Nashua Community College to offer new Public Health pathway
Transfer agreement connects NCC with Public Health Informatics and Technology at UMass Lowell
NASHUA – In response to the need for data savvy public health experts, Nashua Community College is set to offer a new transfer pathway connecting its health science associate degree with the newly launched Public Health Informatics and Technology (PHIT) bachelor program at nearby UMass Lowell.
“There is a whole movement happening across many sectors to utilize data when making decisions, and in the public health sector, the COVID-19 pandemic really brought this need to light,” said Robyn Griswold, Vice President of Academic Affairs at NCC.
Griswold noted the ability to accurately track data in public health helps deploy resources in an equitable manner. “Not that data wasn’t important before, but the pandemic really brought the importance of data analytics to the forefront; watching trends, making predictions, allocating resources, and developing vaccines.”
The new PHIT track at UMass Lowell is funded by a $3.2 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information as part of the Public Health Informatics and Technology Workforce Development Program. The initiative, funded through the American Rescue Plan, seeks to strengthen public health capacity and bring more diversity to the field.
Pat Klein, Program Coordinator for General Studies and Health Science at NCC, said the new transfer pathway comprises the current health science degree at NCC, with new courses tailored to correspond with the PHIT program at UMass Lowell. “We’re developing three courses that will transfer as part of our articulation agreement. The rest of our program fits with the Public Health Informatics and Technology program requirements.” The three new classes launch in fall 2023 and spring 2024, but new students can begin the Health Science pathway now.
NCC is collaborating with UMass Lowell along with Middlesex and Northern Essex community colleges in Massachusetts to develop the new public health coursework, allowing students who graduate from the two-year schools to transfer seamlessly to UMass Lowell.
“We’ve created a team with UMass Lowell and the other community colleges that are participating. We’re working together as a team to collaborate as we create this new pathway,” said Klein. “Students will be able to get their two-year associate degree and transfer. Then they’re just looking at two years in a bachelor’s program.”
The transfer agreement broadens career prospects for graduates in the field, she said. To see specific career opportunities in the area, prospective students can refer to the free career-counseling tool, Career Coach. “This is one more great opportunity for our health science students,” said Klein. To learn more about the Health Science pathway at NCC, contact Pat Klein, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 603-578-6817.
PHIT track students at UMass Lowell benefit from paid internships and financial support for trips to public health meetings and conferences. Program graduates will be prepared to enter the public health field and launch careers with health departments, nonprofits, community health centers and other health care settings, and more. Career options include Chief Information Officer, Public Health Informatics Specialist, Manager of Health Information, and Digital Health Informaticist.
The pathway extends into the graduate level as well. UMass Lowell’s Division of Graduate, Online and Professional Studies will offer new tracks in public health informatics and technology for working professionals. Learn more about the PHIT track at UMass Lowell at www.uml.edu/phit.