Oregon Tech Launches New Master’s Degree to Address Rural Health Needs

by Ashley VanEssen | Feb 12, 2016
Higher Education Coordinating Commission approves Master of Science in Allied Health
Oregon Institute of Technology’s College of Health, Arts and Sciences (HAS) is pleased to announce a new Master of Science degree program in Allied Health, as approved yesterday by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
 
Beginning in Spring of this year, the Oregon Tech M.S. in Allied Health (MSAH) degree will be administered through the university’s Online degree platform. The MSAH degree program is meeting demand in the state and region for allied health professionals in positions such as management, education and administration in their respective healthcare disciplines.
 
Within today’s changing healthcare delivery system that is impacted by political and financial initiatives, and impacted by increased understanding of the interrelatedness of diseases that require inter‐professional healthcare teams, having local expertise familiar with the community’s specific needs is more important than ever. Oregon Tech Provost Brad Burda said, “The MSAH is designed to create a new generation of allied health professionals capable of managing and leading healthcare entities in their own communities."
 
The MSAH program supports Oregon Tech’s mission to offer rigorous applied degree programs by providing scholarly, research based, high quality coursework (aligned with the National Center for Healthcare Leadership guidelines) ensuring student success in the work place.
 
The U.S. Department of Labor has projected that the need for healthcare managers will grow 23% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all other occupations, and with an average salary for healthcare leaders about $88,600 per year.
 
This degree, offered in an online format in order to support wide access, is designed for licensed healthcare professionals already holding a bachelor’s degree and working in their local communities. Through a survey conducted in Summer 2014 to current medical imaging students, alumni and employers, respondents indicated a strong and consistent need for a MSAH program at Oregon Tech.
 
A leader in the field of echocardiography and vascular technology, Claudia Rumwell, RN, and a RVT‐who retired from Oregon Health and Science University, was chosen to review the proposal because of her longevity in the field and expertise in training. “I am very excited about what this degree will provide the student who acquires it,” she said. “It gives that student who wants to better themselves beyond what they already have ... more of an edge in moving up into management and/or teaching.”
 
Because of its online nature, this degree is easily accessible to students throughout Oregon including rural regions of the state. The shortage of qualified healthcare providers in rural areas of the state result in high number of preventable hospitalizations, high mortality rates, and low birth weights. The MSAH program offered online will allow Oregon Tech to meet the goal of providing educational access to underserved rural students in southern Oregon and students across the country.
 
Oregon has been declared by the state and the federal government to have high unmet healthcare needs especially in rural communities. According to the Oregon Office of Rural Health, “The shortage and needs for healthcare leaders is very real in Oregon as it especially impacts rural health.” The goal will be that students will learn to be able to tackle issues in the healthcare delivery system and impact the quality of patient care in Oregon and across the country. Students who enroll in this online program most likely will continue to remain in their local communities and are better positioned to make positive impacts upon their community.
 
Dr. Janette Isaacson has been a driving force to get the program off the ground and is very excited to see it started. “This new degree will dramatically and positively impact the quality of patient care across all our communities by providing healthcare leadership training throughout many disciplines,” she said.
 
There are no other programs within the Oregon universities with the same mission and purpose as Oregon Tech’s MSAH. The MSAH focuses courses across many areas such as on patient populations, strategic and financial initiatives, leadership and ethics in healthcare, as well as courses in epidemiology and biostatistics.
 
For more information, please contact Dr. Janette Isaacson at 206-755-6987 or email her at janette.isaacson@oit.edu.
 
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