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King University News :: King University Establishes New School of Behavioral and Health Sciences to Meet Healthcare Industry Needs

In response to a nationwide demand for qualified medical and health services specialists, King University announces the creation of the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences. The new school will enable King to establish regional partnerships to meet the current and projected needs of the healthcare industry.

The School of Behavioral and Health Sciences will bring together King’s existing programs of Healthcare Administration, Athletic Training, Physical Education (non-licensure), Criminal Justice, Psychology, Security and Intelligence Studies, and Youth Ministry, while adding three new degree programs to the institution’s offerings. The new planned programs include Health Informatics, Community Health and Counseling.

King University will partner with regional community colleges, hospital systems, healthcare councils, private industry, law enforcement agencies and churches to provide transformative educational opportunities for Behavioral and Health Sciences students in both on-ground and online formats. 

“The School of Behavioral and Health Sciences is an integral part of King University’s commitment to provide relevant educational programs in the 21st century,” says Dr. Greg Jordan, president of King University. “By 2020, it is estimated that one of every five dollars spent in the United States will be on healthcare.” 

In a November 2012 paper, the King Institute for Regional Economic Studies (KIRES) reported that from

2002 to 2011, employment in the healthcare sector rose about 48 percent in the Tri-Cities, while employment in all other sectors fell almost 5 percent. The healthcare sector accounted directly for 13.4 percent of total employment in the Tri-Cities and for 18.3 percent of annual wages received by employees in all occupations. Directly and indirectly, the healthcare sector accounts for 21.8 percent of total employment in the Tri-Cities.

“The School of Behavioral and Health Sciences has been designed to align with the current needs of the healthcare industry as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industry leaders and educational trends,” says Dr. Mark Overbay, dean of the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences at King University. “Versatile and flexible enough to adapt to the changing healthcare climate, this new school will interface with local and regional healthcare constituencies to determine how the University may best serve the surrounding communities and beyond.”

One of the new degree offerings, Health Informatics, is often referred to as Health Information Technology (HIT). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator, current estimates place the nationwide HIT workforce shortage at 50,000 jobs by 2015.

Additionally, the United States continues to see a growing need in mental healthcare and restorative justice programs. King University’s Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Security and Intelligence Studies programs often intersect and overlap with health industry needs. The School of Behavioral and Health Sciences will allow for inter-disciplinary and cooperative education to take place among the various degree programs, providing graduates the skill sets necessary to serve the myriad needs of the community. 

“This unique cross collaboration allows greater leverage of existing university resources and contributes to an improved flexibility in creating curriculum that is sensitive to industry needs,” says Dr. Matt Roberts, dean of Academic Affairs for King University. “The partnerships between faculty and programs will not be limited to the new School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, but will expand across all of the established schools within King University.”

An example of these efforts is the Health Informatics Program, which will use faculty and resources from the Information Technology Program, as well as course offerings and instruction from the School of Nursing. 

King University is headquartered in Bristol, Tenn., and has established 14 campuses and locations across Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. King University also offers degree programs online. 


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, digital media, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.