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UTSC health programs evolve to meet student needs

UTSC’s Health Studies program has been redesigned, and recently launched additional streams. (Photo by Ken Jones).

UTSC’s popular Health Studies program has been redesigned, and recently launched additional streams to better meet the needs and interests of students.

“We’ve created a broader range of programs to attract students and train them for careers in health,” says Rick Halpern, UTSC’s Dean and Vice-Principal (Academic). “We also further integrated health into a number of departments across the campus and developed partnerships with both other divisions at the university and health care institutions in the community.”

Within Health Studies, students can now enroll in two newly approved streams: Health Policy (within the B.A. Health Studies), examining topics such as health systems, health management and bioethics; and Population Health (within the B.Sc. Health Studies),, which focuses on patterns of disease and health among groups of people.

Other offerings were developed in consultation with academic units across UTSC. Computer and Mathematical Sciences is now offering a stream in Health Informatics, focusing on the application of information technology to the health care sector, and the Department of Management has developed a Health Management stream, to train students in health care administration.

Students interested in health can also enroll in the Mental Health Studies program, offered by Psychology, or the Department of Biological Science’s Human Biology program.

“A very exciting step occurred last year when we hired a number of new faculty members in health studies,” says Halpern, noting that the size of the program requires not just additional faculty, but integrating faculty from other departments. “These new faculty will further refine the programs over the next few years.”

The expertise of the new faculty is wide-ranging but all have a strong interdisciplinary focus, says Halpern.

- Laura Bisaillon examines immigration and immigration medical policy, heath and social policy, global health, and health inequity.

- Andrea Charise combines her work in English and medical sciences to study the literary portrayals of youth, older age, and intergenerational conflicts.

- Health economist Michelle Silver is currently researching the relationships between work, retirement, health and well-being.

“The health sector is growing and becoming more in tune with alternate ways of thinking; it’s science connected to social science,” Halpern says. “We’re offering students a holistic view of health and society in high-quality programs suited to their interests and aligned with their expectations of the job market.”


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