Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees voted earlier this month to approve a new Health Sciences degree program.
The program, which will offer an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree, must first be approved by the State University of New York and the New York State Education Department. If approvals are received as expected, the College will launch the new degree program in fall 2014.
The program will help students prepare for careers in established and emerging health care fields, such as unit coordinators in health care institutions, members of lab staffs, geriatric specialists, health assistants and wellness educators, health interpreters, medical records administrators, and dozens of other fields, according to Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, dean of Math, Science and Career Education, who helped shape the proposal for the new program.
The program is primarily designed as a transfer program, and students earning degrees will have the opportunity to complete two years of baccalaureate study at other colleges and universities. A number of colleges and universities in Upstate New York offer bachelor's degrees in the health sciences and wellness fields, and Genesee anticipates establishing transfer agreements with at least several of these colleges.
"Thousands of jobs in health sciences fields will be created in Western and Central New York in the years ahead," Alicea-Maldonado said. "An aging population, an increased focus on health and wellness in industry and new medical technology will all spur job growth.
"Even more significantly, the new federal Affordable Care Health Care Act will extend health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans in 2014 and the demand for allied health professionals who can help consumers prevent disease and manage a more complex health care system will be intense."
Courses in the new program will include a variety of biology and chemistry courses, Gerontology, Responding to Emergencies, Statistics, Introduction to Developmental Disabilities, Developmental Psychology Across the Lifespan, General Psychology, Introductory Sociology and a variety of liberal arts courses.
Trustees were enthusiastic about the new program, citing their own observations about the need for memory care providers, eldercare specialists and other professionals in the region.
Genesee currently offers a Health Studies Certificate program, which can be completed in one year of full-time study. Graduates of the program sometimes enter another of Genesee's health care degree programs, or obtain work as patient assistants in hospitals and other health care institutions.
The new Health Sciences program will join Genesee Community College's other prestigious health care degree programs. The College offers degree programs in Nursing, Physical Therapist Assistant Studies, Respiratory Care, Polysomnographic Technology and Veterinary Technology. The College also offers degree programs in Human Services and Alcohol and Substance Abuse Studies.