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Care, health and society major creates new opportunities

Courtesy+of+UA+NewsThe+UAs+care%2C+health%2C+and+society+major+in+the+School+of+Sociology+emphasizes+skills+needed+across+the+helping+professions%2C+such+as+teaching%2C+medicine%2C+nursing%2C+counseling+and+teaching.+The+new+major+focuses+on+health+as+a+social+problem.

Courtesy of UA News

The UA’s care, health, and society major in the School of Sociology emphasizes skills needed across the helping professions, such as teaching, medicine, nursing, counseling and teaching. The new major focuses on health as a social problem.

Care, health and society is a recently added major at the UA that gives students an introduction to careers that deal with taking care of people.

Louise Roth, director of undergraduate studies for the School of Sociology, said the program was designed for students who were interested in pursuing nursing and other fields, like social work or physical therapy.

Sarah Mason, a sophomore studying care, health and society, said she chose the new major because she knew she wanted to have a career in the health field but had not yet decided which area of the field she wants to focus on.

“Choosing this major allowed me to really explore all of the options there are within the health field,” Mason said.

Terrence Hill, care, health and society program director, said one of the requirements to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in care, health and society is the completion of a semester-long internship, and Mason said this is one of her favorite components of the major.

“During that [internship] experience, they can acquire some skills that have to do with delivering health care or solving a problem in the community,” Hill said.

Hill said the program is about addressing health as a major social problem that has social consequences, and that this is something that makes the program unique.

“Our instructors are multidisciplinary,” Hill said. “We currently have nurses, social workers, philosophers and physiologists teaching our core courses. We want to give our students diverse perspectives on health to always have as a background.”

Hill said the program is now widely recognized because it’s hard to deliver services to diverse populations without understanding culture and social structure. Hill also said society no longer approaches health from a purely biological or medical standpoint.

“If you look at the new requirements for pre-med, they now include courses in social science,” Hill said.

The program classes are designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of issues, Hill said, so when they actually start delivering care or trying to solve health problems at a population level, they will have an idea of what the societal, cultural and social structures are.

“In classes, we don’t provide any real skills like the nursing department will provide,” Hill said, “but we provide this intellectual tool kit and this background in social analysis and cultural analysis that will help students to be more effective when they go on to graduate studies in public health or social work, or go on to medical school.”

The required courses for the care, health and society major are a combination of courses from various fields of study.

“The major draws some of its core courses from the sciences, as well as having some core courses in sociology, like Intro to [the Helping] Professions and Interprofessional Care, which is a course on how these different professions are related to each other and how they interact with each other,” Roth said.

Hill said that although this is a new major at the UA, other schools have similar degree options.

“Our program is part of a broader movement in academia in the country to look at health in a more comprehensive way,” Hill said.

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Follow Brandi Walker on Twitter.

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