Health services leadership program sees huge growth

by Jayde Vogeler, Photography Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Though there is a continued shortage of qualified health management candidates, more students are showing interest in the health services leadership major or minor, which started at Simpson College one year ago.

When the program was first introduced in 2015, seven people enrolled in both introductory classes, said Jacy Downey, director and professor of health services leadership. In the spring, that number jumped to 70 students, thanks to marketing and recruiting efforts.

The program is designed to give undergraduate students an edge when going out into the field on medicine.

“There are not many colleges that have this type of major out there,” Downey said. “When going into an interview, I want the students to have an edge on their competitors to get a job.”

Students from all grade levels have expressed interest, especially from upperclassmen who want to complete the major before graduation.

Senior Hannah Dannewitz has been invested in the program since it was introduced.

“I knew I wanted to go into health care since high school, but the major is virtually nonexistent as an undergrad,” Dannewitz said. “I love that Simpson is being innovative and created this unique, interesting program.”

A 300 level May Term course “discusses, analyzes, and critiques past, current, and developing health policy issues and legislation,” according to the Simpson College registration site, and was introduced in May 2016.

This gave Dannewitz and other students to explore the program early on and now is one course in the core of the program.

It was a good indication that there was a growing interest in the new program, and with the fast-paced interest, Downey got the push to create upper-level classes.

“It’s great to see all the interest from upperclassmen. I’ve created four new upper-level classes, two in the fall and two in the spring, to get students who completed the introduction courses keep moving on in the major,” Downey said.

Even as numbers rise, Downey’s goal is to reach out to more potential students.

“One of my goals is to get more students into the classroom and wanting them to pursue this degree,” Downey said. “We aren’t just here to get students in and out. We want them to have a great experience with this degree at Simpson.”

Dannewitz said with the help of this minor, she wants to go on to bigger goals in life.

“I stride to be that person who is passionate, caring, innovative and educated about geriatric care,” Dannewitz said. “I am about to graduate this May, and then I hope to get my masters next year at Des Moines University or Iowa State University while working a low-level job at a health care facility. Eventually, my goal would be to be the chief executive officer of multilocation, transitional retirement communities.”

Interested students who want to learn more information about the health services leadership program should contact Jacy Downey at [email protected].