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University of the Pacific cuts ribbon at new nursing, health sciences programs

The programs will be located at the university's campus in the Oak Park area of Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The University of the Pacific (UOP), based out of Stockton, is expanding its footprint in the capital city with a new facility aimed at training the next generation of nurses, clinical nutritionists, social workers and occupational therapy doctors. 

The college cut the ribbon Tuesday to a new School of Health Sciences facility on their Sacramento Campus. The new classrooms and lab are housed in a now-converted floor upstairs from the school's Sacramento campus library. 

The facility, described by the university as "contemporary," features a simulation lab in addition to classrooms. 

"We bring our students together to learn with and from each other, so when they go out and practice, they know who to refer to, they know their colleagues, what they can offer to a patient, and they can provide that comprehensive holistic care that is so needed," said Nicoleta Bugnari, the Dean of UOP's School of Health Sciences.

The ribbon-cutting Tuesday means the university will offer new master’s programs in nursing, clinical nutrition and social work. The university will also add a doctor of occupational therapy program.

"Given the shortage of nurses that we are experiencing in California and nationwide, this is a program intentionally designed to take people that have no nursing background but they are passionate about becoming nurses," Bugnari said. "It is a masters, so that prepares them for higher entry-level positions, as well as having a certificate in public health."

While some of the programs have already been launched in the past two years, the college's first-ever master of science in nursing program will launch in April. 

In 2020, the University of the Pacific launched a School of Health Sciences with programs at the university's three campuses in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco. 

The School of Health Sciences oversees UOP's athletic training, audiology, physician assistant, physical therapy and speech-language pathology programs.

College officials say they plan to begin offering an online Doctor of Medical Science and Doctor of Health Sciences program in 2023.

Bugnari says one of the goals for the university's new programs is to improve the healthcare workforce locally. 

"We are intentionally recruiting from our regional communities to train, to educate our students, and then to return much-needed healthcare providers into our communities," Bungari said. 

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