Indiana State to offer Doctorate of Health Sciences degree

October 22, 2012

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has approved a first-of-its-kind program at Indiana State University to train health care educators.

The commission on Friday gave Indiana State's College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services the go ahead to offer a Doctorate of Health Sciences degree (D.H. Sc.). No Indiana college or university currently offers such a degree.

"As with all of our programs, the Doctorate of Health Sciences will be distinguished by an interdisciplinary approach," said Richard "Biff" Williams, dean of the college. "This program will attract working health care providers from a variety of specialties who want a terminal degree in order to teach or conduct research at higher learning institutions or to advance their careers."

Eliezer Bermúdez, associate professor and chair of Indiana State's department of applied health sciences, said the program "will prepare graduates to develop and implement solutions to the health issues of our society. They will solve problems creatively, utilizing advanced technologies, basic principles of ethics and cultural sensitivity to address state, national and global health problems."

The program's interdisciplinary approach builds on the strength of existing Indiana State course offerings and will use a cohort approach to advance student support and interaction with faculty and mentors, Bermúdez said.

"Bringing together a mix of health professionals with diverse backgrounds will broaden the knowledge of all and continue to promote existing collaboration among health professionals," he said. "Graduates of the new Doctor in Health Sciences program will have the evidence-based practice and leadership to be change agents in any agency and/or community. They will look at new and better ways to create health care delivery systems."

Jack Maynard, Indiana State's provost and vice president for academic affairs, said doctors in health sciences are in demand in every state and the new program is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at addressing a growing need for health care professionals. He said the program will play a crucial role in filling a need for educators to help produce the next generation of front-line health care providers.

"In recent years, with new leadership, Indiana State has entered into a new phase of carefully planned expansion to address market needs while reflecting our institutional mission, student interest and faculty support," Maynard said. "The benefits of additional doctors of health sciences will not only address a state and nationwide educator workforce shortage, it will also enhance the university's abilities in teaching, research and service."

University officials expect the 66-credit hour program to be ready to enroll students beginning in the fall semester of 2013.

Contact: Eliezer Bermúdez, Chair, department of applied health sciences, 812-237-3079 or eliezer.bermudez@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu