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Enrollment, applications up at Upstate Medical University


SYRACUSE, N.Y.- Enrollment at Upstate Medical University reached its highest level ever this fall. Upstate's total enrollment now stands at 1,545 students up 10 percent from 2009, and up 25 percent from 2005.

Jennifer Welch, Upstate's admissions director, said the increase in part reflects the interest in some of the university's new degree programs aimed at addressing the shortages in the healthcare professions.

"Some of the growth has come from our new degree program offerings, such as our public health and physician assistant programs," Welch said. "We've also started offering our courses at other locations, including Ithaca and the North Country, to make our educational programs more accessible to a broader audience."

Welch said the increase is helping the university meet one of its major goals, which is a 30 percent enrollment growth. "Enrollment has increased 25 percent since 2005 and we feel confident that we will be at 30 percent growth in the near future," she said.

Applications to Upstate are also at their highest levels. For 2010, Upstate saw a 2 percent rise in applications to 6,273, up from 6,144 applications in 2009. Since 2005, applications have climbed 57 percent, when just less than 4,000 students applied.

Welch said that increase in applications may reflect a growing interest in careers in the health professions and a better understanding of the role of healthcare providers.

"There are many programs offered today that provide high school students and undergraduates with opportunities to shadow medical professionals and interact with patients," she said.

Upstate's popular MedQuest Health Careers Exploration Camp, offered in the summer, is an example of such programs. The weeklong residential camp provides high school students with an intense overview of healthcare, as they participate in suturing and casting clinics. The program has a long wait list each year.

Upstate offers medical degrees, advanced degrees in biomedical sciences, including a doctorate, bachelor's and master's degrees and various certificates in nursing and bachelor's degrees in a variety of healthcare fields, as well as a doctorate in physical therapy and a master's degree in public health.