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According to a study from the National Center for Education Statistics, 92 million adults in the United States are enrolled in some type of educational program, with approximately two-thirds of them taking a work-related course. As the New American University, Arizona State University is committed to expanding access to education on all levels, reaching both degree-seeking and noncredit learners.
ASU’s Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) program looks to provide learning pathways for individuals to obtain relevant skills sought to reach lifelong professional and career goals. The university offers more than 450 continuing education courses, with more than 12,000 learners in the last year in topics ranging from business, education, science and sustainability.
Through the expansion of the CPE course offerings, Mayo Clinic and ASU Alliance for Health Care have launched “Health and Wellness Series: Mind and Body I,” the first in a series of continuing education courses to be offered through the partnership, which was first announced in 2016.
Teri Pipe, chief well-being officer for ASU, and Scott Walston, senior director of partnership development at Mayo Clinic Global Business Solutions, recently spoke about this innovative collaboration that provides lifelong learners access to the recognized world leader in patient care, education and research and the nation’s most innovative university.
Question: What has been the collaboration between ASU and Mayo Clinic for this course?
Scott Walston: Personally, it’s been very rewarding being a part of this collaboration — "Mind & Body I" is hopefully only the first of many courses in the series. The collaboration between Mayo Clinic’s Global Business Solutions’ team and the group from the ASU Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience, as well as the ASU Continuing Education team, has really proven to be powerful mix of talent. It’s been a smooth experience, but I think it’s come somewhat naturally for all of us given we’re all invested in the mission of empowering people to invest in themselves through knowledge.
Teri Pipe: This series is an example of taking the strengths of both organizations and using them together to bring value to the course participants. Mayo Clinic and ASU's Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience both contributed to the content, and EdPlus provided expertise in instructional design, bringing the content to life in exciting ways. Mayo Clinic and ASU will be able to offer the course to constituents from our various stakeholder groups.
Q: What is the importance of these topics and what benefit does the ASU and Mayo Clinic partnership bring to deliver this content?
Walston: Health and wellness is an ever-growing space for new companies, news, research, scientific advancement, and personal interest — and not just in the U.S.; it’s really a global conversation. Sleep, nutrition, fitness, and stress are just a handful of key themes. We feel strongly that there is a responsibility to invest in ourselves but also work together collectively to improve health outcomes for larger populations. In combining Mayo Clinic’s expertise in health and wellness with ASU’s proficiency in designing and delivering continuing education, we feel we can help people develop practical skills for healthier, happier living.
Pipe: The topics are important because they impact so many people, sometimes in very serious ways. The partnership brings both organizations' depth of expertise and innovative educational approaches in ways that add value and in ways that are more expansive when used together.
Q: What audience are you looking to reach with this course? What can students expect to learn?
Walston: The coursework we’re offering can really bring tangible value to anyone and everyone, but we feel there’s significant value for those students and individuals looking to develop a competitive edge in their training and career in the health and wellness arena. The series of courses will also be promoted through corporate partner programs to help improve the health and wellness of employee populations.
Pipe: The course was designed with a very broad audience in mind. We wanted to make it accessible and practical for a wide variety of people, from emerging adults, employee groups (for use in workplace health initiatives), older adults, parents and people who are very active in their lives with time constraints to manage. Students can expect to learn how stress impacts the mind/body/performance and ways to manage daily stress. There is content on mindfulness, compassion (including self-compassion), resilience, physical activity, nutrition and restoration.
Q: This is the first continuing education course developed through the ASU and Mayo Clinic partnership. How do you see this partnership playing a role in the continuing education space?
Walston: This is a really exciting opportunity for both ASU and Mayo Clinic, and we’re proud to enter into this relationship with the intention of leveraging our synergistic areas of expertise and brand reach to positively impact the lives of those seeking to further their education in health and wellness. Our goal is to provide high-quality continuing education that has been co-developed by one of the top educational institutions in the U.S. and one of the world’s leading health care organizations. For those who choose to invest in the coursework, they can expect to broaden their knowledge across multiple health and wellness topics through original content developed over more than a century by clinical physicians, scientific researchers and experts in the field.
Q: What is the goal of the course? And how did you decide on this as the first course in the series?
Pipe: The overarching goal of the series is to provide practical ways for individuals to reach the next step in their personal quest for well-being and health. More specifically, the goal is to provide an overview of how daily stress impacts people in terms of performance, thinking ability and physical health and to offer very accessible and practical tools to increase personal and professional well-being. The decision to start with this content was based on the fact that so many people express a desire to address their well-being more effectively, particularly in terms of mental and physical aspects of health. There is broad recognition that well-being impacts our personal and professional performance and that the daily choices we make can have a powerful impact.
Q: I understand some of the course content came from the Mayo Clinic library of resources. Do you see a benefit to sharing this content through a continuing education style course?
Walston: Education is at the very core of Mayo Clinic’s mission — in fact, it’s so ingrained in the culture of Mayo Clinic that it is one of the three shields that are a part of our logo. For more than 150 years, Mayo Clinic has been building an incredibly rich library of content across tens of thousands of topics. Until now, Mayo Clinic didn’t have a mechanism for delivering this valuable educational material to consumers on a broad scale. And given ASU had the delivery platform but not the content, the relationship just makes sense.
Q: How many courses will be included in the Health and Wellness series and what topics are you looking to cover in the future?
Pipe: There are many ideas about topics to cover in the future, including the very important health topic of sleep. Topics will generally be those that impact many people across life situations, and are issues that can be addressed at least in part, by increasing a learner's understanding of practical lifestyle approaches they can take to support their own health and well-being.