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Clemson seeks to fix shortage of health care researchers

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Clemson University has made a program available in Greenville that it calls the “first of its kind” in the Upstate. In January, Clemson’s Department of Public Health Sciences began offering an M.S. program through the University Center of Greenville.

According to a news release, Clemson designed the non-thesis program to “produce highly qualified health care researchers who are capable of collaborating with a wide range of disciplines, including academia, government, non-profit and health service organizations and systems.” Ronald Gimbel, chairman of Clemson’s public health sciences department, said it also sets the bar for programs designed to address a nationwide shortage in physicians and other clinicians involved in health research.

“Clemson is doing its part to get future clinicians and others involved in research,” Gimbel said, in the release. “The way you do that is getting them involved in research early in their careers before they even reach medical school; this program is an attractive option that more easily allows that to happen.”

Also according to the release, Clemson hopes to reach future physicians by being an attractive option for recent undergraduates experiencing a gap year before graduate or medical school. The program will also be a fast-track option for outstanding undergraduate students who wish to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in an accelerated fashion. However, the program is not limited to these two audiences, as it carries just as much value for research teams already employed in health systems, hospitals, community-based organizations, government and anyone else who evaluates programs, policies and interventions in the non-profit sector.

Gimbel said, in the release, that “rising health care costs, limited resources and the need to deliver evidence-based decisions about program impact on population health are major factors driving the demand for researchers. Students who emerge from this program will be equipped with the ability to thoroughly evaluate and objectively analyze health data, treatment outcomes and health care services.”

The program has been approved by the S.C. Commission on Higher Education. It requires 30 credit hours (18 hours of core courses and 12 hours of cognate courses) and is available in both 12-month and 24-month formats. 

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