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UM Master of Athletic Training Program Announces CAATE Accreditation

Kathy DeanNews


MOBILE, Ala. – It is official!

The Master of Athletic Training program at the University of Mobile has been granted initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. 

Program Director Melissa Thomas, Ed.D, ATC, said the Master of Athletic Training (MAT) program’s first graduating class will be awarded degrees May 6 during a commencement ceremony on the University of Mobile campus. 

A Promise Fulfilled

Dr. Thomas said the accreditation process validated what she hoped others also could see in UM’s MAT program: committed faculty, and students who were dedicated to the athletic training profession and unwavering in their decision to attend UM as the new program pursued accreditation.

“This is about fulfilling a promise I made to each of these students during their interview for admission, so telling them the program gained accreditation was the best feeling in the world,” said Thomas, associate professor of kinesiology in the School of Health and Sports Science, College of Health Professions.

MAT Program Strengths Cited

The university officially was notified in April of the initial accreditation decision after CAATE peer reviewers completed a comprehensive on-site review of the program in January.

Thomas said the peer review team cited program strengths during its exit interview: 

  • The program’s small cohort sizes are ideal for maintaining exceptional didactic and clinical learning experiences. Students, faculty, and preceptors expressed that the program’s size allows for individualized instruction, learning, and attention to detail in students’ growth, success, and future career endeavors. 
  • The program offers a variety of quality clinical experiences across multiple patient care settings for all students.Preceptors demonstrate an altruistic desire to give back to the program and support students through any means possible. Students regularly engage in hands-on, autonomous clinical experiences throughout the program, regardless of setting. 
  • Dr. Matthew Busbee, MAT program medical director, demonstrates an evident commitment to the success of the MAT program by providing support to MAT faculty and learning opportunities to MAT students. Dr. Busbee has a robust history of working with athletic trainers and is a true advocate of the athletic training profession. Dr. Busbee demonstrates an evident commitment to his involvement in the MAT program across various interactions with students in clinical practice and through planned lectures. The program’s relationship with The Orthopaedic Group P.C. also enhances student clinical practice.
  • Simulation and collaboration through interprofessional education with nursing programs are exceptional. The state-of-the-art simulation facilities provide students with intentional simulation experiences, often through high-fidelity mannequins and equipment. 
UM Master of Athletic Training Program Announces CAATE Accreditation
MAT students from left: Chelsea Acton, Kaitlyn Spangler, Tyesha Smith, Jemiar Jonasian, Paolo Gorme, Hailee Richard, Madilyn Peters
CAATE Accreditation a Team Effort

Thomas said developing and implementing an exceptional Master of Athletic Training Program at the University of Mobile was a team effort.

A key team member was Megan Harper, DAT, ATC, who serves as coordinator of clinical education and assistant professor of kinesiology in UM’s School of Health and Sports Science, College of Health Professions.

“Dr. Harper continues to push students to excel through clinical education opportunities, push the limits of simulations, and use standardized patients for student learning,” said Thomas.

Committed Preceptors & Adjunct Faculty

In addition, Thomas thanked each preceptor and adjunct faculty member listed below who continuously shows a commitment to UM’s athletic training program. 

Adjunct faculty include:

Jennifer Thomas, Pharm.D.; 
James Fisher, PA-C, ATC;
Kristen Rather, PT;
Dr. Lori DeLong, ATC – Dean, School of Health and Sports Science.

Preceptors and clinical sites include:

Kelly Vinson, ATC, PTA – McGill-Toolen High; 
David Bentley, ATC – St. Luke’s Episcopal School; 
Chandler McCulloch, ATC – St. Paul’s Episcopal School;
Rob Milam, ATC – Spanish Fort High;
Rachel Alterio, ATC – Mobile Christian High;
Robert DeLongATC – University of Mobile;                    
Kyle McDowell, ATC ­­– Bishop State Community College;
Laura Beth WrightATC and Baylee Kimbrell, ATC – Spring Hill College;
Robert Lightfoot, MD – Victory Health Partners;
Shawn McQuade, Paramedic – Mobile County EMS;
Matthew Busbee, MD and Karla Beasley, ATC – The Orthopaedic Group PC;
Brian Risser, PT, ATC – Saraland Physical Therapy;
Jon Hammontree, ATC ­ – Hartselle High;
Scott Armistead, ATC; Alex Villasanti, ATC; and Dalton Davis, ATC – FC Cincinnati Soccer Club;  
Courtney Perkins, ATC – Alabama State University.

UM Accepting MAT Applications to May 1

There is still time for students to apply for admission to the next cohort of UM’s Master of Athletic Training program. 

The online application is completed through ATCAS and remains open until May 1. The ATCAS system allows students to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, observation hours and more through the program’s verification process.

UM’s 2-year, 62-credit-hour MAT program prepares students through both didactic and clinical experiences to sit for the Board of Certification Exam.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university offering on-campus and online associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. Founded in 1961, the University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit umobile.edu, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.