Teaching Interdisciplinary Collaboration to the Next Generation: UNB’s New Undergraduate Bachelor of Health Program
While not a research project, the recent launch of the University of New Brunswick’s Bachelor of Health program was another demonstration of the interdisciplinary collaborations that continue to thrive at the Tucker Park campus. The new four-year undergraduate program is unique in Canada, and just welcomed its first cohort of twenty-plus students this September.
"This was exactly the type of program that I was looking for when I left high school, but it didn’t exist. The Bachelor of Health program took a long time to develop, but what we’ve created is arguably the most unique interdisciplinary program in Canada. Students taking this program will learn to look at health through different lenses – the biomedical, health and society, business, as well as acknowledging Indigenous ways of knowing – and because of that, learn to come up with innovative and creative solutions to issues we see in healthcare today. Even though the students choose a concentration by Year 2, the program is such that they maintain their interdisciplinary focus throughout the four years. It’s a great structure for any student with an interest in health, preparing them for immediate employment or further studies in medical, health professional or graduate school."
Throughout their degree, there are opportunities for hands-on learning with labs and community-based research projects. Students from the three majors then converge during their final year on a capstone course; the interdisciplinary groups analyze and address a real-world health problem as they will do once working in their chosen fields. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary for success in a variety of careers in the health sector. The program is also comprehensive preparation for further professional or graduate studies. All students complete core courses covering the biological and social determinants of health, current health issues and the management of healthcare services.
While the program itself is unique in Canada, its location is equally distinctive. The University of New Brunswick Saint John campus is located at Tucker Park, steps away from Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital, and the Allied Health Building for the New Brunswick Community College. This provides access directly to world-class researchers who already work in a collaborative spirit and approach health research from different, but complementary perspectives.