Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

Master's in Interdisciplinary Healthcare Systems

Dr. Melissa Reznar spearheads a new degree designed for those interested in healthcare

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Photo credit: Robert Hall


icon of a calendarMarch 1, 2023

icon of a pencilBy Jillian Wolf

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Melissa Reznar, Ph.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, is the leader of a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Healthcare Systems.

The Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (IDH) has evolved greatly since its inception and now includes three bachelor’s degrees: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Sciences with concentrations in Pre-Health Professions and Holistic Health, a B.S. in Nutrition with Dietetics as an optional clinical specialization, and the B.S. in Interdisciplinary Healthcare Studies (IHC) that began in Fall 2022. The department is now excited to offer their first master’s degree for career advancement for post-baccalaureate students as well as professionals who are already in the workforce. 

The Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Healthcare Systems is a two-year, skills-based program that was built using the National Academy of Medicine reports of the critical competencies needed in healthcare professions. With three broad concentrations - Professional, Dietetics and Research - there are many career options to attract a variety of individuals and the program is applicable to many bachelor’s degrees. This degree is a good fit for employees who are interested in a master’s program, clinicians who are looking to move into an administrative role, and graduates directly pursuing a master’s in many areas of healthcare interest (including Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Public and Environmental Wellness, Nursing and other health programs). The program offers three concentrations: Professional, Dietetics and Research.

The Dietetics concentration requires a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition/Dietetics. Dr. Reznar is particularly passionate about this concentration. Nutrition and dietary guidelines, if followed, could reduce the leading causes of death, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. “To improve our healthcare system and the health of patients,” explains Dr. Reznar, “let’s put in a little bit more prevention.” As part of the Dietetics concentration, Corewell Health (Beaumont East) has partnered with OU, creating an internship so that students will be able to earn their master’s degree focusing on healthcare quality and delivery through dietetics. This concentration will qualify students for the dietetics exam and ensure that they are eligible to practice starting in 2024 when new dietitians are required to hold a master’s degree. 

The Professional concentration is well-suited for graduates with a health-related bachelor’s degree, healthcare professionals looking to earn a master’s, and clinicians who wish to focus on a wider scale of healthcare delivery or administration. This concentration includes a capstone at a healthcare organization where students will work with the organization’s system to identify issues and improve these areas.

The Research concentration is intended for those who are interested in a more research-oriented career, would like to perform research with faculty or are considering pursuit of a future Ph.D. These students will perform a formal thesis project and defense on a topic that is relevant to healthcare quality and delivery.

With three concentrations providing students a well-rounded and extensive education in the area of healthcare and related fields, the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Healthcare Systems will provide many opportunities for graduates. By taking classes from a variety of disciplines involved in healthcare, graduates will be prepared for a career as a patient navigator, case manager, care manager, healthcare coordinator, health administrator, dietitian and more. The School of Health Sciences looks forward to the start of the program, which is expected to enroll its first class in 2024. “I think this is truly something that a lot of students will be interested in,” says Dr. Reznar.

Visit the Interdisciplinary Healthcare Systems webpage, and explore the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences site to learn more about the Department and the programs offered.

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