Indiana State University Newsroom

New programs addressing health care shortage

June 19, 2013

More than 50 grads in two years, hundreds more in pipeline

Dozens of new health care professionals are serving Indiana and the nation, existing providers have expanded their skills and hundreds more are in the pipeline thanks to new programs at Indiana State University.

Programs launched in 2011 have produced 28 physician assistants, nine doctor of nursing practice graduates and 14 registered nurses under an accelerated program for persons with existing bachelor's degrees, according to a report prepared for the university's board of trustees by Biff Williams, dean of the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services.

Nearly 200 future health care providers are enrolled in those programs as well as three new programs starting this summer and fall - master's degree programs occupational therapy and social work and a doctoral program in health sciences.

Another 228 master's degree family nurse practitioner students are prospective candidates for the doctoral program as nurse practitioners increasingly serve as primary health care providers, Williams said.

"Indiana State is making a concerted effort to strategically address Indiana's workforce shortages in the health care industry," said university President Dan Bradley. "It is great to see such significant progress in a relatively short amount of time."

Initiating and developing new health-oriented programs was a key rationale for creating the college in 2007 from the former colleges of nursing and health and human performance, noted Williams.

"It is no small feat to develop and launch so many new health-related programs in such a small amount of time," he said. "I can't say enough about the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff who made this happen throughout the college."

Williams said it is important to note that all of the college's new programs incorporate inter-professional education, which is vital for health care professionals in underserved rural areas.

"We can be especially proud that personnel from formerly separate colleges have come together to endorse and practice collaborative education," he said.

A new doctoral concentration in sport management has also started and still more new programs are in the works, Williams said, including a doctor of physical therapy degree set to begin classes in 2015 and a bachelor's program in applied health sciences. The college has also developed new concentrations in health administration, health psychology, environmental health and public health nutrition as well as minors in massage therapy and recreation management and youth leadership and a certificate in gerontology.

Williams' report also shows more students enrolled in existing programs, notably advanced nursing practice, which had 275 students in 2011-12, a fourfold increase from 2008-09; applied medicine and rehabilitation, where enrollment nearly tripled during the same period to 311; applied health sciences, where the number of students more than doubled to 319; and baccalaureate nursing completion, which had 373 students, a three-year increase of 163.\

The combination of new programs, growth in existing programs and the move of such programs as social work and dietetics from the College of Arts and Sciences have resulted in total enrollment in the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services nearly doubling between 2008 and 2012, to nearly 3,000 students. Indiana State's university-wide enrollment for fall 2012 was 12,114.

Photo: - Indiana State University nursing and physician assistant students work with a Union Hospital nurse to help "deliver" a baby Nov. 9, 2012, in the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative Simulation Center. Such interdisciplinary education is a focus of several new programs launched in recent years by the university's College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Photo: - Physician assistant students at Indiana State University pose in new white coats following a Jan. 22, 2012 ceremony marking the transition from the classroom to the clinical phase of their education. The master's degree program in physician assistant studies is among several new offerings that are producing new health care providers. (ISU/Rachel Keyes)

Contact: Biff Williams, dean, College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services, Indiana State University, 812-237-3683 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or