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For students in the College of Human Sciences Department of Nutritional Sciences, a new offering featuring a condensed curriculum is now available thanks to a recent partnership between the College of Human Sciences and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) that allows eligible students to pursue a career in healthcare as a certified anesthesiologist assistant (CAA).

The pre-anesthesia assistant program is beneficial for incoming students because it permits students to take only three years of undergraduate classes before starting the VCOM Bluefield’s Master of Health Science in Anesthesia (MHSA) program. If following the Pre-AA curriculum model beginning freshman year, this will allow a student to begin the application process for the MHSA program during their junior year.

In total, the pre-anesthesia assistant program is three years of undergraduate work followed by two and a half years in the MHSA program.

"Taking a nutritional sciences foundation into the position of an Anesthesiology Assistant bodes well for the profession and the patient.”

Linda Bruner, College of Human Sciences Student Services Coordinator

Linda Bruner, who serves as the student services coordinator within the College of Human Sciences, has been advising pre-health students for the past eight years and the demand to major in Nutritional Sciences has continued to increase. She estimates an increased interest of nearly 85 percent for students in Human Sciences pursuing professional health programs that include dental, medical, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistant.

“Studying Nutritional Sciences allows students to set themselves apart from other applicants to the medical field, and this will prove highly beneficial to the patient as well,” Bruner said. “Studies show a lack of nutritional education in curriculum for the medical profession, even though nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Taking a nutritional sciences foundation into the position of an Anesthesiology Assistant bodes well for the profession and the patient.”

Another positive trend in the past eight years for Nutritional Sciences students is the placement rate to various medical professions, including dental, pharmacy, occupational and physical therapies among others, stands at 100 percent.

This Pre-AA program gives Nutritional Sciences students another professional program to pursue adding to the ongoing list of medical careers that continue to be in high demand year after year.

Interested students seeking more information on the Nutritional Science Pre-Anesthesia Assistant Program and Master of Health Science in Anesthesia (MHSA) Program can be found at