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Human Physiology & Preventive Medicine Major/Minor

Paving the Way for Preventive Medicine

Designed specifically for students interested in applying to professional healthcare schools—including medical school, dentistry school, physician’s assistant school, physical therapy school, occupational therapy school, chiropractic school, optometry school, and other allied healthcare graduate schools—Taylor’s Human Physiology & Preventive Medicine major builds a basic foundation in human anatomy, physiology, cellular biology, and chemistry and provides plenty of hands-on patient-care opportunities. You will also establish a background in human nutrition, health psychology, public health, and exercise as medicine.

Human Physiology and Preventive Medicine majors are immersed in an interdisciplinary program that will equip them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement preventive medicine in their future career and be accepted into well-known graduate healthcare programs. This will give them the competitive edge to succeed in the professional healthcare school of their choice, and the clinical and professional experiences to begin exploring what a career in health care might look like for them.

A Need for Preventive Medical Programs

According to the Center for Disease Control, seven out of the ten leading causes of death are chronic diseases—preventable diseases developed by poor lifestyle choices—which account for 81% of hospital admissions, 91% of all prescriptions filled, and 76% of all physician visits leading to approximately 86% of all health care costs.

To combat chronic disease, Taylor’s Human Physiology & Preventive Medicine major teaches students to approach medicine through “traditional” means and lifestyle modification. With current estimates suggesting that 80% of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and 40% of cancers could be prevented by a holistic understanding of health, the preventive medicine component of this program seeks to prepare undergraduates for their future as medical practitioners after professional or graduate school.

Pursuing Healthy Solutions

Our Human Physiology and Preventive Medicine majors have the opportunity to serve in several on-campus healthcare programs and off-campus practicum and internship opportunities. Each of these programs allow our students to receive direct experience in real patient care, while being supervised by committed and passionate faculty and healthcare experts.

  • InVitATION: a preventive medicine program that focuses on preventing and treating chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes. Students work with patients under the supervision of their professors in the Upland Diagnostic Center across the street from Taylor.
  • Cardiac Rehab: a stage-four cardiac rehab program on campus through IU Health where students can work with patients who have rehabilitated beyond hospital care, but still could benefit from rehab supervision
  • Internship at Indiana University Health Ball: a partnership where our students intern with the IU Health medical team in their Cardiopulmonary, Bariatric, and Oncology departments
  • Internships at Marion General Hospital: a partnership where our students intern in emergency care, general surgery, anesthesiology, family practice, cardiology and urology.

Advanced University Physiology Classes

The advanced physiology courses in this major will give you in-depth opportunities to study specific, inter-related physiological systems and how they are affected by a variety of chronic human diseases and conditions. We also will examine current treatment options and preventative approaches. In this major, you will take advanced physiology classes, such as:

  • Cardiorespiratory Physiology and Chronic Disease – Explore the physiology of the cardiac, respiratory, and vascular systems; the pathophysiology of the most common cardiorespiratory diseases; and the current evidence and mechanisms for disease prevention through lifestyle modification.
  • Neuromuscular Physiology and Chronic Disease – Examine physiology of the central and peripheral nervous system (with specific emphasis on neuromuscular control), the pathophysiology of the most common neurological and neuromuscular diseases (i.e. stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and mental illness), and the current evidence and mechanisms for disease prevention through lifestyle modification.
  • Pathophysiology of Immunological and Metabolic Chronic Diseases – Study the pathophysiology of immunological and metabolic chronic diseases with specific emphasis on cancer, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity, and frailty—as well as the major organ systems most commonly impacted by those diseases and current evidence and mechanisms for disease prevention through lifestyle modification.
  • Senior Capstone – Add to the theological and philosophical underpinnings of human health and medicine, and research a specific chronic disease and present an in-depth presentation of the current scientific evidence for disease prevention. This course culminates in a multi-day retreat where students give their presentations and engage discussions centered around their philosophies on human health, human flourishing, and the practice of medicine.

* The small amount of course hours in this major intentionally provides flexibility for Human Physiology and Preventive Medicine majors to take specific pre-requisites courses required for the health professional program of their choice while also participating in clinical experiences, undergraduate research opportunities, and international experiences.

Minor in Preventive Medicine

If you prefer to follow a more traditional path to professional school in medicine and healthcare (i.e. biology, chemistry or psychology) or hope to use medical studies to direct your major toward a health-related career (social work, music therapy, missions), you may wish to add a minor in preventive medicine. Students who complete the Preventive Medicine minor will establish a basic understanding of traditional and lifestyle preventive medicine and gain valuable experience in a local diabetes and chronic disease prevention program.

Human Physiology & Preventive Medicine Curriculum & Degree Options

Students interested in course descriptions and academic policies can check out our Undergraduate Catalog here.

Contact the Program Directors & Advisors

Dr. Erik Hayes, Professor of Kinesiology

Dr. Brian Dewar, Associate Professor of Biology