Posted on 09/14/2015 at 08:39 AM by YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Simpson College announced a new four-year baccalaureate program called Health Leadership Services at a news conference Monday morning.
President Jay Simmons said the program came to fruition through the vision of Simpson College alumni and trustee, Steve Johnson.
Johnson is the president and CEO of CareView Communications, a company that puts a camera and a computer in hospital rooms to help eliminate bed falls.
He explained that the health care industry spends about $11 billion a year on people falling out of beds, and CareView has helped reduce falls by about 40 percent.
Johnson said his company is only one small part of the continuously expanding health care field, which is expected to grow to employ 22 million people by the year 2022. If it happens, that means health care and social assistance industries will be creating five million jobs over the next 10 years.
"I know I and some of the other companies represented here struggle to find good employees, so cooperation with Simpson College in putting this program together was really tailored a little differently than what you'll see with academia and how they put together a curriculum," Johnson said. "This curriculum was done through the support of a lot of people who got together and talked about their needs and what the college could do for them."
He said its important that businesses take a fresh look at what colleges and universities are doing and how well their curricula match up with the industry.
"We've got a lot of kids who are coming out into this marketplace and positioning them with a marketplace where there is such growth opportunity is really, really important," Johnson said.
Members of the Simpson College HSL advisory board include representatives from Des Moines Area Community College, WesleyLife, Blue Cross Blue Shield, LCS, Mercy Clinics, the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, Iowa Health Systems, Senior Star at Elmore Place, CareView Communications and Merit Senior Living.
Joel Nelson, a representative on the board and the president and COO of LCS, further outlined how the health care field is growing.
LCS, he explained, serves 36,000 seniors, and that number is expected to grow to 50,000 over the next five years.
Plus, 68 percent of the company's CEOs, who oversee 2,000 continuing care retirement communities, are preparing to retire within the next 10 years, Nelson said.
"So the opportunity for young professionals as we launch this program ... there's real opportunity for those individuals to step into those leadership roles," Nelson said.
Jacy Downey, director of the new HSL program, said there are currently 11 students enrolled in the two HLS introductory courses at Simpson.
She said that number is low because the program wasn't approved until the end of the spring semester, so there wasn't time to recruit incoming freshmen.
Downey said she expects the enrollment number to at least double next year.
DMACC President Robert Denson said the new program will also allow students at DMACC's Ankeny campus to pursue a four-year degree without having to leave Ankeny.
According to numbers Simpson provides DMACC, Denson said, his former students who choose to move on do exceptionally well at the private college.
In addition, Simmons said the new program will help with rising concerns about college affordability since the new program will provide Simpson College students with a "very important and promising career path, not only to serve the health care industry but the community, as well."