The Health, Society, and Populations (HSP) B.A. degree provides graduates with a broad liberal-arts education, in addition to a concentration on social science based approaches to understanding health outcomes. HSP students will obtain the fundamental knowledge required to understand the relationships that exist between the global economy, social and structural inequalities, and the distribution of health and illness. The program develops the critical thinking, communication, and independent study skills necessary for students to pursue careers in health and human services that are currently in high demand as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports “The health care and social assistance sector will account for almost a third of the projected job growth from 2012 to 2022”
An HSP degree prepares students for career opportunities in city, state and federal government, nonprofit organizations, and in the public and private health sectors. Employment web sites such as www.publichealthjobs.net post entry-level positions that would be appropriate for HSP graduates. The majority of these positions specify a Bachelor’s in public health, social science, or another health-related degree. Examples of job include:
· Health advocacy – Health advocates are unlicensed professionals that engage in education, public outreach, community organizing, and other activities that promote the health of individuals and populations.
· Case management – Case managers are patient advocates who serve as a liaison between patients, families, doctors, and social services organizations; individuals with degrees in social sciences have been part of case management teams for some time, e.g., to assist in assessing structural and social challenges to health, local interpretations of health, the social organization of clinical interactions, etc.
· Health counseling – HSP majors will be qualified for entry-level health counseling positions that do not require licensing, such as those with non-profit or community-based organizations. Health counselors provide support, guidance, and information to assist clients in overcoming emotional, socioeconomic and other types of hardships. They may work with children, families, mental health patients, substance abusers or prisoners.
· Health marketing and communications – Health marketing and communications professionals create and use products or programs to promote health changes in individuals and communities. They use social marketing to define problems, identify target audiences, select communication channels, and develop and implement communication strategies.
· Program development and evaluation – The HSP degree will qualify graduates to work with program developers, who oversee the design of health programs based on assessments of population health needs. They may also assist in writing proposals for program funding from government agencies or private donors and/or work as members of evaluation teams to collect, analyze, and present information in all sectors of government and in for-profit and non-profit agencies.
· Project management – Project managers work in many settings, including universities, research institutes, and for-profit and non-profit organizations. Project managers coordinate the overall and day-to-day tasks associated with implementation of one or more research projects or programs, such as mailing surveys, coordinating data collection or data entry, and preparing project materials for review and/or dissemination.
· Research analysis – Research analysts may work in universities, research institutes, government agencies, and in for-profit and non-profit organizations. Research analysts are responsible for analyzing and reporting data to monitor population health trends to those who make policy decisions and/or for purposes of informing the general public.
· Graduate School in a Health Related Field – HSP majors are prepared to enter graduate school both in the social sciences (e.g., medical anthropology, medical geography, or medical sociology) as well as professional health fields (e.g., nursing, medicine, pharmacy, public health). Additional coursework may be required for admission to some professional health fields (e.g., medicine).