UWS Among A Handful Offering A New Online Degree

By KBJR News 1

September 2, 2011 Updated Sep 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM CDT

Superior, WI - (The Northland's News Center) - The University of Wisconsin Superior is among a handful of schools in the state that will be offering a new online degree in Health and Wellness Management.

It's been over a year in the making.

"It's a collaborative effort among three other institutions in the UW system: Lacrosse, Stevens Point and River Falls and then us in Superior. And it's a completion degree," Dr. William Simpson, Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance says.

By completion Dr. William Simpson means Applicants for the 2012 school year must have either an associate degree or 60 credits toward a bachelor's degree.

The program begins in January.

Officials say graduates will be in a position to manage wellness
initiatives that more and more are being offered by insurance companies, employers and government agencies.

"The evidence in the empirical literature is very, very strong to suggest that programs that are in companies, health care benefits decrease, moral goes up, so it's a win-win situation for both the company and the employee," Simpson says.

With health care costs on the rise, insurance companies and employers are trying to find ways to curb the costs...leading to an 18-to-22-percent job growth in the health and wellness field.

Saint Louis County Health Coordinator, Tiffany Carlson, says Health and Wellness Management training is imperative for these programs to work.

"We need more people out there making it easy for those that don't have the time. And when you have a health coordinator in a business or working for a company, you have someone that can set the scene to create a better atmosphere; a healthy atmosphere," St. Louis County Health Coordinator, Tiffany Carlson said.

As more companies introduce smoking cessation, weight management and heart disease programs...the need grows for qualified people who can oversee programs that reduce health care costs and improve productivity and employee well being.

"Companies, agencies, businesses are starting to realize how much they can save if we can prevent that one heart attack in their departments, it's huge," Carlson says.

Officials say graduates of this new degree will lead companies to a healthier lifestyle.

University spokespeople say the Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management can be the foundation for a variety of positions, including wellness managers, work site wellness coordinators and directors of sports, fitness and wellness programs.

Written for the web by Danyel Piecek.