Getting to Know Your Community College Consortium: Part 2, Region B

Walter D. Di Mantova and Linda L. Zorn | March 30, 2011

As part of a series on the Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Professionals Program, this blog post highlights the activities and accomplishments of the students and community colleges in Region B. 

About Region B

By: Walter D. Di Mantova and Linda L. Zorn

Walter D. Di Mantova is the Workforce and Economic Development Director at the Los Rios Business and Economics Development Center in Sacramento, CA. Linda L. Zorn is the Director of Health Workforce Initiative (Formerly RHORC)-Butte College, Co-Chair North Far North Regional Consortium and Director Tech Prep and School Relations in Chico, CA.

The Western Region Health IT Program (WRHealthIT) is made up of 14 community colleges in Arizona, Nevada, California, and Hawaii. These participating colleges include:

  • Butte College, Oroville, CA
  • Cosumnes River College. Sacramento, CA
  • Mission College, San Jose, CA
  • Fresno City College, Fresno, CA
  • Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA
  • Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA
  • San Diego Mesa College, San Diego, CA
  • Cypress College, Cypress, CA
  • East Los Angeles City College, Monterey Park, CA
  • Maricopa/Gateway Community College, Phoenix, AZ
  • Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ
  • College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
  • University of Hawaii/Kapiolani CC, Honolulu, HI

The purpose of the Region B Community College Consortia Program is to prepare a skilled workforce of health IT professionals to assist hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices with the installation, maintenance, and deployment of electronic health record (EHR) systems. By the end of next year, the Western Health IT Regional Consortium will produce 4,200 highly trained health IT implementation professionals. These workers will be prepared to join the 21st Century health care team to promote safe, effective, and efficient care in a streamlined, integrated, and patient-centered health care system.

All of the colleges in Region B provide training in an online format. Some of the colleges also have on-campus components for lab content and/or open study sessions and group work. Two of the colleges (Orange Coast College and Maricopa GateWay College) specifically identify themselves as hybrid online/on-site programs.

The curriculum offered by the consortia members will prepare students to take on one of the target roles through certificate programs that can be completed in six months or less. These roles consist of six skill sets defined by ONC:

  1. Practice workflow/information redesign
  2. Clinician/practitioner
  3. Implementation support specialist
  4. Implementation managers
  5. Tech software support
  6. Trainers

These new career paths offer health practitioners and information technology professionals an excellent opportunity to combine their interests in health information, business, and computer information science. Employment opportunities are available in long-term care, ambulatory care, and acute care facilities; state and federal health agencies; and EHR vendors.

Our Students

Region B students come from diverse backgrounds and have different levels of professional experience. Our student body includes individuals with backgrounds in health care, IT or both.

For example, Brian Weathersby served five years in the U.S. Air Force and earned a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Technology Management. He currently works in the informatics field for a major company, but jumped at the chance to participate in a formal program combining medicine and technology. He finds he is able to apply many of the lessons immediately in his work. He believes the health care information technology certificate program at Cosumnes River College will prepare him move into product or process management.

Tory Berger who earned his certificate in implementation management at Santa Monica College (SMC)  in February 2011, came into the program with an IT background. The program enabled him to connect with leaders in health IT, including the Southern California chapter of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Before he had even received his certificate, he conducted a webinar for students at SMC and other colleges on how to find employment and internships in the field.

Terry Magden came to the Management of Clinical Technology Program at GateWay Community College in Phoenix, AZ with an extensive health care and IT background, including 14 years in IT project management and 15 years in health care administration. Although he had previously earned a master’s degree in Hospital and Health Administration and another in Counseling Education at the University of Iowa, he saw the certificate program as a chance to update his skills in both health administration and information technology.

These students and their classmates are well prepared to join an ongoing and evolving health IT workforce to meet current and evolving needs of health care in the 21st century.

For More Information

Interested in learning more about College Consortium programs in Region B? Visit http://wrhealthit.org/for more information.

Feel free to send us an email or fill out an interest form to be considered for the Health Information Technology Program.

Not sure which colleges are participating near you? Contact the consortium leader for your geographical area.

Look for more blogs about the other regions participating in the consortium in future Health IT Buzz blogs. We encourage you to post any comments below.

The stories in this blog post were submitted with permission on February 12, 2010.