year, and my work through MCPHS has assisted me in preparing and submitting my manuscripts for publication. I have used the skills from my quantitative and qualitative research courses to enhance my research methods and manuscript.
What was it about?
My research revolves around my work within the Tufts Medial Center Trauma Service, and we published two studies about our bicycle safety and distracted biking habits of Boston cyclists. I also recently had my CAGS graduate work accepted for publication, and I performed a systematic review and created evidence-based guidelines for athletic trainers treating and caring for patients with ADHD. This paper is applicable to any healthcare provider caring for ADHD patients, however I focused primarily on how healthcare providers within physical rehabilitation settings can accommodate the behaviors of ADHD patients into their treatment environment.
What does it mean to you to be able to share your research with the broader health sciences community through publication?
Publishing and presenting research is a great way to disseminate new, innovative, and informative research findings to other healthcare and public health professionals across the U.S. and the world. Although bicycle and pedestrian research is not an area that I claim to be an expert, publishing your work on the topic will add to a body of knowledge so that others may guide and inform their community outreach and educational practices for future projects and studies. You don’t have to be an expert to publish your work, however one needs to be experienced and well-versed in the topic in order to avoid bias.
How will your career change when you earn your DHS?
I hope that by obtaining my DHS I might be able to teach within a collegiate athletic training program or school of allied health professions. This program has instilled a passion for leadership and organization administration in me that I didn’t know I had, and I hope to use that passion to teach others about the U.S. healthcare system someday.
Tell us about your future career aspirations.
I hope that by having a terminal degree that I might be able to become my own Primary Investigator (PI) for future research endeavors. Being my own PI and not having to submit research under another person will help establish my credibility and reliability as an emerging setting athletic trainer and innovative injury prevention researcher.
The Doctor of Health Sciences (DHS) program is offered part time through MCPHS online and is designed to empower healthcare leaders.