This Impact Report is about the work and accomplishments of the College of Health Sciences in 2020, a year like no other.
The perseverance and resiliency of our students, faculty, staff and community partners was something to behold. They prevailed with compassion on the frontlines of the pandemic, adapted to new learning environments, and focused on a strong recovery for the college after COVID.
Message from the Dean
We learned that the impact of our past investments in academic advising, health services, and online learning enabled the College of Health Sciences to pivot efficiently, to provide holistic resources remotely, and to support students at unprecedented levels.
New graduate and certificate programs in respiratory care and value-based healthcare graduated their first cohorts in 2020 and genetic counseling celebrated their first graduates in spring 2021. Faculty reimagined campus-based courses and transitioned to virtual or hybrid classes. Simulation learning was increased to provide essential clinical training without compromising quality or safety. It was remarkable to witness, they were nimble and unstoppable.
Our students are compassionate, caring people who strive to make a positive impact on the world. That drive took on new meaning in 2020. On Campus, public health students helped to start up the Boise State contact tracing program. Student peer advisors augmented advising staff to help classmates stay connected and on-track with their academic programs and career goals.
The purpose of the teaching, research and service conducted by the College of Health Sciences remains unchanged, we educate the next generation of health professionals who advance life-long health. The current disruptions and challenges are sparking innovation across the college as we continue our work and strive for student success.
We know Idaho, our region and the nation are counting on Boise State graduates. We believe the impact of 2020 will make them uniquely strong, adaptable leaders and practitioners in ways we cannot yet imagine.
Dr. Tim Dunnagan
Dean, College of Health Sciences
A College Introduction from Our Students
Bachelor of Science in Public Health Student
Higher Education allows students to reflect about ourselves, make mistakes, grow as an individual and learn how we approach change and how we deal with our struggles. The College of Health Sciences believes in an equitable community, where all students are valued and provided guidance for their future, whether what is going to professional school or joining the workforce. Student success is fostered through community relationships, opportunity, and experience.
Throughout the rigorous coursework offered, as well as success to resources like academic advising and research opportunities, a variety of student clubs, and special presentations on relevant topics, students are able to develop into who they want to be. College of Health Sciences students help to set the bar of expectation and success throughout the entire university, because of our involvement and academic success. I believe Boise State’s College of Health Sciences helps to create and assist the next generation of the healthcare workforce.
Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Health Education and Promotion Student
The College of Health Sciences provides degree programs and resources specifically for students interested in pursuing a career pathway within the health field. The college supports students throughout their academic journey with advising, internships, leadership and research opportunities, beyond the classroom experiences, and networking. The college values and supports student growth.
Even with the struggles of the pandemic, the College of Health Sciences still strives to improve campus life and the community overall. Numerous events are still taking place such as the Career Fair and advising workshops. The College also assists students to be more involved within the community. This helps students to network with working professionals within their career interests and builds a foundation for students to grow, learn and be more involved whether on campus or off campus.
Fall 2020 Enrollment
There were 5,214 total students enrolled in the College of Health Sciences
University Health Services is focused on the health and wellness of the Boise State community with the mission of making Boise State America’s Healthiest Learning Environment.
Health Services was key to keeping our campus safe during the pandemic. Clinicians and counselors, as the frontline to campus health, collaborated with university leadership and the new Boise State Public Health Office to lead in initial COVID testing.
BroncoFit works to create a healthy campus and transitioned their programming to virtual events during the COVID pandemic. The office also prepared care packages for students who must quarantine in a university residence hall.
Counseling Services were expanded by telehealth to online students in Idaho just as the pandemic hit the state. As most university classes pivoted to virtual, students returned to their off-campus and/or out-of-state residences, and regulatory rules were lifted for the global pandemic. Counseling Services was able to broaden their reach to nearly all students regardless of state lines. The telehealth appointments have been highly utilized with a lower missed appointment rate.
At the onset of the pandemic, Boise State established a Public Health Office to lead the response to the COVID-19 crisis. COHS worked with the public health officers to help keep our campus safe for students, employees and visitors. At the start of the Fall 2020 semester, five COHS undergraduate students joined our Public Health Office’s contact tracing team. The students stepped up quickly to efficiently meet the growing campus need to determine where those who became exposed or infected with COVID may have come in contact with it.
The duties of contact tracers included assessing the need for:
Isolation and quarantine
Communicating and facilitating the separation of infectious and exposed individuals from campus and other people
Connecting with campus resources
These 5 COHS students helped grow the team to 25 in just a few months by:
Creating interview process
Developing training material
Training new staff
Students Helping Students
These students provided a unique ability to connect and relate to their peers who were struggling to deal with COVID-19. The success of this group also led to more opportunities for COHS students and graduates. One of the original five students was hired full-time after graduating in December 2020. Two additional COHS graduates and two undergraduate students have also been hired to join the Public Health Office’s contact tracing team.
COVID-19 forced faculty and administrators to find new ways to provide experiential learning to students. The College of Health Sciences provides two broad types of experiential learning – clinical, including simulation, and non-clinical internships. Both had to quickly pivot in spring 2020 to keep students on track for graduation.
The College of Health Sciences provides hands on clinical learning experiences through partnerships with healthcare providers across the country. In order to succeed, students must be able to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom in a real world setting while being supervised by an experienced practitioner. These practitioners, in partnership with the university, assist the student by setting expectations, providing effective feedback and appropriate opportunities to meet learning objectives.
