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Health services students engage in real world opportunities

When NDSU health services students placed Public Health 101 in their class schedules, they had no idea how the world would change, offering them real world education in real time.

Andrea Huseth-Zosel and Stefanie Meyer co-teach the Introduction to Public Health course. The ongoing pandemic presented a distinct opportunity to learn about all the ways Covid-19 is impacting the population. The educators had switched to online instruction due to coronavirus.

“We started a journal for our students and each week have a different topic in which students will read a document or watch video about a current event and write or reflect on how the topic is impacted by Covid-19,” said Meyer.

Topics include health care bottlenecks and leverage points for behavior change; impact on public education; research and ethical practices; global responses; impact on vulnerable populations; and future of population health.

Rather than face-to-face instruction, Blackboard tools including YuJa, journals, surveys, and virtual meetings are used, according to Huseth-Zosel.

“Having weekly modules with student touch-points is the approach we are using. Content is more about short videos, current events, document review than about lectures,” said Meyer. “During times of emergency, it is important to acknowledge the evidence and understand the facts as well as process the emotional response.”

“The new approach to learning is what’s best for the safety of the students and faculty,” said Nicole Miller, a senior majoring in health services at NDSU. “I am very fortunate to be in this class during the Covid-19 pandemic, so I can be educated on what public health is and understand how it’s connected with everything going on today.”

Sophomore Andrew Rosson misses the in-person exchange of classes on campus, but he has adapted along with all 40 undergraduate students in the class.

“There hasn't been a more applicable time to be in a class about public health,” said Rosson, who is majoring in health services. “We are learning very valuable information in real time, and while it's exciting, it's also very real. My motivation to work in the healthcare industry has grown exponentially throughout these times and in this class.”

The Bachelor of Sciences in Health Services is a degree offered by the NDSU College of Health Professions that includes a mix of academic and technical training to meet the needs of regional healthcare employers. The degree has broad requirements and allows students tremendous flexibility to tailor their plan of study to meet their unique career interests. An undergraduate minor in public health is also offered.

In addition, NDSU offers a Master of Public Health degree, with specializations available in management of infectious diseases, epidemiology, food safety, and community health sciences. There also are accelerated master’s degree options available in dietetics, emergency management and microbiology.

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North Dakota State University
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