The opening of RIT’s new College of Health Sciences and Technology has brought RIT a number of new programs, as well as a new faculty member: Dr. Daniel Ornt. Ornt assumed the position of first dean of the college on December 1, coming to RIT from a position as Vice-Dean of Academic Affairs for the School of Medicine at Case University in Cleveland, Ohio. Having worked on a massive co-curricular revision at the School of Medicine at Case over the past few years, he is eagerly anticipating the challenge of being involved from the very beginning of creating a college.
Ornt explained that RIT’s new college now hosts the Physician’s Assistant program, in addition to five other degree programs in biomedical sciences and pre-medicine that have been transferred from the School of Life Sciences in the College of Science. Ornt will be encouraging the college to develop an inter-professional approach to education to encourage well-rounded curricula. This will be accomplished by bringing together students from different programs as they learn to establish a more communication-driven educational environment.
Collaboration with local health care providers is also a goal, as Ornt mentioned that he is especially looking forward to working with Rochester General Hospital through the alliance that the facility has with RIT. Faculty at RIT have been working with physician researchers at the hospital for years now, which has in turn opened up a way for students to be involved in research as well.
Ornt’s own body of work has covered a broad array of studies. The largest projects he has worked on focus on the function and treatment of kidney problems, such as regulation of potassium and homeostasis. In a National Institute of Health clinical trial, he observed the outcomes of patients on dialysis to see if the treatment improved patient survival rate and well-being. The results of the study led to a subsequent test to see if giving dialysis more frequently would improve those factors even further. He hopes to explore new varieties of research through the college and local medical facilities and see the kind of discoveries his college can make.
A native and longtime resident of the Rochester area, Ornt has enjoyed returning home after nearly a decade of living in Chicago. He loved his career as a physician and seeing patients, but also enjoys working with students and seeing them excited about learning medicine. Ornt repeatedly mentioned how he was attracted to his new job because of what he saw he could do and the paths he could guide the curriculum in. He sees nothing but opportunities for himself, the faculty and the students in the months ahead as CSHT firmly establishes itself as the ninth college of RIT. Ornt is looking forward to it all, insisting that “The future [of the college] is going to be very exciting.”