Doctor of Science (DSc) in Health Promotion-Disease Prevention

Doctor of Science (DSc) in Health Promotion-Disease Prevention

The Doctor of Science (DSc) in Health Promotion (HP) and Disease Prevention (DP) program is a professional doctoral program for integrative health promotion and disease prevention (or health medicine). Its objectives are to help health practitioners develop and advance their intellectual and practical knowledge, skills, and attitudes in health promotion and disease prevention areas at personal health, clinical health or public health level, or in combination.

The program is designed for health professionals that have already achieved either a master’s degree or their first professional degree in one area of a health profession or field, and who wish to develop advanced expertise in the practice of the multifaceted, integrative health promotion and disease prevention of health sciences and clinical medicine. Candidates for this program may include medical and osteopathic physicians, alternative medicine providers, chiropractors, physician assistants, mental health counselors, nurses, and others who seek to advance their knowledge and skills in integrative health promotion and disease prevention.

The Doctor of Science in Health Promotion-Disease Prevention is a professional doctoral degree. It is not a PhD degree primarily for pursuing academic pathway. Nor is it a first professional degree in health or medicine, such as doctor of medicine, which mainly focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. In compliance with the requirements of the Commission for Independent Education (CIE) Florida and Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), the student should be aware of the following: the program is not intended to and will not qualify the holder for licensure, to participate in professional licensing examinations or to otherwise practice medicine or any other licensed health care modality in Florida or any other state.

Program Objectives

The specific objectives of this practice-oriented graduate program are to provide its students with:

  1. An advancement or improvement in scholarly reading, evaluating, writing, presenting or communicating skills.
  2. A multi-perspective foundation in learning HOW to think, act, lead, and learn (TALL) critically, creatively and practically, and with emphasis on application to the understanding and/or problem-solving in the real world situations.
  3. An integrative knowledge in health promotion and disease prevention applicable to a given field of health practices or professions at one or more levels of health administration, clinical practice or personal wellness care.
  4. A managerial knowledge, skill and attitude that is essential and useful for the operation of any health practices or professional organizations, especially in health promotion and disease prevention areas.
  5. A core ability to view, assess, reason, focus on, and deal with specific practice and/or personal matters or problems effectively, efficiently, and wisely.
  6. A solid knowledge, skill and attitude to conduct practice-oriented scholarly research in any professional practice fields, especially in integrative health promotion and disease prevention areas.
  7. An opportunity to make contributions through dissertation research to the understanding and problem-solving of one or more specific issues related to individuals and/or organizations, or to a particular field of health practice, research or education.

Program Information

This program consists of completing foundation and specialty courses and conducting research projects. The core of teaching and learning of the program is centered on the comprehensive, systematic and in-depth knowledge and skills of integrating health and clinical medicine approaches and interventions related to health promotion and disease prevention in order to improve and extend the biopsychosocial health of human life. The courses are delivered through online format. All enrolled students must have basic knowledge and online communication skills prior to taking their formal program courses.

During the course of the program, faculty will interact with students through email, virtual chat, web conferencing, discussion forum and other new technological means to deliver courses. The student’s faculty advisor must approve the topic of applied research and/or supervised clinical practice or fieldwork, if required, during any course. For online course delivery, the University currently uses the Moodle CMS software system as the basic platform for delivering regular online courses. All students must take the University’s Graduate Learning and Online Studies course (CC500), at no additional cost, before taking regular courses or simultaneously during the first semester.

The research work is generally focused on practice-oriented research subjects, and may relate to one of three areas of concentration: They are: (1) Personal Health Care; (2) Clinical Health Care; and (3) Administrative Health Care.

The student determines the concentration pursued, with assistance of his or her mentor. The time and length of research work depends on the nature of the chosen research project, students, and mentors. When a student cannot come to the University campus, the student must nominate a member of his or her dissertation committee who resides in a location convenient for regular interaction on an in-person basis. This member must meet the University qualifications to be appointed as doctoral faculty at the University, and be approved by the University administration.

Admission Requirements

The Admission requirements for this program are located in the Admission Policies section of the Catalog. In addition, there may be a requirement for other prerequisite courses beyond the foundation courses. This will be determined at the time of admission. Candidates are generally expected to have a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher in his or her previous degree programs.

