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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES PREPARE WORKFORCE FOR HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

12/16/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

According to the Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi's health care industry is primed for continued growth and success. A key ingredient in that growth and success is having a workforce ready and prepared to serve our patients. Mississippi Public Universities prepare graduates to work in all facets of the healthcare industry.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is the state's only academic health science center and includes seven health science schools: medicine, nursing, dentistry, health related professions, graduate studies, population health and pharmacy (The School of Pharmacy is headquartered on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford). The Medical Center's tri-fold mission is to improve the lives of Mississippians by educating tomorrow's health-care professionals, conducting health sciences research, and providing cutting-edge patient care.

The University of Southern Mississippi's (USM) College of Nursing and Health Professions offers an array of educational opportunities for students interested in careers in nursing and health care. Through the School of Health Professions, the School of Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice, the School of Professional Nursing Practice and the School of Speech and Hearing Sciences, USM offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in the fields of nursing, audiology, speech pathology, public health, athletic training, recreational therapy and kinesiotherapy. USM is also home to the only nurse anesthesia program in Mississippi.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked USM's Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice among top programs in the country based on factors such as research activity, student-faculty ratio, faculty credentials and number of faculty active in nursing practice. USM was also ranked No. 59 for the nation's best online graduate nursing program.

Delta State University's Robert E. Smith School of Nursing provides the Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree for students to begin a career as a registered nurse. At this foundational level, the nurse is knowledgeable in delivering patient care, serving some leadership/management roles, gathering data, and improving quality of care through evidence-based practice.

For registered nurses who want to advance their career and change their role, the Master of Science in nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees offer opportunities to be a practitioner, educator, and/or administrator.

Classrooms include a variety of mannequins, including those with abdominal/heart/lung sounds, wounds, and nursing care applicability. Classrooms also contain many other high-tech and interactive capabilities. All these tools reinforce the nursing school's mission "to transform healthcare in the Mississippi Delta and beyond."

Jackson State University's School of Public Health (SPH) is the only program of its kind in the state to earn accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

SPH, which now designates itself as the "Mississippi School of Public Health@JSU," will help increase life expectancy and the public's well-being. The School of Public Health positions Jackson State University as a national leader in conversations on addressing the health concerns of the underserved, keeping food and water supply safe, preventing outbreak of infectious diseases, and eliminating health disparities.

"Such accreditation means that the JSU SPH has voluntarily held itself to a set of quality standards and will continue to do so," said Dr. Mohammad Shahbazi, Interim Dean of the School of Public Health. "It means the school will continue to attract the brightest and best students and researchers. Prospective students can feel confident knowing that JSU SPH has received the stamp of approval from the only accrediting body of public health schools and programs in the world. It also means that employers of our students can feel confident about our graduates' knowledge and skills. They are well prepared to enter the workplace and take on challenges as leaders to prevent diseases and promote and protect the health of people they will be charged to serve."

Mississippi needs more medical professionals. Currently, there are 52.8 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, the lowest number in any U.S. state. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University prepares students to become medical professionals. A biochemistry degree is ranked as one of the best for medical school preparation, with pre-professional programs offered in medicine, dental, optometry, and pharmacy. The Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion provides students with opportunities in pre-health, nutrition and dietetics, and food science. Post-graduate work is available through the Dietetic Internship, Certificate program in Clinical Health Promotion and Wellness Coaching, and the online Health Promotion program.

The Dietetic Internship (DI) program offered in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion at Mississippi State University is a post-baccalaureate program designed to prepare interns for rewarding careers. Interns complete the requirements for the DI and 9 hours of graduate credit within 11 months. The program provides 1,200 hours of supervised practice experience in various clinical, research, food service management, community nutrition, and nutrition education settings. Upon completion of the internship, graduates are prepared for the Registered Dietitian examination, as well as entry-level practice in health care, community health, food service, sports nutrition, and other careers.

