RCU Assisting Development of New Health-Related Curricula

RCU Assisting Development of New Health-Related Curricula

Health information technology task force members included (first row, left to right) Lora Little, Itawamba Community College; Christy Roberts, George Health Systems; Melissa Cotton, Southwest Community College; Kory Hudson, Singing River Health Systems; (back row, left to right) Mallory Pennington, North Mississippi Medical Center; Dr. Angela Morey, University of Mississippi Medical Center; Patrice Williams, Simpson County Technical Center; Donna Vaughn, Itawamba Community College; and Cheryl Guyton, OCH Regional Medical Center.

February 6, 2020

Under the guidance of the RCU, task forces of educators and industry professionals from across the state are helping the MDE develop and implement two new health care-related curricula.

Pilot programs are expected to be in place for health information technology (HIT) and fitness and nutrition in Mississippi classrooms by the 2020-2021 academic year, and the two programs should be brought before the Mississippi State Board of Education for approval by the end of 2022.

HIT is a stand-alone, two-year program for students interested in an alternative path to the health care and medical fields. It will cover a variety of topics, including basic health care systems, medical terminology, Microsoft Word and Excel, electronic medical records and field-specific finances.

The fitness and nutrition program will provide students with a third option within the health science cluster. They will receive specialized instruction in nutrition, energy systems and other fundamental components of basic health and fitness, and hands-on experiences and training, including the capabilities to receive CPR and fitness trainer certifications.

Sam Watts, the RCU's curriculum specialist for health science, said the two curricula will provide skills to students that will give them a competitive advantage when looking for jobs in the growing field.

"There will always be jobs available in big-city hospitals and small-town clinics that use the skills taught by our HIT curriculum," he said. "This program will more than adequately prepare students for those entry-level jobs and also provide pathways to community colleges, four-year universities and post-graduate opportunities if they so choose to continue their education.

"In regard to fitness and nutrition, students will be able to take a baseline assessment of their clients, monitor their progress and make changes as necessary," Watts added. "Students will practice performing and coaching good technique with various exercises and be able to program and write workouts for their clients using a variety of equipment and movements. Finally, they will know how to pursue any other careers in fitness and nutrition once they have completed this course, enabling them to make the best decisions for their future education and career choices."

For more information about this task force and curriculum, email Watts at sam.watts@rcu.msstate.edu.

Founded in 1965, the RCU contributes to MSU’s mission as a land-grant institution to better the lives of Mississippians with a focus on improving education. In particular, the RCU benefits K-12 and higher education by developing curricula and assessments, providing training and learning opportunities for educators, researching and evaluating programs, supporting and promoting career and technical education, and leading education innovations. For more information about RCU, rcu.msstate.edu or follow the organization on Facebook at facebook.com/rcumsu or on Twitter at twitter.com/rcumsu.