In light of the growing need for health professionals, the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) started the first bachelor of science in public health program in South Florida.
Recently accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the major will help students understand disease prevention and the general wellness of world populations. They will also study biological, environmental, psychological and other factors that affect human health.
SONHS Dean Nilda Peragallo worked with Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas LeBlanc to develop the program in time for the fall 2012 semester.
“The new degree will open a world of new possibilities for our students to get hands-on experience to explore issues affecting public health in not only the United States, but also globally,” Peragallo said in a press release. “There is a skyrocketing demand for a well-trained public health workforce to tackle the 21st century’s most pressing health concerns, such as HIV/AIDS, obesity, terrorism and reemerging infectious diseases.”
The degree is normally completed at the graduate level, and allows aspiring nurses to enhance their clinical and research skills to face global health concerns.
The opportunities the degree provides will also lead to a variety of career options and goals.
“The Public Health degree will provide these individuals the opportunity to obtain careers in health education, prevention, health promotion and global health,” said Rosemary Hall, an associate professor at the SONHS.
Complementing a standard nursing track, the new major includes specific courses in epidemiology, communicable disease and health promotion and prevention.
One particular course, however, offers a unique perspective on public health. The class on field experience in community health will allow students to learn about servicing local and global communities, and foster UM’s mission of service.
With these benefits, students like sophomore Susana Guerrero find the BSPH to be an important asset for any nursing student.
“If I decide to declare the major, it will span my possibilities and opportunities,” Guerrero said. “It will also help me gain knowledge and experiences and develop my skills.”