Set your goals in motion with a graduate health care degree from Gannon University

Put your passion for helping others through health care into play at Gannon.
Let Gannon University help you take your education to the next level with a graduate degree in health care.
Let Gannon University help you take your education to the next level with a graduate degree in health care. [ Courtesy of Gannon University ]
Published Feb. 9, 2023

Do you have a passion for the health care industry? Set your goals in motion and take your education to the next level with a graduate degree in health care from Gannon University. The private Catholic university boasts campuses in beautiful Ruskin, Florida and in the heart of downtown Erie, Pennsylvania, plus an array of online options. Your next move awaits at Gannon’s Ruskin Campus, where programs like the university’s occupational therapy doctorate, doctor of physical therapy program and speech-language pathology degree prepare students to make a difference in peoples’ lives.

If you have a heart for helping others through occupational therapy, Gannon’s occupational therapy doctorate may be the right fit for you. The university’s entry-level OTD degree, only one of a handful offered in the U.S., is facilitated by a team of nationally recognized faculty members and includes service-learning opportunities for students to get connected with people in the community. Examples of these experiences include Baby Day, where local families bring their children to campus as part of pediatric education for students, as well as opportunities for students to teach self-care skills to adults with intellectual disabilities. Gannon also has a Student Occupational Therapy Association that offers hands-on application through service days.

In the OTD program, students learn to evaluate and treat clients across the lifespan in various settings, and gain skills of professionalism, clinical reasoning, communication, ethical behavior and more. Students have access to leadership opportunities on and off campus, engage in advocacy efforts and learn to not just consume research, but design, analyze and apply it. These skills give graduates opportunities within their chosen settings to lead teams and advocate for their clients, as well as provide the highest level of care using the best available evidence, said Dr. Dianna Lunsford, associate professor and program director of Gannon’s OTD program.

“Our graduates have opportunities to work as generalists in primary care, acute care and trauma settings, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing and school systems. Additionally, students can work in specialty areas such as outpatient pediatrics, neurorehabilitation, hand therapy, with pelvic floor dysfunction and lymphedema, to name a few,” Lunsford said. “It is an honor to have an impact on future generations of occupational therapists. We are proud to work with high-achieving students who transform into occupational therapists, leading the profession.”

Gannon also offers a highly competitive doctor of physical therapy program that has community at its core. With the Gannon DPT degree, you’ll enjoy a small cohort and a service-minded curriculum; students get to work in close collaboration with faculty members and their peers. You’ll train to become an entry-level practitioner who can function in any physical therapy setting; indeed, Gannon DPT students have gone on to work in acute care hospitals, emergency departments, ambulatory care clinics, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation hospitals, pediatric facilities, school systems and beyond.

Outside the classroom, you’ll also be able to experience hands-on work and make connections with clinical partners in the community.

“Students do several clinical internships in our program (a total of 40 weeks) where they get direct supervision and mentoring while working with patients,” said Dr. Mollie Venglar, an associate professor and program director with Gannon University at Ruskin’s DPT program.

“We are grateful to our clinical partners who mentor our students in the clinic. They reinforce and refine the skills and knowledge the students get in the classroom and lab. Often, the clinical partner will offer the student a job after graduation, which is a great way for the student to continue to be mentored and for the clinic to get an employee they already know and helped to train,” Venglar explained.

Could a speech pathology degree be the right fit for you? Gannon’s speech-language pathology program is another option for those with a heart for people and a passion for serving the community. The university’s SLP degree combines research and evidence-based clinical practice and includes six semesters of didactic and clinical coursework, as well as opportunities for travel. Students learn how to assess and treat communication and swallowing disorders, and gain knowledge of cultural differences in society to adapt service provision to a linguistically and culturally diverse population.

“At Gannon, we value diversity and compassion,” said Dr. Albert Villanueva-Reyes, professor and program director of the SLP program. “Our program emphasizes diversity in society and equality in service provision. Our students also reflect the diversity of society.”

Speech therapists go on to work in educational, health care or institutional settings. Potential future workplaces include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, health departments, private practices and universities.

Put your passion for helping others through health care into play at Gannon University. Learn more about Gannon and its OTD, DPT and SLP programs today at


  • Advertisement