Improving Health One Lesson at a Time
June 23, 2011
By Stephanie Thara
Public health focuses on improving longevity and the quality of life through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles and research for disease and injury prevention. The California State University offers a multitude of degrees that support and enhance the public health industry.
The CSU maintains research courses that foster the growth and development of students looking to pursue careers in industries relating to drug discovery, pharmaceutical production and laboratory sciences/technology. CSU laboratories house state-of-the-art equipment to support research leading to medical discoveries in a range of topics, including genetics disorders, DNA sequencing, HIV/hepatitis interactions, molecular biology, food contamination and cloning.
For example, the Valley Fever Vaccine Project, a laboratory-based collaboration managed through California State University, Bakersfield, was created to produce a candidate vaccine for coccidioidomycosis, a fungal disease.
Along with graduating industry leaders who discover unique antibiotics and become knowledgeable lab technicians, the CSU trains students to be proficient in fields relating to kinesiology and physical education. Students receive hands-on education with athletic training, exercise science, fitness, rehabilitation services and pre-physical therapy. Additionally, in 2010 the CSU was granted the authority to offer Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees, which will allow campuses that offer physical therapy programs – Fresno, Long Beach, Northridge, Sacramento and San Diego – to address the state's shortage of physical therapy professionals. These programs will be offered in the beginning of fall 2012.
CSU campuses exemplify the system’s commitment to improving the quality of life through in-depth training in kinesiology-related fields. The Cal State L.A. Spinal Plasticity and Locomotor Training Lab allows students to investigate the effects of locomotor training after a spinal cord injury to learn more about rehabilitation and therapeutic recreation.
The CSU also grants 97 percent of California’s bachelor’s degrees in dietetic/nutrition disciplines, including dietetics, food administration, nutritional science and food science. Students graduate and go on to prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications in hospitals, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers and offices of health practitioners. Sacramento State offers a Dietetic Internship program, which provides quality academic and professional experiences for interns to become competent registered dietitians in entry-level dietetics careers.
Furthermore, the CSU confers 65 percent of the state’s bachelor’s degrees in nursing. In 2012, the CSU is slated to offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree to enable professionals to earn the DNP while working full time, train nurses for advanced practice and prepare clinical faculty to teach in postsecondary nursing programs.