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Health and Wellness Studies joins Decker School of Nursing
October 19, 2011Tweet
Having the Decker School of Nursing serve as the new academic home to the Department of Health and Wellness Studies makes “perfect sense” to Dean Joyce Ferrario.
“It’s easy to see nursing as hospital-bound and taking care of sick people,” she said. “But there is a huge component of nursing that has to do with promoting health and wellness.”
Health and Wellness Studies officially became part of the Decker School of Nursing on July 1. Plans are now in the early stages for a health and wellness minor, along with a certificate program, said Lisa Hrehor, chair of the department.
“I was thrilled when I learned we would be coming to Decker,” Hrehor said. “It’s a nice fit.”
Formerly known as the Division of Health and Physical Education, the department restructured its curriculum in 2006 to provide an academic focus as opposed to a traditional sport-based program, Hrehor said. Wellness content was added to activity-based courses.
The department then received a new name, reported to the Provost’s Office and offered courses that help Binghamton University students fulfill their general education requirements. The nearly four-dozen courses serve about 4,000 students a year and examine a wide range of topics from nutrition and physical fitness to stress management and self-defense.
“We found that students are taking many more of our courses depending on which school they are from,” Hrehor said. “They are coming to us because they like what we have to offer.
“My vision for the program is not to be a teacher prep. I’m looking at a health promotion-type program. Students are wanting this and there is a need for this.”
Being under the Decker umbrella is beneficial to Health and Wellness Studies, she added.
“We’ve always known that we deliver quality content, but having a direct line of approval for our courses and additional colleagues who are closely related to our area brings a sense of credibility,” she said. “The fact that Decker is willing to develop some kind of joint minor with our courses and some of their courses speaks a lot about how they feel about us.”
Creating a minor is one short-term goal for the Decker-Health and Wellness Studies union. Both Hrehor and Ferrario said it could be in place by fall 2012. Another is incorporating health and wellness faculty – some of whom are Binghamton University alumni - into curriculum committees.
Long-term goals include a certificate program and graduate-level courses.
“We educate a large number of nurse practitioners,” Ferrario said. “Health promotion and wellness is a big component of what they need to be doing. To have some courses in specific techniques would be fantastic for nurse practitioner students. They are always asking for that kind of thing.”
Hrehor said health and wellness faculty members are “thrilled” with the transition and have even had a joint luncheon with their new colleagues in Decker.
The impact of being a part of Decker struck Hrehor when she worked with nursing faculty and students at the Red Cross evacuation shelter at the Events Center during the September flooding.
“It was a tremendous experience for me and my faculty to work side by side with some wonderful professionals,” she said. “They are top-notch. I was amazed to see students step up to the plate. It says a lot about the nursing faculty and the leadership of the school to have students willing to come in. They chose to be there, work with their faculty and give back to the community.”