Health professions programs expand to Traverse City

A classroom that is used for health professions programs at Grand Valley's Traverse City Regional Center.
A classroom that is used for health professions programs at Grand Valley's Traverse City Regional Center.

Grand Valley State University will expand its Master of Public Health and Bachelor of Allied Health Sciences programs to the university's regional center in Traverse City. 

Theresa Bacon-Baguley, associate dean for research in the College of Health Professions, said the decision to expand these two programs to Traverse City is based on the need for professionals to fill critical, health-related positions and for more educational health programs in northern Michigan. 

The Master's in Public Health (MPH) program will focus on health promotion, a branch of public health that promotes health through education, intervention and policy work. The program will address how to identify specific needs of a community, and create ways to elevate its health status and reduce disparities.

Heather Wallace, an assistant professor who is working on the Traverse City expansion, said the program is the first of its kind to be offered to people living and working in the Traverse City area. 

"Graduates will gain a toolbox of knowledge and skills, which are in high demand right now," Wallace said. "They will learn valuable skills like how to incorporate new wellness policies at a company and how to evaluate use of resources in a way that promotes efficiency and effectiveness. I see our graduates going on to work for many types of workplaces, including governmental agencies and private companies."

About 15 applicants will be admitted in the first cohort; applications are being accepted until May 1. Classes will begin in fall 2016. 

Enrollment for the allied health sciences program is now open and classes will also begin in fall 2016. 

Michael Wambach, assistant professor and chair of allied health sciences, said the program was designed to complement Grand Valley's Master of Physician Assistant Studies program that is also offered in Traverse City. 

"This will allow students interested in physician assistant studies to partake in both our undergraduate and graduate curriculum in a more seamless manner," said Wambach. 

Roy Olsson, dean of the College of Health Professions, said expansion of the programs is part of an ongoing effort to place more graduates in jobs in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The physician assistant studies program expanded to Traverse City in 2015; the first cohort began classes last fall. 

For more information, visit the Traverse City Regional Center website at