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New Mississippi Degrees for a New Economy

By Annie Gilbertson | Published 18 Nov 2011 05:47pm | comments
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STEM is a shorthand way to refer to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, some of the fastest growing sectors in today's economy.  MPB's Southern Education Desk reporter, Annie Gilbertson, reports that Mississippi's universities are not only gearing up to increase and improve STEM instruction, but to keep up with the demand.

Mississippi colleges and universities will offer six new degrees next year - most of them in the technology and health fields – degrees such as a Master of Health Informatics and Information Management at University of Mississippi Medical Center. It's a long name that will qualify graduates for an even longer list of jobs.

Nugent: It’s going to just blow it wide open.  The Age of Technology has already made so many changes and the US has been behind has been in a lot of that and now we are catching up.

That’s Kristy Nugent.  She’ll be one of the first students to enroll officially as a master's student of health informatics - basically the study of medical record keeping.  Think of the old shelves crammed with alphabetized, color-coded records in any doctor's office.  Anne Peden, the Program Director of Health Informatics and Information Management at UMMC, says that’s changing.

Peden:  That picture doesn’t apply at the present time at a number of hospitals.  The paper records are going away. So if you visit a medical record department, you see people in cubicals with computers, that sort of thing.

Peden says medical data applications of the future will be tooled for quicker retrieval and will help doctors and nurses solve problems and make decisions.  Systems won’t be able to diagnose but they can catch harmful medication combinations before they’re prescribed and aggregate data for research.

Other new degrees will include a Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Delta State University and Mississippi University for Women.  And Jackson State University and the University of Southern Mississippi will also be adding new degrees to existing undergraduate engineering programs.

 Dr. Hank Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Learning, says these new education opportunities mean a stronger Mississippi economy tomorrow.

Bounds: “Any student that graduates with any degree in science is immediately employable. Any student that graduates with any type of medical degree is automatically employable.”

Classes for these new degrees are scheduled to begin as early as next semester.

From the Southern Education Desk, for MPB News, I'm Annie Gilbertson

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