UI requests termination of two health study programs

If approved by the state Board of Regents, the request would terminate the master’s of science in health policy and the bachelor of arts in health and human physiology.

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Hayden Froehlich

The Old Capital building is seen on Nov. 19, 2019.

Grace Katzer, News Reporter

The University of Iowa is seeking approval from the state Board of Regents to terminate the Master of Science in health policy and a Bachelor of Arts in health and human physiology.

The health and human physiology Bachelor of Arts is the second-largest area of study in the UI’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with 950 students enrolled in the program in fall of 2022, according to a university report which will be presented to the regents on Wednesday.

Current students enrolled in the program must choose between three separate tracks to study: exercise science, where they can earn a Bachelor of Science degree, health promotion, where they can earn a Bachelor of Science degree, and health studies where they can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree

The regents approved of the proposal to offer each of the tracks as standalone majors at its June 1 meeting. If the health and human physiology Bachelor of Arts is terminated, students in the program will be transferred to a chosen new major and will not impact course work.

“The creation of these new majors allows students to graduate with a degree that is reflective of their coursework in STEM (Exercise Science and Health Promotion), while allowing flexibility for those interested in health determinants and preventive and clinical health delivery (Health Studies),” the report stated.

Additionally, the report noted there will be little to no impact on current students, university resources, or the workforce. The termination will be in effect if approved by the regents.

Along with the Bachelor of Arts in health and human physiology, the UI is also requesting to terminate the Master of Science in health science degree. The program termination would be effective in January 2023.

The Master of Science in health policy currently has one student enrolled in the program, providing an incentive for the university to remove the area of study, according to the termination request.

“The justifications for closure are related to recent external and internal reviews of the department,” the report states.  “Reviewers noted the very low enrollment in the MS in Health Policy program, attributed in part to a lack of differentiation from the college’s existing Master of Public Health in Policy degree.”

There are currently no other Master of Science health policy programs in Iowa. According to the report, the five students graduated from the program between 2015-2020. The only student currently enrolled in the program is expected to graduate with their Master of Science in December 2022.

Upon termination of the program, students interested in health policy will be directed to the master’s of public health in policy and the new Master of Science in health services and policy research degrees offered at the university.

The requests will go to the regents for approval at its meeting on Wednesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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