Healthcare policy set to enhance Liberal Arts and Sciences

By Theresa Evans

A healthcare policy program will be available to new and current students in the fall semester under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“There’s a lot of flexibility in the major,” said Michael Brogan, associate political science professor. “It is an interdisciplinary degree. Students will be trained within a social science approach to healthcare.”

The program requires students to take five foundational courses in political science, global studies and philosophy, according to Brogan. In addition to taking elective courses, students will take courses in five dimension areas: health policy and administration, global health care policy, policy inquiry, national health care policy, and health and the environment.

“Within liberal arts, it’s important that students are broadly trained for the skills that are required for the creative economy in the sense of critical thinking, problem solving, critical reading and having affective communication skills,” Brogan said. “They don’t necessarily lose what makes liberal arts so great and really it’s the broad focus on the big questions of our social system, our economic system, our political system, etc. That’s why it will make a great stand-alone degree, but also a nice double major.”

According to Brogan, the development of a minor is in the works and will be available to students as early as the spring semester of 2018.

“I am constantly hearing professors and administrators of hospitals say that one of the toughest parts of their jobs is complying with all of the federal and state regulations that are placed on the administration of medical care,” said Lauren Mee, sophomore health information management major. “For students in the liberal arts and sciences college, learning these laws and regulations under health policy will give them a head start when they start to become a part of the workforce. It will enable them to not only know how to do their job, but more importantly, how to do it within the confines of the law.”

There is a large, growing healthcare sector within the region, Brogan said. An undergraduate degree in healthcare policy prepares students for the “changing nature of healthcare” and careers within the private, public and non-governmental organizational sectors.

“Students will learn the skills to effectively solve problems, to effectively address problems, to effectively understand defined problems and then connect problems to viable solutions,” Brogan said. “We have a very big presence within the state capital as well as in D.C., so for students it’s also beneficial to take advantage of these internship opportunities for them. To really work hands-on writing, implementing healthcare policy and, of course, regulating healthcare policy.

“It’s something for existing students to consider and to consider not just from the point of view of wearing a lab coat, but also from the point of view of ‘how do you effectively make positive change?’ And that’s really where I’m coming from. Our students are engaged, we take care of our students, we make sure they, from the first year to when they graduate, are going to be successful.”

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