New degrees aim to prep next generation of health workers


December 10, 2013

Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions announced several new health degree programs aimed at providing students interested in medicine or health care with a well-rounded foundation. These new degrees complement a broad set of undergraduate and graduate degree offerings from ASU-related to health promotion, health care delivery and health management of people and populations.

Keith Lindor, the college’s dean and former dean of the Mayo Medical School, says the new curriculum was developed in response to the need for a different kind of health care delivery model and employees with enhanced skills within the system. Keith Lindor, MD Download Full Image

“Our health curriculum at ASU emphasizes critical thinking skills, an analytical approach to problem-solving and effective communication,” Lindor says. “These skills are becoming increasingly important in a complex field and global context.” 

Students who choose to study health-related disciplines at ASU will learn at a research-based university from expert faculty such as Victor Trastek, former CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. The College of Health Solutions, which is located on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, offers a rich and diverse set of clinical and research internships and other deeply embedded community-based opportunities, as well as practice of use-inspired research.

“Our convenient location and proximity to the state’s largest health care organizations give students a unique opportunity to apply their learning to real-world situations at some of the most-well known institutions in the world,” Lindor says.

ASU’s commitment to inclusiveness – one which welcomes all students with a desire to learn and achieve greatness – creates a student body with diverse perspectives. Not only do students come to ASU from different backgrounds, but they thrive in an interprofessional setting – one in which different disciplines work together and learn from each other to reach a common goal.

“Interprofessionalism is no longer a choice, it is a requirement,” Trastek says. “Successful students will learn how to work effectively in teams and leverage the skills and talents of one another, whether a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, technologist, behaviorist or rehabilitator. A degree in health from ASU will equip students to think and work differently.”

Students can enroll in the new degree programs now, for fall 2014. Visit chs.asu.edu to learn more.

ASU’s new bachelor’s degree in medical studies is for students who aspire to a professional career in health care. Curriculum was designed to meet the new Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) requirements that will include a focus on social sciences and humanities in addition to the hard sciences, effective 2015.  

Since the successful launch of its master’s degree in health care delivery in 2013, ASU’s College of Health Solutions has expanded its School for the Science of Health Care Delivery to include a new bachelor’s degree in health care delivery and a new bachelor’s degree in public health. ASU also announced it is hosting two new Master of Public Health degree programs in partnership with the University of Minnesota, ranked No. 8 in the nation for its public health programs.

New health degrees from ASU’s College of Health Solutions include:

• Bachelor of Science in Medical Studies

• Bachelor of Science in the Science of Health Care Delivery

• Bachelor of Science in Public Health

• Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Informatics

Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Health Promotion 

• Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, with a concentration in Food and Tourism Management

• Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology

• Master of Science in Exercise and Wellness, with a concentration in Healthy Aging

Master of Science in Obesity Prevention and Management

• Master of Public Health offered by the University of Minnesota, hosted by ASU

More information about each degree can be found at https://chs.asu.edu/new-degrees.

ASU center releases 10-year report on climate, urbanization, water in Phoenix


December 10, 2013

In anticipation of its 10-year anniversary, Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) has released a major new report, “Advancing Science in Support of Water Policy and Urban Climate Change Adaptation at Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City: A Synthesis of Interdisciplinary Research on Climate, Water, and Decision-Making Under Uncertainty.”

The report summarizes the center’s major achievements in research, education and community and institutional outreach since its founding in 2004. Download Full Image

Funded by the National Science Foundation and organized under ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, the center is focused on water sustainability, urban climate adaptation and decision-making under uncertainty. The center pursues research – in close collaboration with stakeholders – to create a more sustainable future.

Research and modeling efforts analyze interacting factors, such as population growth and economic development, climate change and variability, water supplies and demands, and governance to inform water management and other environmental decisions among diverse stakeholders.

This report was authored by co-investigators Kelli Larson, Dave White, Pat Gober, Craig Kirkwood, V. Kerry Smith, Margaret Nelson and Charles Redman, along with research professional Sally Wittlinger.

“This synthesis of DCDC findings was essential for us to back up and say, ‘What have we learned from it all, and where are we going next?’” says Kelli Larson, the report’s lead author and a co-principal investigator at the center.

Since its founding, DCDC participants have published over 340 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and supported 69 graduate students who have authored 18 doctoral dissertations and 17 master’s theses. In addition, more than 70 undergraduate students have been involved in the center's research through the Internship for Science-Practice Integration, the Community of Undergraduate Scholars program and other research assistantships.

“The most challenging and complex sustainability problems facing society today – like climate change – require a new approach to science,” says Dave White, center principal investigator and co-director. “We must combine interdisciplinary science within the university with meaningful stakeholder engagement. This ‘transdisciplinary’ approach is reflected in the report, which synthesizes DCDC’s most important findings across a diverse range of disciplines and identifies the most pressing new issues.”

The report recaps the history and role of the center within scientific and policy dialogue, and then plunges into the research results that have been produced over the years. A major theme is the challenge for cities to provide and maintain secure and reliable water supplies despite an uncertain future that will likely include warming temperatures, reduced precipitation and more extreme weather events, such as droughts, fires and floods.

“Key findings across DCDC research have revealed uneven spatial and social vulnerabilities to water scarcity and other risks, as well as inevitable tradeoffs and uncertainties in decision-making,” Larson says. “To cope with the complexities of environmental change, collaborations and social learning across different actors – such as scientists and policymakers, water managers and land-use planners – is essential for urban sustainability.”

The report covers topics ranging from climate models used to predict how climate change affects water supplies and demands to analyses on risk perceptions and policy attitudes regarding water resource sustainability. Center participants have also contributed substantially to the ASU portfolio of research into climate dynamics, including the potential for climate change scenarios to affect regional water resources, in addition to localized urban heat island effects, and especially their impact on water resources. This work has involved analyzing how urban land-use and land-cover patterns interact with climatic factors to affect water demands.

One of the signature products of the center, WaterSim, is described in detail in the report. WaterSim is a systems dynamics model used by researchers, educators and decision-makers to explore scenarios of climate change, population growth and how policy choices could alter water supply and demand in central Arizona.

Since its inception, DCDC has served as a type of “boundary organization” designed to bring together academic researchers with diverse stakeholders to ensure that science is not only credible, but also relevant for decision-making. In this role, the center has engaged with its partners through educational activities, including joint research projects and collaborative workshops. Many of these activities are highlighted throughout the report.

For more information on the Decision Center for a Desert City and its multi-disciplinary research and activities, visit http://dcdc.asu.edu/.