Rollins Announces New Programs in the Health Professions

Several new undergraduate and graduate programs will be offered starting this fall to meet the needs of a burgeoning healthcare industry.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Rollins College is expanding its offerings in the healthcare field, adding a new major and three new master degree programs. All of the programs are housed in the College of Professional Studies and will be offered through the Hamilton Holt School.

The school recently opened its undergraduate major in healthcare management. And this fall, it will welcome the first students to the executive-style master’s programs in health services administration and applied behavior analysis and clinical science.

A master’s degree in public health is slated to start in the fall of 2016. All are aimed at meeting a growing demand in areas of healthcare management and related fields—an area that is expected to continue to grow quickly over the next decade.

“Healthcare is one of the more recession-proof industries. People have a job for life,” says Chet Evans, who is executive director of the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) and guided the development of the programs and their accreditation process.

Evans noted that as the need for health services increases, there is also a fast-growing demand for people with the background and skills to manage and administer those services. They need to know how to understand and address multiple issues, including business economics, the needs of patients and providers, details of medical treatments, and topics related to information technology.

The need to develop socially conscious leaders, who have specific skills backed by a broad base of knowledge, meshes well with the liberal arts tradition of Rollins. That’s especially true in the undergraduate health-related programs, said David CS Richard, dean of the Hamilton Holt School. “A primary goal of a liberal arts institution is to prepare students to be active participants in a diverse and rapidly changing democratic society,” Richard says.

Although the graduate-level courses are more specifically aimed at career preparation and advancement, the health fields keep evolving quickly, so graduates specializing in administration and management still will need to know how to remain conversant with newly developing areas of knowledge.

Many healthcare professionals apparently recognize that growing need as well. Evans said CHI already has received interest from medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and nurses, who want to advance or modify their careers by learning to manage services, systems, and people within their own professions.

Because of the busy schedules of healthcare professionals, the master of health services administration courses will be offered on Friday evenings and Saturdays every other week. In between, students will have many readings and computer-based assignments to complete.

The graduate program in applied behavior analysis and clinical science will follow a more traditional schedule in preparing students for roles in helping individuals who are impaired in some way (for example, autistic children, children with developmental delays, and institutionalized populations). “A common characteristic of these populations,” Richard says, “is that they have restricted language skills, or are still developing language, so common counseling techniques—which are verbally mediated—have little effect on changing behavior.”  

With the growing concentration of health professionals in downtown Orlando and Medical City in the Lake Nona area, Evans said the school is considering going to those places and holding classes right where the professionals work, if interest warrants it.

“We would love to deliver these programs at the location where the students are,” he says.