Jefferson College of Health Sciences

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For other Colleges of Health Sciences, see College of Health Sciences.
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Type Private, Allied Health College
Established 1982
President Nathaniel L. Bishop
Academic staff
Undergraduates 800[1]
Postgraduates 262[1]
Location Roanoke, Virginia, USA
Campus Urban
Nickname Blue Healers
Mascot Jeff (a Saint Bernard)

Jefferson College of Health Sciences (often abbreviated and known locally as JCHS and Jefferson College,) is an independent, private, coeducational, health sciences college located in Downtown Roanoke, Virginia. Officially chartered as a College in 1982, Jefferson College is the oldest hospital-based college in Virginia.

Jefferson College of Health Sciences has approximately 1,062 students based on the enrollment statistics from fall 2015 (81% female, 19% male) who represent approximately 31 states. The college offers 15 majors in various healthcare disciplines. Jefferson College of Health Sciences awards the Associate of Science, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Science degree. Jefferson College's graduate programs in nursing, occupational therapy, and physician assistant are recognized nationally.[2]


Jefferson College of Health Sciences has 25 degree programs and tracks, as well as certificate programs, in four academic departments:[3]

Department of Rehabilitation and Wellness[edit]

  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (Ranked #91 according to the U.S. News & World Report) The incoming class of 2016 received over 200+ completed applications. Of these 200+ applications, 60 were invited on campus for an interview with admission directors, students and staff. 18 would eventually be offered admission, and another 18 would be waitlisted. The acceptance rate for the class of 2016 was less than 9% for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. All graduates of an Occupational Therapy degree program are required to pass an entry level national registry examination prepared by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) prior to their becoming licensed to practice as an occupational therapist. As part of the accreditation standards of all OT programs, each program is required to make the results of these first-time tests for the previous three (3) years available to the public. From 2011-2013 the pass rate at Jefferson was 95%, including 100% in 2013.
  • Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science
  • Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Radford University also houses its Physical Therapy program at the Jefferson College of Health Sciences campus in Roanoke, VA.

Department of Community Health Sciences[edit]

  • Master of Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Science in Physician Assistant' (Currently ranked #70 according to the U.S. News & World Report) The Class of 2014 accepted 40/803 students for a 4.98% admission rate. Because of the close working relationship between PAs and physicians, PAs are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. The PA program is a 27-month professional program designed for students with a bachelor's degree. Through interprofessional coursework, PA students collaborate with other health professional students to gain skills necessary for future practice. In 2011-2014 the program was ranked #62.)
  • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Administration
  • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Informatics
  • Bachelor of Science in Emergency Services
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy

Department of Nursing[edit]

  • Master of Science in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Accelerated Pre-Licensure Track
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Post-Licensure BSN Track
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Pre-Licensure Track
  • Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology

Department of Arts and Sciences[edit]

  • Graduate Certificate in Bioethics
  • Graduate Certificate in Biology
  • Certificate in Medical Laboratory Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science


Jefferson College of Health Sciences was founded in 1982, but its history can be traced as far back as the early 1900s. In 1907, Dr. Hugh Trout Sr. founded a small, 40-bed facility in Roanoke, Virginia named Jefferson Hospital. In order to address the shortage of nurses in the area, he established the Jefferson Hospital School of Nursing. At about the same time, Dr. James Newton Lewis and Dr. Sparrell Simmons Gale founded Lewis-Gale Hospital. In 1911 they created the Lewis-Gale school of nursing. The two schools operated side-by-side for many years. In 1965 it was decided that the two schools would combine under the direction of the newly constructed Community Hospital. The merged school was named the Community Hospital of Roanoke Valley School of Nursing. The new school operated in this manner for the next fifteen years. In 1980, a task force was commissioned to determine the feasibility of creating a hospital-based college that would grant 2-year degrees in nursing and allied health. The next year the Community Hospital Board of Trustees made a commitment to such a school. This led to the establishment of the Community Hospital of Roanoke Valley College of Health Sciences in 1982. The College of Health Sciences was the first hospital-based college in Virginia. The College obtained initial accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to give associate degrees in 1986, bachelor's degrees in 1995, and Master's degrees in 2005. In 2003, the College officially changed its name to Jefferson College of Health Sciences.

Presidents of Jefferson College of Health Sciences[edit]

Dr. Harry C. Nickens (first President) - 1989-2002
Dr. Carol Seavor - 2002-2010
Dr. Nathaniel L. Bishop - 2010- [1]

Nickname and Mascot[edit]

Jefferson College of Health Sciences' nickname is the "Blue Healers". The school's mascot is the St. Bernard, who is often called "Jeff". The mascot was created in 2007. Prior to its implementation, a contest was held campus-wide during which students, faculty and staff were invited to submit ideas for a mascot. The winning concept was submitted by Lisa Ferguson, then a student in the Nursing Program. Lisa suggested that the mascot be a Saint Bernard—an animal with significant connections to medicine and healthcare. The mascot then underwent some last minute polishing and was introduced at the College’s first annual Spirit Day event in January 2008. At the same time, the official mascot logo was introduced with a graphic version of Jeff sprinting over the words, “Jefferson Blue Healers.” The name of our mascot pays homage to several significant aspects of Jefferson College. His primary name, “Jeff,” is a shortened version of Jefferson, creating a link between the mascot and the school he represents. “Blue Healers” is a play on words, with “Blue” referring to one of the College’s school colors, and “Healers” referring to the primary function of the healthcare provider—to heal those in need.[4]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°15′54.4″N 79°56′27.3″W / 37.265111°N 79.940917°W / 37.265111; -79.940917