New NSU Classes Promise to Address Diversity Issues in Healthcare

NORFOLK, Virginia (WAVY) – Norfolk State University has a new healthcare class in the fall semester, but it’s different.

The program combines healthcare learning with data and information technology to improve the health care sector.

The inspiration for this program came from a hole in the medical field that was uncovered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSU Allied Health Program Director Dr. Marie St. Rose said low employment and lack of diversity in the industry were just some of the problems.

She said this new program will help solve that.

“A diverse workforce certainly increases health equity and improves health outcomes, and we also have a diverse workforce that provides input and insight,” St. Rose said. ”

This course was funded in 2021 from $5 million in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.

There are 110 places available for Fall 2023 and Fall 2024, and 57 students have enrolled in this course this year. This is a 33 unit online course including his 6 units of internship.

“The Virginia Department of Health and the Hampton Roads Community Center … they help us with our internships, and they also help our students find jobs after they complete and graduate,” she said.

Graduate student Hope Strachan enrolled in the class.

A nurse herself, she said diversity in healthcare has long been an issue.

But she believes the technology aspect of this curriculum can help solve that.

“If you don’t have systems in place to streamline the process so that everyone receives information, how do you deal with that,” Strachan said.

She praised the online format, saying it helps create even more diversity.

“Different states around the world, we will be able to unite,” Strachan said. “…we need the technical side to connect and collaborate.”

Funding for this program from the Department of Health and Human Services will only be supported through September 2025.

But St. Rose said Norfolk State University will continue to run the course after that.

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