Continuing Education Is Proving Vital In The Health Field

Above: Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010 Economy | 1 Jul, 2010 |

From nurses to doctors to health care executives — and everyone in between — the job market in the medical field has tightened since 2007.

“For the first time in a decade, our undergraduate nursing graduates have had difficulty in finding positions or in obtaining a position in a specialty area in which they prefer to work, such as pediatrics, oncology or cardiovascular,” says Terry Olbrysh, director of marketing and communications at the Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation. “As the recession continues, nursing graduates’ job searches have taken longer. However, there is currently, and will always be, the need for health care, and our job market is still very strong compared to other industries in Phoenix.”

And the need for educational programs for both new and veteran health care employees continues to reach new heights.

In fact, according to Olbrysh, enrollment in ASU’s health care and health promotion graduate and doctoral programs has reached record levels at more than 400. And Sanford-Brown College, which provides education in allied health care and related fields designed to prepare its graduates for related employment opportunities, just launched its first campus in the Western United States in Phoenix due to the continuing opportunities for health care graduates.

“When we launched our Phoenix campus in October 2009 with our medical assistant and pharmacy technician programs, the response was overwhelmingly positive,” says George F. Fitzpatrick, president of Sanford-Brown’s Phoenix campus. “In fact, we quickly knew there would be a need for associate programs, as well as Spanish-language offerings, to better arm our growing student population and to better serve the community at large.”

In fact, in January, after just a few months in the market, Sanford-Brown expanded its offerings to include a medical assistant program in Spanish, as well as a specialized associate degree program in cardiovascular sonography. Offered during day and night sessions, and completed in as little as 70 weeks, these programs are designed to help those who are still working in other industries or at other full-time positions.

The College of Nursing and Health Innovation at ASU echoes Sanford-Brown’s success and opportunity. With one of the broadest nursing and health curriculums in the nation, the college is seeing record enrollment in multiple career track opportunities.

“We offer nursing, health promotion (i.e., nutrition, exercise and wellness, and health sciences) and interdisciplinary programs, such as the master’s of clinical research management and (master’s) of healthcare innovation, and all are seeing success,” says Linda Mottle, director of the center for Healthcare Innovation & Clinical Trials. “And we are also developing a new tri-university clinical and translational graduate certificate online, a new MS in regulatory science and health safety, and some online continuing education, self-learning modules for community clinical professionals who want to learn how to conduct clinical research in their practices.”

Those already in health care related fields also are finding new opportunities with several programs. Some of the most popular programs offered through ASU include:

Master of Science degree in clinical research management — an online program that prepares graduates to lead complex global clinical research operations at multiple types of employer settings in the rapidly growing clinical research industry.

Master of Legal Studies — a one-year graduate program that can provide health care professionals with interdisciplinary study in law and medicine. By choosing law classes that are of particular interest, an individual can develop substantive knowledge of law, as well as analytical and problem-solving skills necessary to understand both the underlying theory and practical applications of law in the ever-evolving health care industry.

Juris Doctorate — where health care professionals can focus their legal studies on health care. In addition, candidates can pursue simultaneously a joint MD degree through the Mayo Medical School, a Ph.D. in psychology in conjunction with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, or a master’s in health sector management with the W.P. Carey School of Health Management and Policy.

“We also have a significant number of attorneys who would like to specialize in the emerging field of biotechnology and genomics, so we now offer a Master of Law degree in biotechnology and genomics — the first-ever degree program focused on the growing intersection of law and genetic applications, such as pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine, genetically modified organisms, forensic evidence, gene testing, gene therapy, cloning, stem cells, and behavioral genetics,” says Gary Marchant, executive director and faculty fellow at the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The Center for Law, Science & Innovation bridges law and science by fostering the development of legal frameworks for new technologies, and advancing the informed use of science in legal decision-making. The center facilitates transdisciplinary study and dialogue among policy makers, academics, students, professionals and industry.

In addition, the center houses the Public Health Law and Policy Program (PHLPP), which brings together scholars, practitioners and other partners to focus on critical issues concerning law, ethics and public health.

“Profound issues of law and policy arise from the exploration, development and implementation of public health goals and objectives in society,” says James G. Hodge Jr., director of PHLPP.

Topical areas of interest for the program include:

  • Legal preparedness in response to H1N1 and other public health emergencies.
  • Public health implications of national health care reforms.
  • Vaccination laws and policy.
  • Child and adolescent health in schools.
  • National and state obesity laws and policies.
  • Expedited partner therapies in response to sexually transmitted infections.
  • Volunteer health professionals and emergency legal preparedness.
  • Mental and behavioral health legal and ethical preparedness. |

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

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