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Healthcare Endorsement Grows at a Healthy Pace

Bethel’s Center for Healthcare Excellence takes advantage of the university’s unique location in the center of one of the largest clusters of healthcare organizations in the world. Just a year after launching, the program has attracted increasing numbers of students from a variety of majors who are adding a healthcare endorsement to their field of study—and graduating to find rewarding careers in a thriving industry.

By Michelle Westlund '83, senior content specialist

January 02, 2020 | 11 a.m.

Gunnar Bloom

Gunnar Bloom, a December 2019 graduate, is the first business major to graduate with an endorsement from Bethel’s Center for Healthcare Excellence.

It’s called Medical Alley, a swathe of Minnesota geography extending from St. Cloud to the Twin Cities and then south to Mankato and Rochester. Within it reside some of the world’s most renowned health-related organizations—including the operational headquarters for Medtronic, the world’s largest medical device company; United Healthgroup, the largest healthcare company in the world by revenue; and the Mayo Clinic, ranked as the top hospital in the nation. Tech giant Google plans to open an office near Mayo, partnering with the clinic to store and mine massive amounts of healthcare data. In addition, the area is home to one of the hottest start-up markets in the country.

It’s also home to Bethel University.

It’s a highly unique and unprecedented opportunity for Bethel students. “Our area is a mecca for health-related industry,” says Kristi Moline, executive director for Bethel’s Center for Healthcare Excellence. “Bethel graduates are finding jobs in healthcare whether they intend to or not.”

In her three years at Bethel, Moline has seen more and more students—from a variety of majors—become intentional about jobs in healthcare, in no small part because of the Center for Healthcare Excellence. “The center allows students from any major to be intentional about the healthcare industry,” she says. “Our goal is to leverage Bethel’s strong liberal arts foundation and the student’s major of choice, adding healthcare industry intention to the mix.”

The center offers a healthcare endorsement to students in any major. Through focused academic work, intentional exploration of healthcare and health careers, individual career counseling, and internships with corporate partners, students receive a tailored educational experience aimed at custom-fitting them with a job they’re passionate about. “We are unique in this model,” Moline says. “Our program was created in partnership with industry leaders, including a diverse group of healthcare industry partners.”

The program has grown rapidly. Launched in fall 2018, by the following spring 40 students had enrolled, and participation has continued to increase. “The traction we gained in one year surprised us,” says Moline. By fall 2019, a total of 95 incoming freshmen—about eight percent of the incoming class—added the healthcare endorsement to a variety of diverse majors. While biokinetics/exercise science, nursing, and natural sciences make up the largest percentages, majors like business, communication studies, computer science, education, engineering, and social work are also represented.

Gunnar Bloom ’19, for example, is a business finance major who graduates in December. His long-held plan has been to join Boston Scientific—a global medical device company with locations in the Twin Cities—after college, and the healthcare endorsement has proven an excellent fit. “The healthcare endorsement allowed me to tailor my Bethel education in a way that specifically relates to my goals after graduation,” he says. “Through the coursework and an internship experience at Boston Scientific, I feel prepared for wherever my career will go in the healthcare industry.”

Electrical engineering major Anton Hof ’22 values the way the healthcare endorsement provides focus to his studies. “I really like how the healthcare endorsement helps me to narrow down and focus on what I specifically want to do in engineering,” says Hof, who plans to design the circuits and electrical systems behind new and innovative medical technology.

At the same time, Hof says, the endorsement has helped him see the bigger picture of a future in healthcare. “The Twin Cities is one of the biggest health tech clusters in the world,” he explains, “so I’ll be able to pursue a career in a thriving industry. The endorsement prepares me to have an understanding of how the healthcare system works, as well as be prepared to take on the ethical dilemmas of healthcare from a Christian perspective. One of my goals in life is to have a career where I see the work I do making a positive impact on the lives of others. The healthcare industry changes lives on a daily basis.”

For incoming students considering the healthcare endorsement, Hof gives it his own wholehearted endorsement. “It’s 100 percent worth it,” he says. “It prepares you for an innovative field where you’re directly making the world a better place by the work you do. And it adds value to your time at Bethel. College is a big investment in your future, and this endorsement adds incredible value to it.”

The Center for Healthcare Excellence at Bethel University

Pathways through the Center for Healthcare Excellence add flexibility and options to any degree at Bethel. Get hands-on experience with highly innovative partners in the healthcare marketplace, providing you with the right knowledge, skills, and experiences to make you stand out to future employers.

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