“The radiologic sciences program does an amazing job preparing its students for the clinical environment. Once in the clinical environment the professors, clinical instructors, critique instructors, and technologists around the Treasure Valley work hard to create a positive learning environment for the students. It’s where I get to integrate all the knowledge I have gained and apply it to my practice today and in the future.”Sierra Blanke, Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences Student
458,031 total hours of clinical/field placements
Clinical and fieldwork experiences became a particular challenge as community partners needed to limit the number of extra people in their facilities and to address the shortage of personal protection equipment. Local health system partners worked with our leadership to adapt ho training facilities can be done safely, effectively, efficiently, and without drawing down their precious PPE inventories.
The ability to increase simulation clinical hours to compensate for reduced bedside clinic hours is crucial to help keep students on-track to graduate on time. As a stop-gap measure, nursing faculty and staff filmed skills simulation over the summer for remote clinical learning as a way to add safe simulation experiences for students to accumulate clinical hours.
“Clinical simulations have provided RT students with scenarios and a place to safely practice focused goals, as well as the opportunity to apply our knowledge, learn technique and build confidence.” Jory Reynolds, Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care Student
In response to Idaho Governor Brad Little’s goal to increase value-based healthcare payment contracts by 2023, the college created the Value-Based Healthcare Certificate Program. With this program and others, Boise State is becoming Idaho’s go-to resource for innovative payment models and healthcare education, advisory and reform.
Value-based healthcare is a delivery model where providers, including hospitals, clinics and physicians, receive payments based on patient health outcomes and the cost of care. Currently, most Americans receive fee-for-service care, which rewards providers delivering a large volume of services, rather than rewarding the quality of those services. Value-based payment agreements reward providers for helping patients to receive appropriate health screenings, benefits from preventative healthcare, improved health, reduced effects and incidences of chronic diseases, and live, overall, healthier lives.
The goal of value-based healthcare is to provide patients cost-effective care designed to avoid unnecessary services, duplicative testing or more expensive care than is medically necessary.
“This program is a game changer for anyone in healthcare who wants to adapt to the coming changes in delivery and reimbursement, but also get out ahead of it.” Steve LaForte, Director of Corporate Affairs and General Counsel at Cascadia Healthcare and Value-Based Healthcare Certificate Graduate
The Value-Based Healthcare Certificate Program is an innovative professional development program created in partnership with:
Boise State E-campus
Center for Professional Development
College of Health Sciences
First Year Impact on Idaho
60 students in all 7 of Idaho Health Districts will have completed the training.
Boise State’s Master of Social Work online degree is designed to prepare students for advanced social work practice with individuals and families. Students learn clinical, organizational, and policy skills necessary for promoting equality and enhancing the quality of life for all people. Our program provides the flexibility to get a master’s degree while remaining productive in their own community and comfortable in their own environment.
Wayne Brown, Master of Social Work Online Graduate, praised the flexibility of the program, saying, “I graduated from the online masters of social work while living in Montpelier, Idaho. At the same time as I was studying, I worked and took care of my mom who is 93 years old. It was difficult but the flexibility of the online program allowed me to stay at home in rural Idaho while pursuing my degree. Although it was a lot to manage, it allowed me to continue to take care of my mom while continuing my education. My favorite part of the program was working with the other students because even though we were all over the country we came together to learn with one another.”
When students engage in research with faculty, both the students and faculty benefit. Faculty get helpful assistance and students have a whole new world of experiential learning open to them. Students gain not only practical research skills, but an appreciation for the work, time and dedication researchers utilize in order to further our understanding of health, medicine and best practices for better patient care.
Student research positions are robustly funded through state and national grants, university funding, and private donations. Thirty-two students, 18 undergraduate and 14 graduate, held positions in 2020 funded through external grants.
“My research experience has helped me become a responsible consumer of information. I think it’s important to be responsibly disseminating information and it’s so invaluable.”Sarah McKiddy, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Student and Undergraduate Research Assistant
COHS Research Expenditures
2020: $3.9 million
Partnering with St. Luke’s Applied Research
Boise State University and St. Luke’s Applied Research have joined forces to study sport-related concussions in children and youth. They are attempting to identify markers and patterns of physiological recovery that may improve the safety of an athlete’s return to the playing field. Led by Department of Radiological Sciences faculty member Leslie Kendrick and St. Luke’s Concussion Clinic physician, Kurt Nilsson, the team is using a combination of MRI brain imaging and blood markers to assist in determining recuperation time.
National Institutes of Health Grants
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest biomedical research agency in the world. In 2020, we have four prestigious NIH grants:
($1,885,153) Randomized trial of a leadership and organizational change strategy to improve the implementation and sustainment of digital measurement-based care in youth mental health services (Project WISDOM)
($420,556) Generating Accurate Estimates of Required Sample Size for Multilevel Implementation Studies in Mental Health
($457,537) Measurement of Agricultural and Dietary Glyphosate Exposure Among Pregnant Women
Tyler Brown (Co-Investigator)
($111,694) Musculoskeletal adaptation of young and older adults in response to environmental, physical, and cognitive conditions.
Vital Support to Foster Our Success
Alumni and friends of Boise State provide vital support for the College of Health Sciences that fosters student success, advances Idaho, and strengthens a culture of innovation and global impact.
The gifts given in 2020 responded to immediate needs and long-term excellence. Scholarship gifts encouraged our students to pursue their dreams and removed financial barriers. Other gifts provided infrastructure and technology to advance research and teaching. While contributions to the College of Health Sciences Dean’s Fund for Excellence funded new academic programs, clinical equipment, and enriched the student experience.
We are grateful for the generous contributions given to the College of Health Sciences and the confidence they represent in our work and in our students.
Please let us know how your family or business would like to help. Contact our advancement team to explore the opportunities to make your impact at Boise State.