History of the MGH Institute of Health Professions
The MGH Institute of Health Professions was founded to address the need for master clinicians, leaders in the health care professions molded by the integration of theory and clinical practice in an interprofessional environment.
The Massachusetts General Hospital's commitment to world-class patient care, education and research has long extended beyond their affiliation with Harvard Medical School into the broader scope of other health professions. The MGH's diploma School of Nursing, founded in 1873, closed in 1981 as the hospital focused on the education of advanced practice health professionals. The diploma school was the oldest continuously operating school of nursing in the United States and was the predecessor to the MGH Institute's School of Nursing.
Launching of the Graduate School
Since many health care professions evolved from hospital-based needs, the MGH Insitute's educational programs initially developed through onsite clinical training activities. The shift from hospital-based to college and university-based education for health sciences raised several issues, including lack of integration between clinical and didactic aspects of health care curriculum.
Ruth Sleeper, Director of the MGH School of Nursing from 1946 to 1966, recognized the implications of these changes in nursing education and in 1964 promoted the idea of a free-standing, degree-granting institution affiliated with MGH. In the late 1960s, Dr. John Hilton Knowles, then MGH General Director, expanded the idea to include all non-physician education programs for health care professionals and proposed establishin an "MGH University." which would offer hospital-based, advance-level training programs.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Charles A. Sanders, Knowles' successor, along with Dr. Henry Mankin, Chair of the MGH Committee on Teaching and Education, and John E. Lawrence, then Chair of the MGH Board of Trustees, pursued the idea of creating an affiliated graduate degree school.
In 1975, a petition to grant degrees was submitted to the MAssachusetts Board of Higher Education.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts awarded MGH degree-granting authority in 1977, despite objections from other universities to the innovative concept of a hospital granting degrees. MGH was initially authorized to grant Master of Science degrees in physical therapy, nursing, speech-language pathology and dietetics, as well as a Bachelor of Science in respiratory therapy and radiologic technology, though the Institute didn't offer a bachelor degree until 2008. Later amendments have approved additional degree and certificate programs.
MGH renamed its original Educational Division as the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 1980 when the first students were admitted. The first degree, a Master of Science in Physical Therapy, was granted in 1983. In 1982, the Institute admitted students to the direct-entry master's program in nursing, one of the first to enroll baccalaureate prepared individuals with no prior experience or education in nursing.
The MGH Institute became a separate corporation in 1985, with its own board of trustees, although it remains an MGH affiliate. In 1994, Massachusetts General Hospital joined Brigham and Women's Hospital to found Partners HealthCare, now one of the most highly regarded integrated health care systems in the country.
Growth and Change
At the MGH Institute, academic offerings have changed in response to the health care environment. Some programs have closed – social work and dietetics – while many new ones have been created. Students were first admitted to the Graduate Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 1991 and to the entry-level physical therapy program in 1995. The Graduate Program in Clinical Investigation was developed in 1997 and the Doctor of Physical Therapy in 1999, when the first online courses were also offered.
The MGH Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2002 with the dedication of the Catherine Filene Shouse Building, its new home in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
In 2007 the school created one of the country's first four accredited Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. The next year, the Institute inaugurated an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to meet the demand of filling more than 100,000 nursing vacancies nationwide.
In March 2009, the Graduate Program in Nursing became the MGH Institute School of Nursing. In August 2009, the Communication Sciences and Disorders, Medical Imaging and Physical Therapy programs were organized into a School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
In January 2011 the Institute launched the Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation. In April 2012 the Institute launched an interdisciplinary PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences program, and in June 2012 an interprofessional Master of Science in Health Professions Education, both of which began in fall 2012.
2012 marks the 35th anniversary of the Institute. The academic year 2012-2013 will be a time of reflection and celebration.
The MGH Institute has over 4,500 alumni worldwide.