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Health Science Foundations: 4 Best Curriculum Options

June 30th, 2022 | 8 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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As a teacher in a CTE health careers program, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to teach a course on the foundations of health science. Health Science Foundations is one of the most common courses future medical workers take because it introduces them to many of the core concepts they’ll need to succeed.

Through working every day with teachers, we know that finding the right Health Science Foundations curriculum for your learners is critical. If they don’t master the fundamentals now, they won’t be prepared for advanced classes and health science certifications.

In this post, you’ll discover four of the best health science foundations curriculum options available to educators:

  1. NCHSE Curriculum Enhancements
  2. Health Science Foundations Course from Apex Learning
  3. Health Science Foundations from eDynamic Learning
  4. DHO Health Science

After reading, you’ll have a more complete understanding of these options so you can determine which is best for your classroom.

1. NCHSE Curriculum Enhancements

Precision Exams - NCHSE

The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) is a professional organization dedicated to providing health science educators with the resources, training, and professional development to succeed in the classroom.

They offer the NCHSE Curriculum Enhancements, which are a bundle of resources from many different sources designed to align with the National Health Science Standards

Both the NCHSE standards and the curriculum enhancements cover these subjects:

  1. Academic Foundations
  2. Communications
  3. Systems
  4. Employability Skills
  5. Legal Responsibilities
  6. Ethics
  7. Safety Practices
  8. Teamwork
  9. Health Maintenance Practices
  10. Technical Skills
  11. Information Technology in Healthcare

The Curriculum Enhancements include material created by individual health science educators, curriculum developers, and publishers. They come in an array of media formats, including:

  • Lesson outlines
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Classroom activities
  • Digital assessments
  • Current event articles
  • Writing prompts for students
  • Augmented reality learning resources

How Much Does this Curriculum Resource Cost and Who Is It For?

The NCHSE Curriculum Enhancements are available from the consortium’s website for $500. If you teach in a NCHSE member state or are a member of the Health Science Educators Association (HSEA), you’ll be able to purchase the materials at this discounted price of $350.

The curriculum enhancements are full of great resources from various providers, from teachers to curriculum publishers and developers. There’s a good chance you’ll find many resources you can use to build or supplement your health science foundations curriculum.

However, since it comes from many different sources, the NCHSE Enhancements don’t provide a cohesive learning experience as working with materials from a single publisher. It’ll be up to you to connect the dots for your students.

2. Health Science Foundations Curriculum from Apex Learning

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Apex Learning is a popular provider of digital curriculum solutions for CTE classrooms. They publish a series of standalone, computer-based courses for students to study a variety of subjects, including health science.

The Apex Learning Health Science Foundations class is a core course in the CTE healthcare professions pathway. It introduces students to many of the fundamental concepts and skills they’ll need to work cross-functionally in medical teams, from working in emergency situations to addressing infection control.

This foundations of health science class is designed as a full-year course that you can teach over two semesters, with students covering six content units each semester.

The Apex Learning course contains 12 total units:

  1. Health, Disease, and Health Care Industry
  2. Careers in the Health Sciences
  3. Teamwork in Health Care
  4. Health Care Communication and Records
  5. Safety and Wellness
  6. Health Sciences Wrap-Up
  7. The Body in Harmony
  8. The Tools of the Trade
  9. Patient Safety
  10. Emergencies
  11. Beyond the Basics
  12. Intermediate Health Sciences Wrap-Up

How Much Does This Health Science Curriculum Cost and Who Is It For?

Because Apex Learning does not publicly list their prices, you’ll need to contact them directly for an accurate price if you wish to use their Health Science Foundations course in your program.

This course is a good choice for an instructor looking to teach a full-year Health Science Foundations course who is willing to use a set digital program to teach students. If you cover all the units, you should be able to meet your health science foundations standards.

On the other hand, it isn’t a good fit for the teacher looking for flexibility or who wants to cover multiple classes in the health science pathway using a comprehensive curriculum system.

3. Health Science Foundations Courses from eDynamic Learning

eDynamic Learning Acquires Knowledge Matters, the Leading Provider of  Career Simulations

eDynamic Learning is another notable developer of digital courses for students in Career and Technical Education programs. Like Apex Learning, eDynamic Learning focuses on creating standalone classes for students to study particular topics within a health science pathway.

For the health science foundations curriculum, eDynamic Learning divides its curriculum into two separate, semester-long courses, Health Science Foundations 1a: Introduction and Health Science Foundations 1b: Professional Responsibilities.

