DICE Changes Name, Adds New Division Director
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DICE Changes Name, Adds New Division Director

The Department of International and Continuing Education (DICE) has expanded and, as a result, is now the Academic Affairs Division of Global, Interprofessional and Specialized Programming (GISP) as of June 2023.

Melissa Vitek, OD ‘95, FAAO, PNAP, the dean of DICE, will remain dean of GISP. The mission of the Academic Affairs Division of GISP is to facilitate innovative, partnered approaches to professional growth and development, including Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Practice (IPECP) to improve patient and client outcomes.

GISP staff Margie, Missy, Sarah
GISP staff: Margie Singer, Dr. Melissa Vitek, Sarah Tinkoff.

Programming includes (current and planned):

  • IPECP for preceptors and alumni, faculty development, and students.
  • Clinical training programs for international students, both degree and non-degree.
  • Profession-specific, interprofessional, and IPECP continuing education for current faculty, preceptors, and alumni.
  • Profession specific, interprofessional, and IPECP certificates and micro-credential badging programs.
  • Required healthcare specific trainings for students, faculty, and alumni.
  • International student support and community connection.
  • Administrative support for: 
  • International internships
  • Cohort specific international and domestic certificates
  • Lunch and learns for the Salus community.

As part of the diversification of the new division, Karen J. Hanson, PhD, director of Interprofessional Practice and Education at Salus, will offer Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Practice (IPECP) programming through GISP. 

Dr. Hanson is no stranger to the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus. From 2006 through 2014, she led the BioLaunch 611+ Keystone Innovation Zone, an initiative among a number of regional universities, which later became BioStrategy Partners. Salus’ contribution to that partnership was providing office space on campus.

Over the years, Dr. Hanson’s role has continued to evolve.  With support from Felix Barker, OD, MS, FAAO, professor emeritus and former PCO trustee; Anthony Di Stefano, OD ‘73, PhD, MEd, MPH, FAAO, vice president emeritus and former dean of Academic Affairs; Janice Scharre, OD, MA, FAAO, former provost and vice president of Academic Affairs; Brian Zuckerman, JD, in-house counsel and former chief of staff; and Salus president Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE, and working with Lynn Greenspan, OD, PhD ‘17 assistant professor; Bre Myers, AuD ‘06, PhD; Kathleen Youse, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS, former director of the University’s Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) program; and Linda Casser, OD, FAAO, FNAP, professor emerita, she created the Veterans Readiness Initiative, which offered multi-sensory outreach screenings in partnership with the Community College of Philadelphia, Montgomery County Community College and Crescenz VA Medical Center. The University’s Optometry, Audiology and SLP students worked in inter-professional teams to screen student Veterans at the two community colleges for head trauma-related vision, hearing, balance, and cognitive-communication symptoms and then refer them to the VA.

Karen Hanson
Karen Hanson

Dr. Hanson subsequently partnered with Salus University’s John Gaal, FACHE, vice president of Clinical Operations; Maria Parisi, OD ‘85, FAAO, associate dean for Optometric Clinical Affairs; Lindsay Bondurant, PhD, CCC-A, director of the Pennsylvania Ear Institute; and Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, chair and director of the SLP program, to create the Salus Interprofessional Questionnaire, a screening questionnaire for patients in the University’s clinical facilities to encourage referrals within Salus University Health.

Dr. Hanson views her latest position as a natural evolution of her career path. A cultural anthropologist specializing in health and healthcare, she began her career in public service in New York City’s municipal government and then moved into the nonprofit sector.

“Our current approach to IPECP includes a co-curricular approach,” said Dr. Hanson, who along with Dr. Vitek and Ryan Hollister, MS, director of the Bennett Career Services Center at Salus, have been working this initiative for the past three years. The co-curriculum supports the curriculum and provides a mechanism to offer IPECP to students using innovative, focused learning activities.

“The Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, entry-to-practice level (IPCPe) program that we’re rolling out as a pilot this fall is a voluntary-participation, micro-credential badging program for students,” said Dr. Hanson. “It is a specialized program that belongs in a division such as GISP that supports its unique framework and university-wide focus.”

According to Dr. Hanson, it’s exciting to see the plan come to fruition. “I love what I do, and I love those I work with. The intellectual challenge, the acting and the doing. I like to make things happen. I like to ‘real-ize’ ideas, make them real,” she said. “We’re focusing on building the IPECP infrastructure and GISP is part of that. We are looking forward to the possibilities for further Interprofessional offerings both as Salus and as part of Drexel.”