Preprofessional Studies & The Center for Health Sciences Advising
219 Jordan Hall of Science
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0369
contact: Kay Ernsberger
Senior Administrative Coordinator
Academic Advisors for Health Sciences Advising Committee
Father James Foster, C.S.C, M.D.
Director, Center for Health Sciences Advising
Chair, Preprofessional Studies
Fr. Foster directs the Center for Health Sciences Advising and serves as chair of the preprofessional studies program. He closely monitors developments within the health profession admissions process including new schools, course requirements, and curriculum developments.
Fr. Foster earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and earned an M.D. from the University of Illinois Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine in 1981. He completed his training in internal medicine (1984) and infectious diseases (1986) at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill. and was board certified in both areas. After several years in private practice, Fr. Foster entered the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1989 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. He also completed a Clinical Ethics Fellowship at the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1997.
Kathleen J. S. Kolberg, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies
Kathleen Kolberg advises current students and alumni in preparation for admission to schools in the health professions, particularly medicine, podiatry, nursing, physician assistant, OT, PT, Pharmacy and Optometry. She serves as the NAAHP liaison (national advisors association) to the schools of podiatric medicine. Due to her previous research in the area of newborn ICU environments, she teaches Clinical Embryology and Psychology and Medicine. As an assistant dean she is responsible for student advising, focusing on overloads, transfer credits, and graduation issues.
Susan Gursky, Ph.D.
As an advisor in the Center for Health Sciences Advising, Susan Gursky advises the incoming sophomore science preprofessional (SCPP) students. Along with Kathleen Kolberg and Fr. James Foster, she advise all students in the sophomore through senior years who plan to apply to medical, dental, and other professional schools.
Gursky teaches two research oriented classes, one in the Department of Biological Sciences and the other in Preprofessional Studies, which help prepare students for the new MCAT exam. These two classes, along with several others at Notre Dame, address the new questions on experimental design, control, and data interpretation. Gursky received a Ph.D. in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago studying cancer genetics, and received her post-doctoral training at Princeton University in the Department of Biochemistry studying oncogenic proteins.
Dominic Chaloner, Ph.D.
Clinical/Translational Research Advisor
As the coordinator for undergraduate research opportunities for students in the College of Science, Dominic Chaloner serves as a resource to guide preprofessional students in clinical and translational research opportunities. Chaloner continually develops relationships with external partners such as the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Indiana Clinical Translation Sciences Institute, Sloan Kettering, and others to enhance opportunities for clinically orientated research. Chaloner also enhances the existing infrastructure within the College of Science to support undergraduate research, and provide guidance to students about pursuing the most appropriate and fulfilling avenue of research.
Dominic O. Vachon, Ph.D.
Director, Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine
As director of the Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine, Vachon advances the scientific theory and practice of compassionate care in medicine. He is responsible for ensuring that the center trains aspiring and practicing physicians and other healthcare professionals learn the skills of compassionate caring in patient care and how to maintain that compassion in spite of the stresses of working in healthcare.
Vachon teaches courses in the science of compassionate care in medicine, medical counseling skills, spiritualities of caring in the helping professions, the introduction to personalism in medicine (also called the Pathos Project), and the introduction to hospice and palliative care. He conducts research on the science of compassion and healthcare communication. He provides presentations, and continuing education, and consulting to healthcare organizations. He also conducts a clinical practice specializing in neurofeedback. Vachon graduated from Notre Dame in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and philosophy. In 1985, he completed a master of divinity from Notre Dame, and in 1993, he earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Loyola University, Chicago.