Belmont Abbey College continues to expand its new degree programs in healthcare with the addition of a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Analytics (HIMA) or Health Informatics. The new offering will help students develop the foundational knowledge and skills needed to transform, interpret, and administer healthcare data. Grounded in our Catholic, Benedictine tradition, and its moral framework, our program will form providers who deliver healthcare that cherishes and builds the whole person.
Part of a healthcare program in development since 2018, this latest offering will benefit from the contributions and collaboration with CaroMont Health, Gaston College, Gaston County Public Schools, and Holy Angels. A cross-functional team of faculty and staff from Biology, Business, Theology, Student Life, and Academic Affairs, together with our community partners, developed the new healthcare programs for the college.
The HIMA program communicates to students the methods and skills of the discipline of health information management and analytics, while also preparing its graduates for service and ethical leadership in the healthcare community inspired and informed by the Benedictine Hallmarks, Saint Pope John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. The latter is a directive from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Each of the new health degrees will require approval of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and will include Belmont Abbey College’s core, along with a Catholic Bioethics class. Students will apply for admission to the healthcare programs during the spring semester of their sophomore year and must complete and pass a criminal background check, drug screening, and have current immunizations in hand. All students completing the programs will have a clinical or professional practice placement during their senior year.
Belmont Abbey College has hired a Health Informatics Director, who will officially join the college on June 1, 2020, to guide the program through accreditation and to establish the program. Dr. Daniel Lorence comes to the Abbey most recently from the New York Regional Medical Technology Consortium, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) where he served as its director. During this time, he also served as the Assistant Dean for Educational and Medical Technology with the Academic Technologies Group at NYIT in Old Westbury, NY. Dr. Lorence holds a Master of Education, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and Juris Doctor.
The Health Informatics BS is a traditional four-year degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA in all major courses, no more than two attempts per course, and at least 6 credit hours of work in clinical practical settings.
“We are at a new beginning for Belmont Abbey College as our healthcare degrees take shape. I am overjoyed at the prospect of the impact our students will make on our community and the world. The health informatics major at the Abbey integrates health, technology, data, science, and our uniquely Catholic and Benedictine charism. With this program our college will bring a much needed moral and charitable ethos the world so desperately needs,” said Dr. Bill Thierfelder president of Belmont Abbey College.
The job outlook for these graduates will be strong as the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that the job outlook for health information managers is “much faster than the average”. Also, our introduction of this program is timely. The medical community’s response during this pandemic undoubtedly underscores the opportunity and importance of health informatics, such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring, patient engagement, and clinical decision support, but nowhere more pressing than the fields of bioinformatics and predictive modeling. The HIMA program at Belmont Abbey is poised to respond to a need that is particularly relevant given current public health data needs.
The Health Informatics program will begin accepting pre-health informatic students this fall, with the first students admitted into the major by Fall of 2022 if not sooner. During this time the college will continue to nurture its health field relationships, ensure that BAC infrastructure meets the needs of the new program, and will continue accreditation processes and materials.