School of Nursing and Health Professions- Health Professions

Dr. Regan Dodd, Chairperson
(816) 271-4474

The Department of Health Professions prepares students in degree programs leading to careers in the healthcare field including a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management, a Bachelor of Science in Population Health Management, a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant. Additional opportunities include a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with concentrations in Exercise Science and Personal and Commercial Fitness and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Sport Management with concentrations in Sport Management and Esports Management. Specific information about all of the degrees are found in this section.

Health, Physical Education & Recreation

Missouri Western's Health, Physical Education, and Recreation program educates and prepares students to engage in careers across the health, sport, recreation, and fitness spectrum. What sets us apart is our commitment to high-impact applied learning experiences. Students will engage in a variety of hands-on learning experiences both in the classroom and professional settings.

The department offers two undergraduate degrees, Physical Education and Recreation Sport Management.

Undergraduates interested in health and fitness can complete a degree in physical education with concentrations in Health/Exercise Science or Personal and Commercial Fitness. Health/Exercise Science students are prepared to pursue careers in sports medicine (pre-physical therapy, pre-athletic training, pre-chiropractic) and a variety of clinical settings as well as personal and commercial fitness settings. Physical Education concentrations prepare students for careers as teachers and coaches.

The multi-billion dollar sport and tourism industries translate into an expanded job market for students interested in Recreation Sport Management. Students majoring in Recreation Sport Management select either a, Sport Management, or Esport Management concentration.

Students may satisfy general studies requirements in category five by taking PED 101, Fitness and Wellness, and one activity course. The Fitness and Wellness course acquaints students with basic knowledge, understanding, and importance of lifelong physical activity and fitness. Students with disabilities that restrict them from the regular activity program may enroll in PED 110, Adaptive Activities as often as needed. Participating in this course will satisfy the general studies activity requirement.

Health Information Management

The School of Nursing and Health Professions offers a one-year Certificate program in Health Information Technology (HIT), a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management (HIM), and minors in Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) and health Data Analytics (HDA). The Bachelor of Science in HIM is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Graduates from CAHIIM accredited baccalaureate degree programs can take the Registered Health Information Administration (RHIA) exam.

What can I do with a Health Information Management Degree?

Health Information Management coursework prepares confident, innovative, and contributing healthcare professionals who have the ability to identify and utilize a variety of information resources and technologies. HIM professions work across a vast array of roles ranging from analytical to project management to healthcare system management and information governance roles. The baccalaureate degree health information management graduate serves as a pivotal team member in the planning, design, implementation, management, use and evaluation of electronic health records and other electronic information systems. Job responsibilities also include serving as brokers of information services. Among the information services provided are definition of requirements and design for clinical and administrative systems development, data administration, clinical data management, data privacy and security management, decision support and data analysis, management of information-intensive areas such as quality/performance improvement, case management and outcomes measurement as well as management of the health information management departmental services. Baccalaureate degree graduates may hold positions as compliance officer, data quality manager, data sets/nomenclature/classification standards manager, educator, healthcare consumer advocate, privacy/security officer, project manager, reimbursement or revenue cycle manager to name a few.

Practical Experience/Internship

Students gain both theoretical knowledge, and practical experience in healthcare settings to prepare them to respond to the challenge of working in health informatics and health information management. Students should be aware that some courses involve professional practice experiences for a significant number of hours. Because these experiences are usually only available during typical working hours, working students must make arrangements to be absent from their work. Students work closely with their advisors since many of the courses have prerequisites and must be taken in sequence. Some professional management experience sites may require criminal background checks, current medical history, proof of liability insurance, and proof of negative TB tests. Students will be required to travel and may be required to temporarily relocate in order to complete the practical experience. Working students may have to make arrangements to be absent from their work in order to complete class requirements.

Classes are offered in a variety of settings, including web-based learning management system, face to face, and a hybrid method. All HIM core classes are web-based.

Physical Therapist Assistant

The physical therapist assistant performs patient rehabilitation under the supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs treat neurologic, orthopedic and cardiopulmonary dysfunctions, providing pediatric, athletic, and geriatric rehabilitation, treatment for wounds and burns, and more.

The PTA program includes didactic and laboratory preparation, extended opportunity to practice and apply learned skills in affiliated clinical settings, and education necessary for graduates to sit for required state licensing examinations and to function competently as entry-level practitioners.