Curriculum and Schedule

The curricular of DSc in Health Promotion-Disease Prevention Degree Program is described below:

  • Biology, Psychology and Sociology (3 credits) CC 601
  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics (3 credits) CC 602
  • Sciences, Systems and Rules (3 credits) CC 603
  • Advanced Research Methods I (3 credits) CC 604
  • Advanced Research Methods II (3 credits) CC 605
  • Health Medicine, Integrative Health Promotion-Disease Prevention (3 credits) HM 701
  • Health Promotion, Principles and Practices (3 credits) HM 702
  • Disease Prevention, Principles and Practices (3 credits) HM 703
  • Health Systems, Organizations and Settings (3 credits) HM 704
  • Health Policies, Programs and Services (3 credits) HM 705
  • Health Practices, Operations and Management (3 credits) HM 706
  • Integrated Biopsychosocial Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Interventions (3 credits) HM 707
  • Integrated Personal, Professional, and Community Level Preventive Interventions (3 credits) HM 708
  • Integrated Preventive Services and Disease Management Interventions (3 credits) HM 709
  • Integrated Research, Education and Practice of Health Medicine (3 credits) HM 710
  • Dissertation Research (15 credits) HM 799

Academic Degree Requirements

Students must be formally accepted into the program. Matriculated students must successfully complete the total of 45 credit hours of courses plus the 15 credit hour Dissertation Research for a total of 60 credit hours specifically as follows.

Course Work

Course selection or progression is generally taken in the prescribed sequence listed above. The Dean of Graduate Studies must approve exceptions. If a student fails a required course (less than a 3.0 grade point average), he or she may request a re-take of that specific course, paying the current rate of tuition.

Qualifying Examination

Students will be given a proctored, written qualifying examination when all foundation or related courses are completed prior to advancing to specialty course study. This examination will normally be given at the completion of the Foundation courses, usually requiring one full-time year study, or given by the end of the equivalent of one year of full-time enrollment in the program. The exam is graded on a pass/fail basis and does not factor into the student GPA. Students must pass this examination. They may retake the qualifying examination with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Comprehensive Examination

Students will be given a proctored, written, comprehensive examination when all coursework is completed and prior to commencing work on the dissertation. The exam also is graded pass/fail and does not factor into the GPA. Students must pass this examination. They may retake the examination with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Dissertation Work

The topic of any dissertation shall be approved by a Dissertation Committee appointed by the University. The next step of the dissertation work is to produce a written Dissertation Proposal. This proposal must include a clear statement of the problem to be researched, a survey of the relevant literature, the research methods to be used, including data collection, and data analysis techniques, in detail. The proposal requires an oral defense and must be approved by the student’s Dissertation Committee before the student may commence work on the dissertation. When approved by the Committee, the student is promoted to the status of doctoral candidate and may proceed with the dissertation.

Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee guides or mentors students after they pass their comprehensive examination. All Committee members must have demonstrated appropriate scholarship, experience, or practice in the subject area. The Committee must include at least two members who earned their doctoral degrees from appropriately accredited institutions other than Orlando University. The Committee members must be qualified in the subject area of the student’s dissertation. At least one member of the Committee must be a member of Orlando University’s faculty. When students reach the point of dissertation, students may have the option of nominating their Dissertation Committee members or major professors. However, Orlando University will make the final decision. Students may request substitutions or additions to the committee, which must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students work closely with their dissertation committee members through the remainder of their doctoral program.

Dissertation Project

Students begin the final phase of their studies formally after the successful oral defense of the proposal, although they may engage in research activities anytime or any stage during their study at the University. Working closely with their Committee, students conduct their research project and develop their dissertation, achieving the highest levels of scholarship. The dissertation must include original research that is focused either on expanding the methodological scope of the content area, developing new theories, or confirming theoretical models. Research methods that may be employed include field experiments, surveys, and case studies. The dissertation study requires fifteen (15) credit hours to complete.

Dissertation Defense

An oral defense of the doctoral candidate’s dissertation with the Dissertation Committee is required. This may be conducted at a distance or in person. No degree shall be awarded unless a majority of the Dissertation Committee approves the dissertation. The dissertation must be bound and delivered to the committee at least 30 days prior to the scheduled defense. Two bound copies are required for the University Library. The candidate may be directed to rework portions of the dissertation and repeat this examination until it is approved by a majority of the dissertation committee. The program, however, must be completed in no fewer than two years from the date of initial enrollment and no more than ten years from the date of initial enrollment.

Residency Requirements

Students are required to attend three residency study sections during the entire degree program. Each section normally consists of one working week (5 days). Each study section has a different focus. The first one is mainly for preparing and completing the qualifying examination and a dissertation conceptual plan. The second section is mainly for preparing and completing the comprehensive examination and dissertation action plan. The third section is mainly for the dissertation defense.

Students arriving for their residency will be assigned a Student Services Director or assistant who will assist them with housing, transportation and other questions they may have. The faculty advisor/mentor will be also available to assist them during the residency. For those students who are absolutely unable to visit the campus because of visa or other extreme situations, special arrangements may be possible, but must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.