Northeast To Add Several New Health and Wellness Programs

by jamesc  7/11/2014 9:28:37 AM --  NORFOLK – Northeast Community College will add several new programs and concentrations through its health and wellness division beginning this fall. The new programs include an expansion in the health and wellness transfer concentrations of athletic training – associate of science degree (AS); exercise science (AS); pre-dietetics (AS); and physical education teacher – associate of arts degree.


Michele Gill, dean of health and wellness, said the core courses for these concentration areas include: weight management, community health, first aid and CPR for the healthcare provider, medical terminology, and Intro to Physical Education. “This set of core courses are designed to help form foundational knowledge that can be applied in any of the four concentrations we offer.”

Athletic Training will allow students wishing to pursue a career in athletic training an option to complete courses that will give them an orientation to the field, while Exercise Science will assist students in obtaining skills for careers in the fitness industry. Pre-Dietetics will give students an orientation and skills necessary to complete pre-requisite educational work, and Physical Education Teacher Education will provide learning techniques of classroom management and skill development for instruction in physical education. After earning associate degrees, students may transfer to another institution to obtain bachelor’s degrees.

Amy Ries, wellness and aerobics instructor, said health, physical education, and recreation (HPER) students have been expressing an interest in these areas of concentration over the last few years. “After hearing directly from our students that they value the small classroom experience, affordability, and quality instruction, Northeast Community College has added these areas of concentration within our HPER department to better prepare our students as they further their education at a transfer institution.” 

“Northeast is providing hands-on experience early in their coursework,” said Stefanie Mundil, student health wellness instructor. “For example, students within the exercise science concentration will be instructing group exercise classes and provide personal training on an individual basis, benefitting both the student and the college.  Students within the physical education teacher education concentration will be observing teachers of elementary aged students to gather valuable classroom experience.” 

Mundil said, “Northeast is providing a science-based curriculum and is filling the need for students who want to pursue degrees in dietetics, athletic training and exercise science, enabling them to complete coursework close to home that they otherwise would have to take at a four year institution.” 

Another new option under Northeast’s Health and Wellness Division is an associate of applied science degree in Health Information Management Systems (HIMS).

It is a unique field of study in healthcare that involves many parts and pieces, according to Tina Mazuch, medical administrative assistant instructor. “The HIMS student will gain knowledge in medical and procedural coding, clinical area, information technology, law and ethics, and management. They will also gain experience in working with the emerging electronic health record standards, learn how to select and apply the appropriate medical and procedural codes to each patient case and ensure that quality healthcare data is available,” she said. “HIMS is a growing profession as there are changes to electronic health records and coding classifications. The position is critical to ensure that each patient’s record is complete and accurate.” 

The HIMS program will prepare the student for the nationally known Registered Health Information Technology (RHIT) examination upon graduation. By having this credential, a student is demonstrating his or her proficiency and broad base knowledge in the Health Information Management field. 

Mazuch said the HIMS profession continues to place quality first through actively managing quality information for patient care and addressing many emerging national issues, including adopting and implementing electronic health records (EHRs), the ICD-10 transition, and health information exchange (HIE) among others. 

She said a student will take classes that will help them become knowledgeable in healthcare and healthcare data. “Students in this program will learn about healthcare delivery and healthcare procedures, but will typically not have direct contact with the patient. The HIMS professional will read and interpret the patient’s medical record to determine the correct medical code to apply to that encounter.”

Mazuch said HIMS professionals have a unique responsibility to put all of the healthcare parts and pieces together to ensure a complete patient record. All aspects of the HIMS program include not only the courses taken but each and every HIMS professional as they become involved in this changing profession.

Gill said it is exciting for Northeast and the Health and Wellness Division to be able to offer these new programs and concentrations. “Bringing new programs and coursework which allow students to purse areas of interest and develop skills is what we do.  Our faculty is top notch and ready to help students learn.  All of our new concentrations and our HIMS program are growing in the industry and are areas of student interest with job opportunities,” Gill said.  “As students become interested in these new offerings, we encourage a phone call or campus visit to develop an individualized program that works for them.”


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