Four semesters and two summer sessions compose the program. Upon graduation, students receive the Associate of Applied Science degree. PTA students are encouraged to consider the advantages of obtaining a bachelor's degree from Missouri Western.

Admission to the program is limited to one cohort of twenty students every fall.  Admission to the university does not guarantee admission to the program.  Selection is competitive and is based on applicants' grades, ACT (or TEAS or SAT) scores, completion of the Missouri high school core program or equivalent, science and math preparation, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and observation of physical therapy in practice. Application information is available online at Application deadline is March 31st.

Missouri Western’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Population Health Management

The Department of Health Professions offers a Bachelor of Science in Population Health Management with options in Business, Computer Information Systems, Human Health, and Health Informatics. Students interested in pursuing non-clinical careers in healthcare or related settings select an option in their interest area.

Students interested in working with electronic health records and other electronic data management systems may pursue options in health informatics or computer information systems. Students interested in serving as a team member managing health promotion and disease prevention in population subsets may pursue an option in business. Students interested in a career focusing on health and wellness and improved health outcomes in diverse populations may select an option of human health.

Career opportunities include hospital, community and public health, insurance, government, and health care technology settings. All students complete an internship in a field placement of their interest area to enhance their preparation for entering the workforce.

Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) prepares students for beginning generalist social work practice.  Students will have multiple applied learning opportunities, including a semester long practicum, to prepare them to work in the field across a variety of social service settings. Students will be challenged to create a generalist skill set which includes, one-on-one, group, and community work, critical thinking, self-awareness, and communication.  These skills are framed by the profession’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of all individuals, importance of relationships, integrity, and competence. The program offers a variety of electives for expanding a student’s knowledge in specific practice areas.

Missouri Western’s Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Partnerships with Graduate Programs

Missouri Western maintains partnerships that provide students the opportunity for early review and preferred acceptance into the Masters of Athletic Training at University of Nebraska Omaha, Masters of Occupational Therapy at Rockhurst University or Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Rockhurst University. Additional details can be obtained through the Department of Health Professions:

Majors in the department which have admission requirements are listed below. Majors which are not listed on this page do not have specific requirements for admission. Information about the recommended coursework a student might take prior to declaring the major can be obtained from the department.

Health Information Management

Students desiring to obtain a B.S. degree in Health Information Management should declare their interest to the Program Coordinator. Based on approval from the Program Coordinator, students who have completed health informatics, health information management, or health information technology coursework with a grade of C or higher and an overall GPA of at least 2.5 from a CAHIIM accredited associate's program may receive transfer credit.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

The PTA program is a competitive entrance program. Application to the program is made separately from application for admission to Missouri Western.

 Application requirement information can be found at . Requirements include a completed application, ACT or TEAS scores, three forms of recommendation, high school/college transcripts, 24 hours of observation, and an essay.

One cohort of 20 is accepted every year. Deadline for application is March 31 for the following fall start.

Population Health Management

Students intending to major in Population Health Management should declare their interest to the School of Nursing and Health Professions so they can be assigned an advisor. Students must have completed and received a grade of C or higher in BIO 101 Principles of Biology, BIO 250 Anatomy and Physiology, CSC 201 Microcomputer Applications, PSY 101 General Psychology, and ECO 261 Principles of Microeconomics and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

Recreation Sport Management

Students must have an ACT of 18 or higher. In addition, a GPA of 2.2 or higher after 60 hours of course work and completed courses in Category One of General Studies with a C or higher.

Social Work

The social work program operates under a selective admissions policy. Students are considered "pre-majors" until they meet the minimum requirements to be accepted as a social work major. Admission to the social work program involves the completion of an application packet. Minimum requirements for admission into the social work major include:

  • Completion of the general studies math requirement.
  • Completion of BIO 101 Principles of Biology (or equivalent).
  • Completion of SWK 250 Introduction to Social Work, SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology, PSY 101 General Psychology, and ENG 108 College Writing and Research with a minimum grade of C in each course.
  • Completion of SOC 230 Social Problems, ECO 101 Current Issues in the Economy, and PSC 101 American National Government.
  • Must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5.
  • Must have earned a C or higher in all completed SWK prefix classes.
  • Must agree to and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with accepted professional social work practices and the current NASW Code of Ethics (see Social Work Student Handbook).
  • Cannot have exhibited behavior that will infringe on their present or future ability to adequately fulfill professional social work responsibilities. The social work program's admissions committee reserves the right to require applicants to submit additional materials if the Committee questions the student's ability to adequately fulfill professional responsibilities (see Social Work Student Handbook).

