AHS to Launch First-of-Its-Kind Degree
Pending the approval of the Illinois Board of Higher Education in December, AHS will welcome its first cohort of students into the new Master of Science in Health Technology (MS-HT) degree program in the fall of 2020.
The degree, designed to advance applied health technology design and implementation, resulted from an “Investment for Growth” proposal submitted to the campus by AHS and the Grainger College of Engineering. It fills a void in the development of a workforce in the increasingly important areas of health technology and human factors, which addresses such issues as ergonomics, product design, and human-computer interaction.
Dr. Wendy Rogers, Khan Professor of Applied Health Sciences, will serve as director of the Health Technology Education Program. Dr. Nicole Holtzclaw-Stone will serve as Assistant Director.
At the first meeting of the MS-HT advisory board, Dr. Rogers shared findings of comprehensive research conducted by Illinois Business Consulting (IBC) and a survey she and Dr. Holtzclaw-Stone developed to assess the need and interest for such a program.
“Through surveys, focus groups, and cold calls to industry, IBC found that there are no existing master’s programs in health technology, either within the United States or internationally,” Dr. Rogers said. “Moreover, interest in this degree is high at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In our survey of 65 industry experts in health technology, 92 percent said the degree would be valuable.” That same survey revealed that 65 percent of respondents thought it was likely that their organization would be interested in hiring the program’s graduates. One industry respondent summed it up by saying, “There is a dire need for this unique program in the healthcare industry.”
While housed in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, the MS-HT is a collaborative effort with the Grainger College of Engineering, primarily the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering. Other collaborating departments in engineering include Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bioengineering, and Computer Science, as well as the Departments of Speech and Hearing Science and Recreation, Sport and Tourism in AHS.