New master’s degree launched by the University of Arizona designed to meet health care needs of aging populations

April 3, 2023

The University of Arizona Health Sciences International and Arizona Online announced a new master’s program, aimed to develop a workforce to address the challenges faced by an aging population in Arizona and around the world.

This novel online program aligns with the University of Arizona Health Sciences’ strategic vision to expand online academic offerings to educate the next generation of health professionals at home and globally.

The Master of Science in Innovations in Aging, designed for students and professionals, prepares them to meet the needs of an increasingly aging population. The World Health Organizations estimates 1 in 6 people globally will be aged 60 or older by 2030 and the number of people aged 80 or older will triple between 2020 and 2050. In Arizona, 1.5 million residents are over the age of 60 and nearly 1 in 4 are 65 or older.

Students in the program will be prepared to improve the lives of older adults through enhanced knowledge, expanded research and interdisciplinary collaboration. Graduates will be eligible to apply for professional certification through the National Association of Professional Gerontologists.

“Demand for professionals specializing in aging within and outside health care is higher than ever,” said Jeannie K. Lee, PharmD, associate professor at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy and member of the Innovations in Aging executive committee. “Our master’s program was designed by an interdisciplinary team of professionals who specialize in aging and are passionate about sharing knowledge and skills with people from all industries to support older adults where they are.”

Increasing diversity in the workforce is an essential goal of the master’s program. Research suggests that American Indian/Native American, African American and Latino people are severely underrepresented in aging-related fields. At the same time, many of these diverse aging populations are growing faster than non-Hispanic white populations.

“Educating younger individuals about aging of all persons and meeting the challenges and opportunities of aging moves us one step closer to improving the health and well-being for all,” said Linda R. Phillips, PhD, RN, professor at the College of Medicine – Tucson and chair of Innovations in Aging graduate interdisciplinary programs.

The first term of the Master of Science in Innovations in Aging will be Fall 2023. The program builds on a graduate certificate that was offered for the first time in 2021. Both programs are offered to students in the U.S. and globally through Arizona Online. UArizona students enrolled in a graduate program at the main campus (that includes programs in health-related sciences) can also enroll concurrently in either program via iCourses.

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