Over the next ten to twenty years and beyond, our nation will require increasing numbers and varieties of health care professionals to meet the needs of a growing and aging population: doctors and nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists, physical and occupational therapists, pathologist assistants, clinical psychologists, radiation technologists, pharmacists, podiatrists, and more. Likewise, the creation of policies and structures for health care delivery and education, and the day-to-day management of health care delivery, will require a host of public health officials, health educators, crisis management experts, case managers, and hospital administrators. None of these professionals work in isolation; teams of clinicians and technicians join forces with respect to each one’s appropriate role, and their work takes place in the context of policy, business, and research and within a variety of health care delivery settings. It has never been more important for all health care professionals, no matter what their role, to understand the range of expertise involved in this enterprise, and to be able to work together to solve problems.
The Health Sciences major offers concentrations in BioScience and Public Health Studies that will enable future health care professionals to begin this cross-disciplinary conversation even earlier. In addition to General tracks, each concentration offers tracks that help students focus their interests and prepare for future careers. In BioScience students can choose from tracks in Medicine, Pre-nursing, or Laboratory Investigations; while in Public Health Studies, students can choose tracks in Health Education, Community Health or Health Policy and Administration. This degree a) provides students interested in pursuing a career in one of many health-related professions with a common core of knowledge; b) provides a general track in each concentration but also articulates additional tracks that meet requirements for entry into graduate programs; c) provides enough flexibility to enable students to move among those tracks as their interests evolve, and d) brings students headed for multiple health-related professions into on-going conversation with each other. The curriculum is built on the principle that, in order to be effective, health care professionals need to understand both the factors that impact the health of individuals and the factors that impact the health of populations.