Mississippi State University also offers a master's degree program and a Certificate program in Clinical Health Promotion and Wellness Coaching to prepare students for rewarding careers teaching behaviors that promote wellness and developing and implementing strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual wage for health educators was $53,940 in May 2017. Employment of health educators is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Health Promotion graduates find employment in corporations, hospitals and other health care settings, government agencies and other public policy organizations, and volunteer organizations.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Program, in partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the UMMC/Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute, offers the Junior Master Wellness Program for teens ages 14-18. They receive training in a wide variety of health topics, increase their leadership and team-building skills, gain important job skills and knowledge career choices, and provide community service through health fairs and local outreach events. The JMW program serves as a tool for sharing health messages in Mississippi communities while enhancing students' classroom and lab experiences and increasing their workforce readiness in the healthcare sector.

The Rural Medical and Science Scholars program helps rising high school seniors evaluate health-related careers and shapes students' understanding of health-related disciplines and STEM fields. RMSS aims to ensure a strong and passionate workforce to improve Mississippi's economy and increase healthcare access. Scholars spend four summer weeks at Mississippi State University. They take two college-level courses, shadow physicians, dentists, and other health care professionals; tour a major medical facility; and attend practical workshops, including a study skills and communication/critical thinking workshop. RMSS is a program of the MSU Extension Service and MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion.

In recent decades, much has been learned about the relationship between animal and human health, or One Health, as it has come to be known. Veterinarians in this area of medicine serve as the first line of defense from zoonotic disease. Mississippi State University graduates with the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree excel in their careers, whether that path leads to a small-town practice, research laboratory, public health agency, or an international program. Our faculty are national and international leaders in their fields and are committed to providing excellent veterinary education, advancing research in veterinary medicine and biomedical fields and serving the community through cutting-edge diagnostics, clinical care, and shared learning.

Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine is the third college of veterinary medicine in the United States to offer a four-year bachelor's degree program in Veterinary Medical Technology (VMT). Nationwide, there are fewer than 20 four-year veterinary technology programs. The VMT program prepares students for rewarding careers in food animal, equine, and small animal veterinary practices; public health organizations; federal and state regulatory agencies; animal industries; laboratory animal medicine; animal and biomedical research; zoo and wildlife practices; and animal rescues and shelters.

Mississippi University for Women's College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers several degree programs in nursing, public health, kinesiology and speech language pathology, ranging from associate of science in nursing to Doctor of Nursing practice.

Mississippi University for Women's RN to BSN program has been consistently ranked as one of the top hybrid-online and campus-based classroom experiences in the nation. A program designed for the working nurse, it comes with the affordable flat-rate $10,000 tuition to complete the program.

Mississippi University for Women's RN-to-BSN program received a top ranking in "RegisteredNursing.org Best Online RN to BSN Programs" list and in "Study.com's Top BSN Schools" list. The W is ranked No. 6 in the nation on both lists. RegisteredNursing.org is a nursing advocacy organization and Study.com, a site to research potential schools, degrees, and careers.

Speech-language pathologists specialize in the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of human communication disorders. They work in a variety of professional settings, such as public and private schools, hospitals, universities, nursing homes, other health care facilities, and in private practice. They work with persons of all ages, from infancy to the elderly.

The Biology and Chemistry degree programs at Mississippi Valley State University meet all the course requirements for students to apply to nursing schools after their second year and medical, dental, optometry, physical and occupational therapy schools after graduation. Student are advised assisted with preparation for exams required to apply to these schools, including the MCAT, PCAT, and DAT. Faculty members also work with students to help them conduct shadowing hours and visit local schools and programs. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to conduct research and attend research internships. Each year, the department bring in guest speakers from various programs such as Chiropractics, University of the Uniformed Services and the Rural Physicians Program to share opportunities available to students.

The University of Mississippi recently established a biomedical engineering program. More than 100 students enrolled in its second year and three new full-time faculty positions have been added. The Dean of the School of Engineering holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering.

The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN), part of the University of Mississippi's School of Applied Sciences, is the only federally funded national center dedicated to applied research, education and training, and technical assistance for child nutrition programs. Also housed in the School of Applied Sciences, the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management prepares graduates to initiate and/or manage employee wellness programs in industrial settings.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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