Michele Monaco, DSc, ATC, a graduate of the first cohort of the Doctor of Science (DSc) in Athletic Training program at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP), has returned to for RMUoHP as the program director for the new Master of Science in Athletic Training Practice (MSATP) and Emergency Primary Care in Athletic Training (EPCAT) Certificate programs. She also continues to utilize athletic training and biomechanical skills by providing ACL prevention program services for high school female athletes, all while living with her three daughters and two Goldendoodles, in Pennsylvania.

Monaco attributes much of her success and understanding of the field to her years at RMUoHP. Many of her experiences come from having received, as she puts it, “the most comprehensive and supportive education that stretched and challenged my mind while expanding my potential.” For Monaco, the academic benefits she gained from attending RMUoHP can be attributed in large part to the faculty, staff, and administration. She describes the school’s work force as being responsible for making “her educational experience like no other” and the reason behind her desire to “one day be part of this academic establishment.”

Prior to returning to RMUoHP as a program director, she had a varied and successful career history. “I am very passionate about healthcare and medicine,” said Monaco. Her passion led her to serve on various regional and national committees, including as the Secretary for the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association and as a member of the Executive Education Committee of the NATA.

In 2019, Monaco was awarded the NATA Service Award for her efforts in the medical field. Even with her impressive achievements, Monaco considers her greatest professional accomplishment as “being a part of a medical mission team that went to Panama to provide medical services to the oppressed, poor.” This achievement is emblematic of Monaco’s skills and dedication to helping others.

Monaco’s dedication to helping people in her professional career extends to those she teaches and mentors as program director for both the MSATP program and the EPCAT program. The MSATP program is designed for athletic trainers with a bachelor’s degree who want to advance their careers as an athletic trainer and prepare them to address the evolving field of athletic training.  “Students need to understand what they learn in their educational curriculum is base knowledge and that the profession is making leaps and strides into expanding their skill set and where athletic trainers can practice,” said Monaco. She hopes that students who come through the MSATP program will “gain the most current knowledge and skills that athletic trainers utilize in a variety of workforce settings” and be able to take this newfound knowledge and skill and “immediately apply them in their current work setting.”

Similar to the MSATP program’s focus on helping current athletic trainers advance their education and practice, the EPCAT certificate program is designed to provide certified athletic trainers with a streamlined, evidence-based approach to the most current emergency/primary care skills, techniques, and literature, allowing athletic trainers to succeed in a dynamic healthcare society.

As the program director for both programs, Monaco works to provide her “students with the most enriching experience possible by developing outstanding faculty, providing content experts to each student, and by creating a life long learning environment for those in either program.”

Having been a student at RMUoHP, Monaco understands the importance of the opportunities the university provides as a learning platform. It gave her the chance “to understand what it is like to have outstanding faculty who are consistent in their delivery, clear in their expectations, and who provide feedback that strengthen critical thinking abilities.” Because of her own experiences as a student here, Monaco said she is “able to ensure that these opportunities continue to matriculate now into a program I am very passionate about and proud to be a part of within RMUoHP.”

— Jennifer Fletcher, RMUoHP Content Writer & Editor