UHV NewsWire
Contact:  Jeremy Shapiro 361-570-4296

UHV to begin offering new health studies bachelor’s degree

The University of Houston-Victoria is expanding its health care educational offerings this spring with the addition of a Bachelor of Science in health studies.

Kathryn Tart

The new program is aimed at students interested in a public health career. A health studies degree also can be a logical starting point to prepare students for graduate programs in several health care specialties.

“It’s a wonderful degree with so many uses,” said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing. “Graduates of the program could start work in health care immediately, and the degree can lead to advanced studies. It will give students a strong understanding about the health of our community and teach them how they can promote healthy living through public interactions.”

The four-year degree program will be housed in the UHV School of Nursing, marking the first time the school has set up a program that includes classes for freshmen and sophomores. The school’s other degree programs are for transfer or graduate students. Tart said students don’t necessarily need to have a specific area of health care interest when entering the new program.

“It’s a degree for people who are really interested in health care but don’t know what they want to do within the industry,” Tart said. “They can use this degree as a launching pad for really exploring what they want to do.”

Tart said the school saw a need for the degree to improve the public’s health education in the Crossroads and beyond. The need was illustrated with changes in health care delivery across the nation. Additionally, a Victoria community survey revealed health care education needs.

Students completing the degree can take a certification exam and become Certified Health Education Specialists. They could then work, for example, in community health agencies, state public health departments and worksite health promotion programs.

Jeffrey Cass

“Our graduates can help in a variety of areas in public health and health education,” said Jeffrey Cass, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “There are some really great opportunities for these students. Whether they end the studies with a bachelor’s degree or continue on with school, this is a perfect degree to help them explore and move forward with health care.”

Graduates wanting to continue their studies can go on to graduate work in several areas, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy. They also could pursue UHV’s Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

The degree curriculum for the new program was put together by Tart, assistant professor Lisette Barton, associate clinical professor Terry Kirk and graduate student Pam Heise. Students will have to take core classes, science courses and health studies classes. Tart said those pursuing the degree will be well rounded in the natural and social sciences.

The newly developed courses for the program will focus on health promotion, health programming, public health, global health and environmental health. There also will be lessons about health care ethics and policies. The capstone course will require an internship with a company or organization that has a health component within the organization.

“What ties all of those together is answering the questions of how do we keep all communities healthy, look at things ethically and develop policies that help the greatest majority of people,” Tart said. “The bottom line is when we have an educated, healthy society, our country does well.”

Existing university faculty will teach the sciences course. The nursing school is slated to hire an additional faculty member to teach the new classes starting in fall 2014.

For more information about applying to the new program, contact UHV student success coach Ashleigh Kellis-Carr at 361-570-4362 or kelliscarran@uhv.edu.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region, offers courses leading to more than 65 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Education & Human Development, and Nursing. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus as well as teaching sites in Fort Bend and Harris counties, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. Since its founding in 1973, UHV has provided students with a quality university education from excellent faculty at an affordable price.