A second-year medical resident can treat 80 percent of people with a heart condition by giving simple guidance: eat better, get more exercise and sleep, and stop smoking. Easy, right? The problem is, knowing what to do is much easier than knowing how to do it. Lifestyle habits are engrained from years of subtle abuse to our bodies. In that way, these aren’t issues for medicine; they’re issues for psychology.
A lot of what’s cutting edge in health today is dealing with behavioral health – lifestyle choices. Medical doctors aren’t trained to tackle that. But IIT’s Behavioral Health and Wellness graduates are.
As a student in the Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health and Wellness program in the Lewis College of Human Sciences, you will develop your understanding of how lifestyle choices impact health over time, and how to design individualized programs to promote healthy living, most often related to nutrition, exercise, and tobacco and alcohol use.
You’ll also become a patient advocate, educating patients on how to steer through the daunting bureaucracy of health care services. “It used to be that families had one doctor, and he made house calls,” Prof. Michael Young says. “Now patients need to navigate a maze of services, and it can be overwhelming, especially with the new Affordable Care Act, which will give a whole new segment of our population access to health care.”
Program at a glance
The Behavioral Health and Wellness degree is interdisciplinary, and combines coursework in psychology, sociology, political science and nutritional science. You can also customize your program with an elective specialty track in either health psychology, public health, or nutrition. A capstone project will help you integrate and apply the concepts and skills you learned to a real-life situation, preparing you to make an impact your first day on the job.
General Education (48-55 hours)
Major (59 hours)
Free elective (13-19 hours)
Total hours 126
You will also participate in an Interprofessional Project, unique to IIT’s curriculum.
You can enter a wide range of health/wellness professions including patient education, behavioral health coaching, or assisting psychologists and other health professionals involved with direct patient care, policy analysis or advocacy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in health education and health promotion will grow by 37 percent over the next decade alone.
You will also be prepared to continue on to graduate school in a number of fields.