By Theresa Evans
For graduate students interested in the vast world of health care and health care policy, the new health communication concentration in the business communication graduate program is a step in the right direction.
According to Pamela Brown, director of the Master of Arts in business communication (MABC), the program consists of 33 online credits and prepares students to gather data, make sense of the information and turn it into effective campaigns that illustrate the pros and cons of health care.
Brown said the concentration is narrowly focused for people who want to work in this industry.
Brown mentioned that the MABC teaches all aspects of communication needed in a professional situation including writing, oral and visual communication, audience analysis, and specialized and strategic communication.
Those who work in the health industry are “engaging in communication with audiences. One of the biggest audiences, of course, would be the general public and health campaigns themselves,” Brown said. “Communicating to the public about health concerns involving behavior itself, choices that we make that affect our health, whether it involves the use of various products, medications, etc. Whether it involves the options that are available to people to support their health care needs. All of these require some kind of communication programming that goes on.”
According to Brown, many Rider alumni who studied journalism and public relations ended up in the health field.
“It doesn’t matter what your major was as an undergrad. This doesn’t require any background,” said Brown. “This is starting from zero, so whatever your major may have been, you may have an interest in moving into the health industry in some way. If you’re not necessarily somebody who’s oriented toward science or toward medicine and nursing, this might be the direction for you because you’ll be working with health information, but you don’t have to have that kind of very technical background knowledge and training.”
According to Brown, the 4+1 program, in which students complete four years of undergrad and then one for their master’s, is available through both the general Master of Arts in business communication and the health communication program.
“I would say that there are many benefits of an added concentration to a program,” said graduate student Sravya Gummaluri. “I feel as though allowing us to delve into a concentration that we are more interested in and suited to greatly helps us students in thinking about future career options and even finding future careers that will be a better fit.”
“For years, we’ve talked about developing this kind of a program,” Brown said. “It just took us a while.”