Regents Approve New Health-Related Programs, Minor


2013_Health and Wellness FairCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 6, 2014 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved two new academic programs and a minor in health-related disciplines.

The new programs are a Bachelor of Science in health communication, a Bachelor of Science in health sciences and a minor in communication for health professionals. This is the first set of programs to be advanced by the Academic Visionary Committee, said Dr. Bill Eddleman, Southeast provost.

Southeast established the Academic Visioning Committee as a result of the Southeast in the Year 2020 plan. The committee was charged with seeking out possible academic and instructional programs and centers of excellence based on emerging trends, issues and opportunities. More than 40 ideas emerged from a campus-wide call for proposals, including the new programs and minor approved by the Board today.

Eddleman said the Academic Visionary Committee advanced these initiatives because of the growing health care field and to bring Southeast’s health programs together. The committee, he said, recognized the need for these programs, realizing they could take advantage of Cape Girardeau being a medical hub and the possibilities for internship and employment opportunities for students.

“The programs are designed with input from local health care professionals and are in new and developing fields of study,” Eddleman said.

Bachelor of Science in Health Communication

 The Bachelor of Science in health communication, to be housed in the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Liberal Arts, will prepare students for careers in health, an area of robust growth both nationally and regionally. Eddleman says this program will provide an area of study for students who wish to pursue a career in the health field and use a different skill set than traditional medical roles, such as doctors and nurses, to help people. He says this degree program may prepare students to become healthcare navigators, patient advocates, health educators and health campaign directors as the baby boomer population ages, the Affordable Care Act continues to be implemented and a renewed emphasis is placed on wellness and preventative care.

“This major’s core communication classes will provide students with a theoretical knowledge base, as well as practical skills for a career in health,” he said. “The other courses offered within this interdisciplinary degree can appeal to students interested in a variety of areas in the healthcare arena and help them to adapt to different career opportunities.”

The Bachelor of Science in health communication may be beneficial to local hospital employees who are looking to advance their careers but cannot do so until they obtain a bachelor’s degree. The program also may be an excellent option for part-time students, Eddleman said.

“This program fills a void in our region,” he said. “The only university in Missouri to specifically offer health communication as a track for its communication studies degree is Missouri State. No other university in the region offers the multidisciplinary options our Bachelor of Science in health communication will have.”

No new resources are required to develop this program, Eddleman said.


Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences

 The Bachelor of Science in health sciences will be housed in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation in the College of Health and Human Services. This degree is for students wishing to pursue graduate education in physical or occupational therapy, Eddleman said. The degree program has two options – pre-physical/occupational therapy and general health sciences.

“The fall back for students in the pre-physical/occupational therapy option and some students in the pre-medicine program who will likely not gain admission to medical school is the general health sciences option,” Eddleman said. “Students who complete this option will be well suited to work in medical laboratories conducting general lab work.”

This program will require students to maintain a 3.0 grade point average or they will be moved into the general health science option. This will allow the University to monitor program graduates’ matriculation into a professional school.

“For many prospective students, the success rate is of utmost importance,” he said.

This program will require no new additional laboratory or library resources, and no full-time faculty positions are required. The only required additional resources will be four to six hours of part-time faculty pay per year, Eddleman said.


Communication for Health Professionals Minor

The communication for health professionals minor will be located in the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.

This minor will provide students who plan to go into health professions the training in communication fundamentals that can be applied at an individual, family, professional, organization and societal level, Eddleman said. Students will develop tools and approaches to improve communication with patients/clients, colleagues, organizations and the public.

He said the training health care professionals get in effective communication skills is often relatively neglected, and errors are made because of communication problems between physicians and patients, and between physicians and nursing staff.

No new funding is needed to develop this minor, he said.

For more information on these new programs and minor, please contact the Office of Admissions at Southeast Missouri State University at (573) 651-2590 or