Students Explore Career Interests in Health Studies
An innovative learning community for students interested in health studies will launch at Alma College next fall.
The Integrated Health Studies Institute will offer increased practical experiences, additional contact with health professionals, and enhanced interaction with students and faculty who share interests in the health professions.
“Our goal is to bring together students and faculty from many health-related fields to help them explore, find and develop their passions related to health,” says Karen Ball, professor of exercise and health science. “The Institute will expose students to the breadth of issues faced by professionals in health care delivery, administration, policy and communication.”
Maurie Luetkemeier (center) teaches exercise science.
A hallmark of the Institute is the broad integration of science, technology, business, policy, ethics, leadership and critical thinking in preparing future health professionals, says Ball.
Students can major in several health-related programs at Alma, including exercise and health science, biotechnology, environmental studies and health care administration, while also pursuing pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, optometry and forensic science.
“The Integrated Health Institute allows us to package these programs to help students explore their career interests,” says Ball. “For students who don’t know their major yet, the Institute will provide opportunities to interact with other students and faculty to help them find their niche in health. As freshmen they will explore health career opportunities and develop a four-year plan that will enable them to reach their goals.
“For students who know their major, the Institute will provide additional intensive experiences that will help them understand the complexities of the health professions,” she said. “For example, successful health professionals are leaders who can address the many challenges facing health care in the immediate and distant future. They must understand the importance of teamwork, understand and interact with the business side of health, and be able to discuss ethical decisions with patients.”
Students can apply for “Candidate” status at the end of the freshman year and “Associate” status following the sophomore year. Institute Associates are required to attend seminars on current topics in health, complete additional coursework outside of the designated major, fulfill a health-related internship, and present original work in a senior capstone project.
Associates who complete all requirements will receive “Fellow” status on their graduation transcript.
A director for the institute will be hired this spring, says Ball. An external advisory board will provide input regarding issues and trends in the health professions and assist in the identification of off-campus internship and employment opportunities.
Posted: Fri, March 25th, 2011 at 4:03PM