October 26, 2017

New Programs’ Enrollment Soars Amid Growing Job Opportunities

by Matthew Wexler

Building on a 75-year history in nursing education, the College of Nursing and Public Health began expanding its programs beyond nursing three years ago. Since then, the growth in non-nursing programs’ enrollment has been rapid.


“It’s a simple paradigm,” said Thomas Virgona, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of Healthcare Informatics. “People are living longer, which means they need more medical attention. Control risk is grounded in technology and integrated into healthcare.” The informatics program positions new graduates for a career at the intersection of healthcare and information technology, an area that has grown at a remarkably fast rate. The job market in healthcare informatics is expected to increase another 20 percent by the year 2020. The program attracted 49 students with its 2014 debut and has since more than doubled to 114 students enrolled in Spring 2017, including 85 online, he said.

Public Health

The Master of Public Health program provides an in-depth framework to pursue a career in the areas of research, advocacy, education and beyond. Enrollment rose to 63 in the Spring 2017 semester, and the newly launched minor is giving undergraduates a strong foundation for further studies.

“Treating people is not enough,” said M. Pilar Martin, M.D., assistant professor and director of the M.P.H. program. “The National Academies’ Health and Medicine Division is advocating for a focus on prevention.” The Department of Labor anticipates approximately 250,000 positions in public health by 2020, with Dr. Martin predicting very strong growth in emergency preparedness.

Two December 2015 graduates have secured jobs at Diaspora Community Services in Brooklyn and at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, proving that a successful career in public health is not only viable but accessible to the College’s alumni.


There were seven students enrolled when the M.S. in Nutrition program launched in Fall 2013. That number rose to 30 in Fall 2016 and 35 in Spring 2017, said Diane Dembicki, Ph.D., clinical associate professor.

Graduates of the nutrition master’s program are entering a fast-rising healthcare field that’s emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention. “Sharing our real-life experience as nutrition experts working in the field,” she said, “further helps students understand the many opportunities that lie ahead.”


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