An innovative urban university creates academic degree programs that are attractive to students, that provide the skills graduates need to get good jobs, that employers want to fill their workforce needs, and that help business and industry fuel economic development in central Indiana.
That is why we made a commitment in our mission statement to focus on areas of economic opportunity—foremost among them, health and life sciences. Thus when the Indiana Department of Workforce Development predicted an increase in life scientist positions of 22 percent in a five-year period, it was an opportunity for us to develop new academic degree programs to meet the demand.
With such a health and life science focus, it might surprise you that some of those new academic degree programs are not offered by the long-established “health” schools.
For example, at 16th Street and I-65, two new buildings anchor a commitment by the School of Medicine and IU Health to neuroscience research and treatment. Even as the research building is still being completed, it is obvious these beautiful buildings will make Indiana a destination for neuroscience education, treatment, and research.
So, last fall, the School of Science at IUPUI launched an undergraduate major in neuroscience—a rarity at the undergraduate level—and an opportunity for students to get a head start in pursuing their interests in neurology, psychiatry, and other pre-med disciplines. The response has been remarkable, with many current and future students at IUPUI expressing great interest in the new program. It is also available as a minor.
To address the management needs of a rapidly changing healthcare system, the IU Kelley School of Business at IUPUI has launched the Business of Medicine MBA to prepare practicing physicians to assume administrative roles. The specialized two-year program begins in September 2013. To accommodate busy physicians’ schedules, it will be delivered in a “hybrid” format, with 50 percent online and 50 percent delivered “live” one weekend per month. This hybrid scheduling makes it possible for physicians to enroll no matter where they live.
Also in the pipeline, pending approval by the IU Board of Trustees, are three health-related graduate certificates in business. The 18 credit hour Business of Medicine certificate is for physicians interested in improving dayâ€toâ€day patient care operations. There are also the 18 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Operational Excellence and the 15 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Medical Management.
The launch of the new Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health included creating three new Ph.D. programs: biostatistics, which leverages faculty expertise from mathematics, public health, and medicine; epidemiology, which focuses on how diseases spread; and health policy and management, which covers strategic decision making.
We also have two new doctoral programs in the School of Liberal Arts that have a health and life science focus.
The first is the Ph.D. in economics—with an emphasis on health economics. In addition to econometric theory, students explore such fields as biostatistics, epidemiology, bioethics, or health policy, giving them a background that will facilitate working on interdisciplinary problems, such as the economic factors in obesity and other diseases.
The second is our newest Ph.D.—health communication. As you may remember, both Sandra Petronio (my wife) and I are in communication studies. We have watched communication researchers make an increasingly important impact on health through their research. In fact, Sandra’s theory of Communication Privacy Management has been applied to HIV/AIDS, the disclosure of medical mistakes, and physician-patient communication. Given IUPUI’s interdisciplinary partnerships, we are a perfect place to prepare students to teach and do research in health and interpersonal relationships, intercultural health, and ethical issues in health care delivery. Students will also gain skills in understanding clinical problems affected by communication and develop the ability to translate research into practice. The program will be of interest to professionals currently in the health field who want an advanced degree, as well as those interested in an academic career in health communication research and practice.
With a new master’s degree programs in art therapy and a doctoral program in
health and rehabilitation sciences that addresses interdisciplinary research on how the body moves—and more than 130 other majors and programs already in place—IUPUI has truly become a driving force in the health and life sciences for central Indiana!