University gets approval for new health sciences degree


Prakriti Adhikari/The Lion's Roar

The Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences is now offering a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. A new course, Social Determinants of Health, was added to complete the degree program.

The university now offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences through the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies. 

As of June 2020, nearly 100 students were enrolled in the new degree program. 

Dr. Ralph Wood, professor and assistant dean for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, explained what kind of careers this degree will prepare students for. 

“Students who choose the BS in Health Sciences will be able to pursue a wide variety of career opportunities and graduate training,” said Wood. “Students who complete this degree will be able to pursue jobs as health coaches/navigators, medical scribe, population health manager, public health educator, epidemiologist, health inspector, patient educator, health safety officer and worksite health coordinator.”

In addition to these careers, Wood mentioned that this degree can help students who plan  to enroll in graduate programs following their undergraduate degree. 

“This is the ideal degree for students who plan to apply for graduate programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, athletic training,” commented Wood. “The strengths of this curriculum include a set of core classes that provide extensive training in chronic diseases and their treatment, medical terminology, epidemiology, research, population health management and health coaching and motivational interviewing all essential classes for students pursuing careers in healthcare.”

The program offers a selection of related electives for students to choose from in order to meet their curriculum requirements. 

“In addition, students are able to choose from a wide variety of Health Science elective areas, including biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, psychology, nursing, kinesiology, health systems management, health studies and family and consumer science,” stated Wood. “This will provide students the ultimate flexibility to complete all or most prerequisites needed for occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, dental hygiene and athletic training programs or pursue a minor.”

Carrie Edwards, instructor and coordinator for the health sciences program, discussed why the program was added to the department.

“The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Degree is a more encompassing health degree that allows students to broaden their knowledge base on multiple facets of healthcare,” said Edwards. “Students choosing the Health Sciences major will complete a comprehensive curriculum that will aid in broadening their education in many areas of allied health.”

One of the requirements within the program is that students complete an internship in a health-related field.

“All students in the Health Sciences Degree program are required to complete an internship,” stated Edwards. “The internship is completed during the last semester of coursework and is considered a capstone course for students who have completed course requirements and molded electives courses to fit prospective career interests and goals. Students interview and compete for internship opportunities in many areas of health and healthcare.”

Resources available to students in this program include the health lab and the new anatomage table.

“The newly updated health lab provides resources for students to increase access to health materials, disease models and technologies to further their health sciences curriculum education,” mentioned Edwards. “The newest resource acquired for students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences is the anatomage table which is an advanced 3D virtual dissection table.”

Due to campus social distancing guidelines, some of the classes will be partially or completely online. 

HS 442, Social Determinants of Health, is a new course that was created for the Health Sciences degree. Wood explained what this class will entail. 

“This course will provide an overview of the social determinants of health, health disparities and the linkages between social epidemiology and health policy,” said Wood. “Students will explore the ways health and illness are influenced by social and economic determinants. Includes a discussion of the key roles that health professionals play in ensuring equitable treatment of vulnerable populations.”

Some of the classes have been altered in order to help students’ understanding of prevalent topics in health.

“In addition, we have redesigned several courses to provide our students a more in-depth understanding in chronic health conditions and diseases,” said Wood. “Of particular interest during the time of COVID-19, we offer an awesome class in epidemiology.”

For any questions about the new degree, reach out to Edwards at [email protected] or Wood at [email protected]