New degree program promotes community health

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Hunter Wallace
News Editor

Beginning this fall, students at Hudson Valley can enroll in one of two new programs in Community Health Navigation.

The college’s new Community Health Navigation degree and certificate programs were created with the goal of changing community outreach and lowering overall health care costs.

“Community health navigators educate, motivate and empower their clients, as they work with patients and providers to connect others with services and provide support for those having difficulty navigating the healthcare system,” said Patricia Hyland, chair of Hudson Valley’s Cardiorespiratory and Emergency Medicine Department, in an email interview.

“Both the Alliance for Better Health Care and Better Health for Northeast NY (BHNNY) have elaborated the need for qualified trained community health navigators,” she said.

Students that enroll in one of these two programs can expect to complete lecture-style courses, coupled with an internship during their last semester that provides a hands-on application of what they have learned.

Upon completion of these two programs, students will possess both the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for future endeavors.

“Graduates will possess a broad base of knowledge that spans health care, community health, health insurance, human services, health literacy and chronic diseases, and they will also have critical skills that will enable them to be advocates for the population they serve,” said Hyland.

“Ultimately, students will have a deep understanding of community health and the overall health system, meaning that their clients can gain appropriate health resources, reduce the possibility of being hospitalized and improve their quality of life,” she said.
Students that complete these programs may find work in hospitals, insurance companies, community organizations and physician practices.

Additionally, those who choose to continue their education after Hudson Valley can transfer to bachelor’s programs in Health Care Management at Maria College, Public Health or Healthcare Administration at Excelsior College or Social Welfare at SUNY Albany. Additional agreements with SUNY Potsdam and Empire State College are also being negotiated.

It is predicted that this field of work will continue to grow.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job market for this field will continue to grow at the faster-than-average rate of 13 percent from 2014-2024, with an anticipated growth of approximately 15,600 jobs over that time,” said Hyland.
Hyland believes that these new programs will benefit the students, clients and the overall field of health care itself.

“I believe that, since HVCC will be the first to offer these certificate and degree programs in NYS, it will make a significant difference in the future of patients and the health care system,” said Hyland. “I believe that the public and our community of interest will be very appreciative of our efforts and so our public image should be enhanced,” she said.

Both programs are offered through the college’s Cardiorespiratory and Emergency Medicine Department. For more information, contact the department by phone at (518) 629-7454, by email, via department chairperson, at p.hyland@hvcc.edu or in person at 400 Jordan Road, Suite B (Second Floor).

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