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Health programs planning update

Jan 17, 2019

Health care jobs are expected to continue to grow 18.1 percent between 2016-2026, and this growth is predicted to outpace growth in all other employment sectors. An estimated 11.6 million health care workers will be needed to fill new jobs and replace those retiring, translating to job opportunities for Pacific graduates. This landscape offers a Pacific an opportunity to leverage our reputation in health education to grow enrollments both in existing programs (where feasible) and by adding new health-related professional programs.   

In support of its strategic plan priority to build a health school, Pacific is moving forward with new health programs and developing an organizational structure to robustly support the students, the innovative pedagogy and the interdisciplinary opportunities inherent in these offerings.

  • Approved programs enrolling students:
    • Doctor of Audiology
    • Master of Physician Assistant Studies
    • Master of Science, Athletic Training
  • Approved programs not yet enrolling students:
    • Doctor of Occupational Therapy
  • Proposed programs:
    • Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition — opportunity to enter nutrition education as a leader in innovation. Pacific has applied to be a Demonstration Program for the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics Future Education Model. If approved, this would position Pacific as a leader in nutrition education innovations.
    • Master of Science in Nursing (Post-licensure) — this program would help Pacific meet the need for well-educated professional nurses in the increasingly complex health care of the future.
    • Master of Social Work — large demand statewide, with need especially high in our region. Employers are asking for our support to build a health care workforce in this area.
    • Undergraduate 'Health Studies' — An interdisciplinary health studies degree program would provide a diverse course of study involving the humanities, social sciences and the arts; and in so doing, balances intellectual exploration with the development of marketable career skills in non-clinical roles. The degree program would be housed in the College of the Pacific. 

Developing these new programs at similar times and housing them administratively in one place will allow for intentional curricular development to maximize student opportunities to work in interprofessional teams. Simulated clinical environments and integrated didactic curricula will provide unique perspectives for the students across the disciplines and lead to more cohesive learning and curricular efficiencies. It will also allow for the support for these programs to be centralized and these shared resources will provide a strong foundation for the student experience.

Planning history:

  • Pacific 2020
    • Expand and add new health programs.
    • Pursue new student markets building on the strengths of Pacific and prepare students for tomorrow's careers.
  • Academic Plan
    • Build an academic portfolio of new and existing programs that is financially sustainable.
    • Be an educational leader in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment.
  • Pacific Health Initiatives
    • University-wide dialogue regarding health opportunities.
  • Pacific 2020R
    • Theme II — Agile and Dynamic Growth, Priority 2: Establish an innovative school of health.

The proposed health school:

  • Will be home to an estimated 800+ students when all current and proposed programs are fully enrolled.
  • Will increase the potential for coordinated fundraising efforts for individual academic programs and school naming.
  • Will ensure equitable governance and decision-making by collaboration and shared governance among similar-sized programs.
  • Will be an integrative and efficient organizational structure in which the school is greater than the sum of its parts.
o Expectations for, support of, and engagement in curricular, instructional and experiential innovation.
o Provides exemplary integrative inter-professional student experiences through synergistic academic and co-curricular programs.
o Strong affinity/identity of students and faculty for a health school where students learn and experience together.
o Hub for health-related interdisciplinary programming within and across Pacific's schools/colleges and student experiences.


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