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October 2, 2006

BSHS program receives final approval

Thursday’s final vote of approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents Academic & Student Affairs Committee gives ULM permission to begin offering classes in its new major, the Bachelor of Science in Health Studies. BSHS classes will begin in the spring.

Jessica Dolecheck, who has taught in the Occupational Therapy program at ULM for the past 11 years, developed the BSHS program. She collaborated with off-campus consultants (LSU Health Sciences) together with ULM faculty in management, marketing, pharmacy and other allied health programs.

"ULM is recognized as a major provider of health science professionals. The multi-option BSHS degree fulfills ULM’s mission as well as provides varied opportunities for students," she said.

Thirty percent of students admitted to ULM between the fall of 1999 and spring of 2004 majored in a health science field. The BSHS degree provides an additional avenue for those who desire to enter health professional programs; no other universities in Louisiana offer a pre-professional option with sequenced health science coursework.

The BSHS will offer two major options for students. Pre-Professional Health Studies is an option for those students who plan to seek admission to occupational therapy and physical therapy schools. Healthcare Management/Marketing is another option that can be used as a terminal degree while still allowing students to find mid-level managerial employment in healthcare.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that education and health services will be the fastest growth industry in the country between 2004 and 2014, accounting for 4.3 million (approximately 3 out of every 10) new jobs. Employment of medical and health services administrators and healthcare professionals such as physicians and surgeons is expected to see faster than average growth as the healthcare industry expands and diversifies.

Healthcare within Louisiana is expected to follow this trend. The Louisiana Department of Labor estimates that nearly 30,000 health services positions will need to be filled within the state during the decade ending 2010.

Administered by the Department of Health Studies and housed in the ULM College of Health Sciences, the BSHS program will answer existing and future healthcare needs, Dolecheck said. The BSHS degree provides a multitude of opportunities for students.

"Current market research indicates that graduates with a health sciences degree have excellent job prospects as managers and leaders in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and health care foundations, healthcare research, and health/fitness organizations."

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