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New Bachelor of Science in public health available this spring

Monday, Dec. 7, 2020

 

 

MANHATTAN — The kinesiology department in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Kansas State University is taking action to provide more public health care workers through its new Bachelor of Science in public health. The degree will be available for enrollment beginning in spring 2021.

"This degree is both timely and meets a critical need in the state of Kansas," said John Buckwalter, Betty L. Tointon dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. "Furthermore, we are excited to address unmet student demand by offering the only Bachelor of Science in public health among Kansas Board of Regents institutions."

Student interest in the program is already high.

"I am super excited to be enrolling in the new public health degree because it is such an up-and-coming field," said Kaity Rhine, K-State freshman from Cedar Park, Texas. "I feel that with SARS COVID-19, people are getting to see how important public health is right now and how crucial it will be for the future."

K-State will be the sixth program regionally to offer this bachelor's degree and the first among Kansas Board of Regents schools. The multidisciplinary degree, for 120 credit hours, includes courses offered across multiple departments and colleges. Applied practicum experiences will be part of the curriculum, allowing students to be exposed to real-world public health environments.

Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is facing a serious supply and demand issue involving public health workers. The World Health Organization estimates a projected shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030 worldwide, mostly in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Countries at all levels of socioeconomic development, however, face, to varying degrees, difficulties in the education, employment, deployment, retention and performance of their workforce.

Students in the program will be prepared for careers responsive to the changing public health needs of people in Kansas and beyond. Careers in public health can include social and community health services manager; health educator; fitness and wellness coordinator; occupational health and safety specialist; public health analyst; biostatistician; epidemiologist; health care administrator; and clinical/research coordinator. These careers are just a few expected to see a high increase in jobs over the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health educators and community health workers will see a 13% increase in jobs from 2019 to 2029.

Those wanting to continue their education will be prepared to pursue professional schools in areas such as physical therapy; occupational therapy; nursing; and medicine. They will also be prepared to pursue advanced degrees in public health or a number of other advanced degree programs on the K-State campus.

To learn more about the new degree program, contact Craig Harms, kinesiology department head, caharms@k-state.edu, or visit the department website, hhs.k-state.edu/kines/students/undergrad/publichealth.html.



Written by

Chelsi Medved
cmedved@k-state.edu

At a glance

This spring, K-State will become the first Kansas Board of Regents institution to offer a Bachelor of Science in public health.