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New health track meets rising demand

Becky Garner

The College of Nursing and Health Innovation is launching an undergraduate track in public health this fall to address rising demand for health care professionals grounded in wellness, disease, and injury prevention.

Initially, students who successfully complete the 40-hour track will earn bachelor's degrees in exercise science with an emphasis in public health. The College plans to seek approval from The University of Texas System and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board during the 2016-17 school year for a stand-alone bachelor's degree in public health.

Becky Garner, a clinical assistant professor of kinesiology who is coordinating the public health program, says the field merges individual health, community health, wellness, and prevention.

"This focus is important, especially considering the current climate in our society, which is leaning toward more emphasis on prevention of chronic diseases," she says.

The major also will have an urban focus, with students gaining real-world experience through community partnerships and collaborations across North Texas.

"The program addresses two overarching themes," Dr. Garner says. "One is to train a diverse and competent public health workforce, and the other is to enable all undergraduate students to develop an appreciation for population health."

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