Oregon Health and Science University Distance Learning

One of the leading health and research colleges since 1974 when they combined state nursing, dentistry and medical programs under one roof, Oregon Health&Science University has a mission of “dedication to improving the health and well-being of people in Oregon and beyond”. Located in Portland, Oregon, it is the city’s largest employer (the 4th largest in the state), with over $300 million in healthcare research programs alone each year (it currently has over 4000 projects running).

Offering some Bachelor, but mostly Masters, and PhDs (they are the only Oregon college to give doctoral degrees in medicine, dentistry, and nursing), OHSU houses 5 schools and has numerous campuses providing its 4000 or so students training necessary to Oregon’s health care (it is a relatively rural and sparsely populated in areas). A merger in 2001 with the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science&Technology also makes it the only school in the nation to have such a school focused “exclusively on human and environmental health”.

Distance learning options are both available and community oriented, realizing the need in the more rural areas for college trained medical professionals is just as necessary as in the larger cityscapes. OHSU offers a Rural Frontier Delivery program that brings completely online baccalaureate training to the more isolated areas of the state. Using a two-way interactive system and the help of local colleges, a virtual classroom is created offering online Registered Nurses the opportunity to gain a Bachelor, as well as Master’s programs for aspiring graduates in Public Health and Nursing Education. Clinical and lab work are done at local area hospitals and medical centers, but all theory and bookwork are distributed through one of five schools in or bordering Oregon (including schools in Washington, Idaho, and northern California). Graduates of these programs are meant to learn and then stay to work in their home communities, with geographic boundaries to learning removed.

Other online offerings on the business side of health care include two more hybrid online options, with a Master of Science in Healthcare Management and a joint degree program with Portland State University resulting in a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management. The MS requires two weekends per term, but all other coursework is completed online as the student’s schedule allows. The joint degree program with PSU utilizes Portland’s recognized Business school to bring the degree a bit more heft on the financial side of healthcare, though still teaching the medical and management sides. A three year program, the MBA is a combination of online and traditional learning, with a Capstone course in a real health care business (the OHSU MS ends with a Capstone course as well, creating and submitting business plans to healthcare organizations). There are also certificate programs offered in Biomedical Informatics and a partnership program with Providence Health System offering Informatics training online.

Other online classes are offered, as well as online library resources, registrar, and an Educational Communications department gives advice on everything from media conversion to podcasting, with forms for streaming and video hosting/conferencing. OHSU uses Sakai as their course management system, serving about 2300 online learners per term, and the school’s Academic Technology department offers “flash-based tutorials” for virgin distance learners. There’s even an online roundtable discussion once a month, bringing in varied faculty members to discuss how to improve online education at OHSU.

A monument to the state’s dedication to caring for their citizens, OHSU provides sound and recognized medical and health care training meant to bring more knowledge and better resources to the health professionals in state, thereby certifying the continued health of their state.

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