Mt. A will be introducing a new interdisciplinary Health Studies program for students coming in 2022, which will open doors for even more Mounties to pursue future work in health fields. The program is currently pending approval from the Maritime Provinces of Higher Education Commission (MPHEC).
The program’s description on the Mt. A website explains that this new program provides an opportunity to consider health and health studies from “biological, behavioural, social, environmental, ethical, historical, cultural and population perspectives.” It will be considered a Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) degree, and is available as an honours, major, or minor program.
The Health Studies program will be shaped around a concentration in one of three topic areas: health equity and diversity, health analysis, and environment and health. Each area offers Health Studies-specific courses but also allows for a concentration in other disciplines, such as Sociology, Environmental Studies, or Biology. Eight new Health Studies-specific courses and a capstone course will also be introduced to complement other departments’ courses for the degree.
Jeff Hennessy, Mt.A’s University Provost and Vice President, Academic and Research, stated in a press release that the program “was developed by faculty members from a number of fields including biology, biochemistry and chemistry, philosophy, and sociology with input from academic areas across campus” to ensure consideration from both the Arts and Science portions of the degree.
The health studies program promotes a way for students to think of new opportunities to solve problems within the healthcare system, and can also provide wider opportunities for students after Mt. A with careers and education. This program also offers the opportunity to learn skills and knowledge to solve issues within the healthcare system in New Brunswick and Canada, such as senior care, social determinants of health, and healthcare shortages in New Brunswick.
In July of this year, Horizon Health reported that over 850 healthcare positions in the province were vacant across long-term care homes and health networks. This has translated to a reduction in healthcare services, such as with Horizon Health’s recent announcement to restrict the Sackville Memorial Hospital’s emergency room hours to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week as of November 19.
Students with a BASc in Health Studies can pursue a science-based or arts-based path of study after Mt. A as well. The program allows students to take courses on the ethics and culture of healthcare but also provide an understanding of the scientific aspects to health, both of which can translate into a wide variety of careers.
The Health Studies program is not recommended for students looking for a pre-med degree. Lab-based Science programs, such as biochemistry, are recommended for those pursuing medical school after their undergraduate degree. The program is instead geared towards sectors such as policy and advocacy health work, healthcare professions, and public service.
Students currently studying at Mt. A who are interested in the program can speak with academic advisors about changing their area of study to an honours, major, or minor in Health Studies in Fall 2022.