Health Science Foundations 1a: Introduction

As the first course in a two-course sequence, Health Science Foundations 1a: Introduction handles the most fundamental concepts students need to master to pursue careers in health science.

This semester, students will study content across these eight units:

  1. Considering a Career in Healthcare? Finding the Right Role
  2. Healthcare Today: The Business of Caring
  3. Anatomy, Physiology, and Medical Terminology in a Nutshell
  4. Growth and Development Throughout the Lifespan
  5. Health and Wellness
  6. Effective Communication in Healthcare
  7. Health and the Law
  8. Ethical Responsibilities

After the first semester, students should have a good idea of the scope of a worker in the medical field.

Health Science Foundations 1b: Professional Responsibilities

The second course in the eDynamic Learning sequence delves into the more technical and day-to-day aspects of working in a healthcare setting. 

In this semester, students learn content in these eight units:

  1. Health, Safety, Security
  2. Infection Control
  3. Bloodborne Pathogens
  4. Signs of Life: Vital Signs and CPR
  5. Data, Measurement, and Math
  6. Technology in Healthcare
  7. Teamwork and Leadership
  8. Employability in Healthcare

Following the second semester, students should have a broad understanding of the foundations of health science and be ready for more advanced coursework.

How Much Does this Curriculum Resource Cost and Who Is It For?

Since eDynamic Learning doesn’t list their price information, you’ll have to contact their sales department to determine what it will cost your school.

Overall, the eDynamic courses could be a good fit for a teacher looking for content in one semester, but you’ll likely need to purchase both classes in the sequence to cover all of your standards.

This option works well for teachers who want to rely on a primarily digital learning experience for their students and don’t want the benefits of a comprehensive curriculum system. These instructors typically wouldn’t teach multiple courses or need to tailor content to meet their standards.

If you’re teaching more than just health science foundations, you may find that these individual courses don’t meet all of your curriculum needs.

4. DHO Health Science

DHO Health Science, 9th Edition - Cengage

Previously known as Diversified Health Occupations, DHO Health Science is a leading health science textbook used in classrooms nationwide.

For many years, DHO has been a mainstay in health science classrooms. The text has gone through numerous editions to keep up with educational and medical standards changes, with the most recent edition published in 2021. Published by Cengage, DHO is authored by Louise Simmers, Karen Simmers-Nartker, and Sharon Simmers-Kobelak.

DHO is a substantial health science textbook covering a broad array of topics students may encounter when working in medicine. Because it is so encompassing and adaptable, many teachers use it to meet standards for Health Science Foundations.

DHO Health Science includes 24 chapters divided into two parts:

Part 1 - Basic Health Care Concepts features the first 18 chapters of the book. This portion of DHO helps teach basic concepts and skills any healthcare professional will need to know. This includes topics like infection control, vital signs, medical terminology, and cultural diversity.

Part 2 - Special Health Care Skills includes the final six chapters of DHO. These chapters focus more on specific skills needed in certain professions, such as nurse assisting or physical therapy.

With the amount of content available, most teachers will find plenty of material to adapt to their foundations courses.

How Much Does this Curriculum Resource Cost and Who Is It For?

If you purchase DHO Health Science for your classroom, you’ll have to pay per book for the hardcover text or per digital copy for the eBook. The physical book costs $189 per copy.

Ultimately, DHO Health Science is often the go-to volume for teachers who want to rely on a traditional textbook for all or part of their foundations of health science curriculum. The medical terminology sections and skills demonstrations are great resources and can even be used with another curriculum system.

On the other hand, many teachers find that relying on a paper book alone can make students less engaged in the classroom. These teachers may find that a comprehensive curriculum system that uses blended learning strategies is more effective for their learners.

Satisfy All of Your Standards with a Comprehensive Curriculum System

When choosing which health science foundations curriculum is most appropriate, you’ll have to think about the specific needs of your program and students.

For instance, if you’re looking for a specific curriculum solution to fulfill a need solely for a foundations of health science class, any one of these resources could be the right pick.

However, most health science teachers who cover introductory courses also have other courses they need to meet standards for. If you teach multiple classes, consider a comprehensive curriculum system that teaches students the foundations of health science while preparing them for advanced content and certifications.

HealthCenter21 AES gives teachers the ability to teach courses across the entire health science CTE pathway. When you learn more about what classes you can teach with AES, you’ll be able to determine if it’s a good choice for your program.What Health Science Classes Can I Teach with AES?