Students must complete the social work admission process prior to enrolling in SWK 360 Social Work Practice II and must submit completed application packets no later than the first Friday in October or March. The social work program's admissions committee will review all application packets and interview all applicants. Admission decisions are based on a student's academic performance; professional, personal, and academic conduct; references; and responses to application and interview questions.

Social work majors must successfully complete a second formal application process before entering SWK 480 Practicum in Social Work and SWK 485 Social Work Practicum Seminar.  To be eligible to enroll in SWK 480 Practicum in Social Work and SWK 485 Social Work Practicum Seminar, students must have earned a minimum grade of C in all completed SWK prefix courses and carry a minimum overall GPA of 2.5. Students applying to enter the social work practicum must submit an application and practicum essay (outline available from the Field Education Director), and complete interviews with the Field Education Director and prospective field instructors (agency social workers). Practicum planning regularly begins one or two semesters prior to entering the practicum. While every effort is made to identify those students ready for field practicum, it is the student's responsibility to notify the Field Education Director of his/her intent to apply to the social work practicum. In accordance with Council of Social Work Education standards, MWSU does not grant academic credit, course waivers, or field practicum credit for previous life or work experiences.

Once admitted to the social work program, social work majors are expected to maintain professional and academic standards of conduct. The social work program at Missouri Western reserves the right to place a student on probationary status or remove a student from the major because of violations of these standards (see Social Work Student Handbook).

Hong Choi (2007) Professor, Recreation Sport Management. B.A., Yon Sei University; M.S., United States Sports Academy; Ph.D., Oklahoma State University.

Pamela Clary (2007) Associate Professor, Social Work. A.A., Highland Community College; B.S., Kansas State University; M.S.W., University of Kansas; Ph.D., Kansas State University.

Regan Dodd (2012) Chairperson, Associate Professor, Physical Education. B.S., M.S.E., Northwest Missouri State University; M.B.A., Baker University; Ph.D., University of Kansas.

Grey Endres (2017) Assistant Professor, Social Work. B.S.E., University of Kansas; M.S.W., University of Kansas; D.S.W., University of Southern California.

Kelly Fast (2014) Associate Professor, Health Information Management. B.S.B.A., Quincy University; M.S., College of St. Scholastica.

Jana Frye (2014) Associate Professor, Social Work. B.S., Truman State University; M.S.W., University of Kansas.

Stephanie Gerlach (2019) Assistant Professor, Exercise Science. B.S., Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University; Bachelor of Sport and Exercise, Massey University; M.S., Minnesota State University; Ph.D., University of New Mexico.

Maureen Holtz (2019) Assistant Professor, Physical Therapist Assistant Program. B.H.S., D.P.T., University of Missouri-Columbia.

Britton Johnson (2009) Professor, Physical Education. B.S., Albion College; M.A., Western Michigan University; Ph.D., Walden University.

Justin Kraft (2007) Professor, Physical Education. B.S., Jamestown College; M.A., University of Northern Colorado; Ph.D., University of Alabama.

Kenneth Kriewitz (2002) Advanced Instructor, Physical Education. B.S., M.S., Central Missouri State University.

Mechel McKinney (2019) Assistant Professor, Health Information Management. A.A.S, University of New Mexico. B.B.A.., University of Phoenix. M.B.A., American Public University.

Maureen Raffensperger (1997) Professor, Physical Therapist Assistant Program. B.S., University of Nebraska Medical Center; M.S., University of Missouri-Columbia; DPT, Des Moines University.

Karman Romero (2017) Assistant Professor, Health Information Management. B.S.N., University of Utah; Ph.D., University of Kansas.

William Russell (2005) Professor, Physical Education. B.A., Cleveland State University; M.S., Ball State University; Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia.

Fiona Sansone (2016) Director for Center of Excellence in Applied Healthcare Learning & Assistant Professor, Nursing. B.S.N., Missouri Western State University; M.S.W., University of Missouri.