The Dr. Dennis J. Patterson
Center for the Health Professions

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Special Opportunities

If you're planning to enter a health profession, you'll need a lot more than strong academics. At Elmhurst's Patterson Center for the Health Professions, you'll find plenty of opportunities to get real-world experience, travel abroad, conduct relevant research and much more.

Seminars and Workshops
Clinical Experiences
International Experiences
Research Opportunities
Clubs & Organizations

Seminars and Workshops
Each year, the Patterson Center brings in a variety of professionals and alumni to lead workshops and speak on a number of different topics. One week you might attend a lecture on ethics presented by a leading medical ethicist, and the next, you might participate in a workshop on preparing your application for professional school.

Each year we hold a Health Professions Fair and Career Expo. The Health Professions Fair is an outstanding opportunity to meet representatives of top-level professional schools and other health-related organizations. In addition, every year the Center collaborates with the Center for Professional Excellence and Niebuhr Center to introduce students to an array of careers by bringing professionals from various backgrounds, such as doctors, nurses, speech language pathologists and physical therapists (just to name a few) to the Career Expo.    

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Clinical Experiences
Elmhurst offers plenty of opportunities to gather real-world knowledge. You'll have health care related experiences at some of the nation's leading hospitals, laboratories and organizations, and you'll have extensive shadowing opportunities. For example:

  • You might organize a blood drive or offer health screenings at an area homeless shelter.
  • You might shadow during an open heart surgery or participate in a term long clinical experience in your field of interest.
  • You might conduct research in the United States or abroad.
  • You might serve as a leader to high school students interested in health care during a summer program at Dartmouth College.
  • You might work on the staff at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as one of our nursing students did in a summer internship. Not only did she learn a lot about health care teams, she also received a job offer at the Clinic.

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International Experiences
For many students, traveling abroad offers the most compelling experience of their college education. As a student at Elmhurst, you can spend an entire summer month in central Europe studying a variety of scientific and medical issues. One year, for example, our summer group met with the head of medical ethics at the Sorbonne and discussed such issues as stem cell research and cloning.

If one month abroad is not enough for you, you can take advantage of other international opportunities, including individualized semester-long programs in Spain, Costa Rica, France and more.

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Research Opportunities
Elmhurst College offers plenty of opportunities to participate in faculty research—and design your own projects.

Some examples of recent projects:

  • A study of the epidemiology of West Nile Virus, focusing on how the virus affects North American bird species and the role migrating birds may have played in introducing the virus into new regions of the United States
  • A community project focusing on smoking prevention and cessation
  • A study of the risk factors associated with speech-language and hearing disorders in children
  • A comparative analysis of split-brain syndrome
  • An investigation of the viability of salmonella cells in the environment 

Elmhurst students also are regularly involved in summer laboratory research programs on campus and at local research labs or medical facilities.

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Clubs & Organizations
Elmhurst sponsors chapters of several organizations and honorary societies geared toward students pursuing health fields. Some examples are:

  • Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society (for pre-med and allied health students)
  • National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association
  • Student Nurses Association 
  • Animal and Veterinary Interest Student Association 

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