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Health Studies

Danielle Blanch Hartigan, is social scientist with interdisciplinary research and teaching interests in psychology and public health.

Why do you enjoy teaching health- and science-related courses at a business university?

Teaching health at a business university is an amazing opportunity to teach the next generation about issues of health and health care. With $2 trillion spent each year — 17.9 percent of our GDP — and one out of every eight employees in the health-care sector, I know many of my students will end up working in this space and become the future leaders in this industry. 

What skills do graduates leave with that help them make an impact in health-care-related fields?

Students leave our Health Studies program and health-related courses with the ability to communicate broadly across the health-care sector. From an understanding of basic scientific concepts, to an appreciation for of the complexities of our health-care system, they are extremely well-positioned.

Which course is your favorite to teach and why?

My favorite course is Health Psychology. When I arrived on campus, I changed the focus of the course to apply more directly to business students. We discuss the role of health-care reform in the patient’s care experience. We discuss the economic and public health implications of new health technologies like mobile health applications and new public health challenges like the growth of e-cigarettes.

Based on a blog post you recently wrote, you expect electronic medical records to improve the health-care treatment of cancer and related diseases, but there are privacy concerns. Do classes at Bentley explore these kinds of topics?

Definitely. We have an entire lecture in my health psychology course about the role of new technology in health-care delivery and health promotion. We explore the positive and negative aspects of mobile apps, wearable technology, and other mHealth interventions, both nationally and globally. Students work in small groups to design an app to improve health behavior and present to the class.

Where do you think business can have the biggest impact on the health industry? 

In my area, which involves the promotion of healthy behaviors and improvement of healthcare quality from the patient’s perspective, researchers have come up with innovative and evidence-based solutions to some of our greatest challenges. However, many of these successful interventions never get widely implemented. We need the business sectorto work with scientists and researchers to help disseminate and scale successful programs in a way that’s cost-effective and engaging to patients.  

What types of careers do your students typically pursue?

Students in our Health Studies program and other health-related programs at Bentley are well-positioned for many types of careers, including health-care management and policy, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and public health. Students can be successful in their careers and know they are working to improve the health-care system and make a difference to the patient experience.