Sullivan University launching associates degree in community health services

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sullivan University has recently developed an associate of science (A.S.) degree in community health services and enrollment is expected to begin in the fall of 2019.

“Community health services are about bringing health-related programs and education directly to individuals and groups,” said Anthony Piña, Ed.D., associate provost for Instruction and Online Learning at Sullivan University. “It is a program that will promote general health awareness and help people maintain healthier lifestyles.”

“This allows Sullivan University to offer a more generalized program in community and public health,” Dr. Piña said. “Most of our degrees tend to be highly specialized, especially with our health-related degrees. We are excited to be able to offer a more transfer-friendly and broader scoped degree.”

Sullivan has also announced a new community health services articulation agreement with Eastern Kentucky-based Addiction Recovery Care, Inc., (ARC). ARC operates a network of state-licensed residential and outpatient drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers throughout eastern Kentucky.

The agreement allows for graduates of the ARC Peer Support Specialist Academy to be awarded undergraduate elective credit that can be transferred into the community health services A.S. program, which is nearly one-third of the total credit hours for the new degree. The credits can also be applied toward bachelor’s degrees offered by Sullivan.

The Peer Support Specialist Academy is a six-month full-time residential program that allows those in treatment at ARC to earn college-level credit that can transfer to Sullivan University. The program is a partnership involving Sullivan, ARC, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR). Graduates are certified by the Commonwealth of Kentucky as Peer Support Specialists.

“This is a monumental shift in the combination of addiction treatment and education opportunities,” said ARC Chief-of-Staff Matt Brown. “Someone can literally come into our program as a needle user and on day one, and at no cost to them, begin compiling up to 28 credit hours that will put them to almost a third of the way toward an Associate degree.”

“That will lead to not only job opportunities but also a whole new way of life for people who may have felt they did not have much to live for,” Brown said. “Every day that I go to work I see people who have benefited from the Peer Support Specialist Academy. They used to feel hopeless and now they have their kids back, they are gainfully employed, they are pursuing a career, they are purchasing cars and homes and they have a brand-new chance at life because of this program and their commitment to self-improvement.”

ARC and Sullivan have a successful long-standing relationship, working together to provide education and career opportunities. The Sullivan University Louisa Learning Center in Lawrence County – which is directly across the street from ARC’s Louisa facility – offers discounted tuition rates to ARC graduates and employees.

“We have been amazed at Sullivan’s innovation and ability to partner and innovate,” Brown said. “They have exhibited an incredible nimbleness in creating a whole new program for the Peer Support Specialist Academy.”

Piña stressed that Sullivan’s education model is beneficial for students like those in the Peer Support Specialist Academy.

“This program is going to change lives because we will be taking people from recovery to a career,” Piña said. “Among many different types of students, Sullivan is built for the working professional and the student who is trying to get into a new career; maybe someone for whom the higher education system did not work out the first time around. That’s one type of student who can succeed at Sullivan.”

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