April 30, 2012
Saint Francis University President Rev. Gabriel J. Zeis, T.O.R. announced last week the merger of two of the University’s largest outreach centers focused on health care research and providing wellness services to rural populations.
The DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness and the Center of Excellence for Remote and Medically Under-Served Areas (CERMUSA) have long partnered on research and outreach initiatives, but the new merger, under joint leadership, provides a “natural marriage” that will make the two entities even more impactful,” according to Father Zeis. The combined organization, aligned under the University’s School of Health Sciences, will be headed by current CERMUSA director Jay Roberts.
The two centers have worked together on ground-breaking projects including: creating a unique high-fidelity healthcare simulation lab with distance education capabilities, conducting research on using distance education models to deliver autism percussion therapy, and researching ways to improve concussion treatment options. The University hopes that the merger will create many more opportunities to combine the research and technological strengths of CERMUSA with the programmatic content and student-focused clinical specialties of the DiSepio Institute and the School of Health Sciences.
The DiSepio Institute, part of the School of Health Sciences, opened in 2009 thanks to generous support, particularly from Joseph and Marguerite DiSepio and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The 30,000 square-foot education and research center offers wellness services to the surrounding communities and serves as a clinical training area for students.
The School of Health Sciences offers undergraduate programs in exercise physiology, health science, nursing, and public health; master’s programs in physician assistant science, health science, and medical science; and an entry-level clinical doctoral program in physical therapy.
CERMUSA was founded in 1994 as a research and applied technology center in response to a request from the U. S. Navy to establish a Rural Healthcare Demonstration Project. CERMUSA credits the late Congressman John P. Murtha with being a strong supporter of the center's research agenda.
Congressman Murtha on many occasions had shared his vision with Father Zeis of CERMUSA as an organization deeply integrated into the fiber of the University, allowing it provide the best possible learning experiences for the students while developing quality outreach programming for the surrounding communities. This merger is the next natural step to continue along that path.