• 48°

Camp graduates fourth class of certified medical assistants

By Wendy Harrison

SUFFOLK

Camp Community College recently celebrated 15 graduates who earned credentials from the Fast Track Healthcare program.

The program is offered through Camp’s Division of Workforce Development and is a curriculum that bundles Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, Certified Phlebotomy Technician and Certified EKG Technician in order to graduate students who can fill needed jobs in the college’s service region. Sessions are alternatively taught on the Franklin and Hobbs Suffolk campuses.

This ceremony marked the fourth class to graduate from the program and the second class from the Suffolk location since the first students earned their credentials on the Franklin Campus in July 2018. Thirteen of the students completed the CCMA, while 14 finished CET and 15 earned the CPT credential.

For Cynthia Person, this program opened doors to opportunities that would allow her to earn a paycheck. The 55-year-old dislocated worker had earned a living for more than 35 years at AEC Narrow Fabrics in Boykins, formerly Narricot Industries, before discovering the plant would be shut down and she would be out of a job.

Person had background in healthcare as a CNA, an EMT, and took home health care classes when she found out her job would end. Then representatives of Camp and Virginia Career Works visited the plant to talk to the workers about programs and offerings that were available to help secure jobs.

“I love helping people,” said Person. “I learned a lot [during this program]. It’s a stepping stone to achieve better things.”

The non-credit FastForward program was initially intended to train students for a career in clinical medical assistant, but lead instructor Dawn Womble expanded the program to include the other credentials as well.

“The additional credentials allow our graduates to be in even higher demand,” said Womble. “Students can enroll to train for a new career or for their first career. They don’t have to have any medical background.”

Benjamin Cutchins of Newsoms had already been introduced to Camp as a dual enrollment honor graduate and as a successful completer of the college’s CNA program. He graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and Biology in 2018. While working in physical therapy, he asked his mother, who works at the college, if there were any medical assistant classes available at Camp.

“I wanted to gain a variety of clinical experience in preparation of applying to physician assistant programs,” he said. “The Fast Track Healthcare program provides an excellent opportunity to gain the experience working in a clinical setting and to begin a career in health care.” Students were able to acquire hands-on skills at Bayview Physicians Group, James River Cardiology and Southampton Memorial Hospital, which served as clinical sites.

Cutchins was accepted to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant program at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at Mary Baldwin University and began his studies earlier this month.

A special ceremony was held for the graduates Dec. 17 with Pastor Anthony Rawlings Sr. of Celebration Church in Franklin as guest speaker and Dr. George Henry of Windsor giving the invocation.

The following awards were presented during the ceremony:

• Academic Excellence: Benjamin Cutchins and Leslie Henry

• Clinical Excellence: Natasha Warren, Latisha Battle and Tia Jones

• Sunshine Award: Tameka Briggs and Chrystinia Fisher

• Most Dedicated: Benjamin Cutchins and Tia Jones

• Most Dependable: Cynthia Person and Elizabeth Crawford

• Greatest Comeback: Tameka Briggs

• Leadership Award: Brittney Ingram and Chandra Mingga

• Most Improved: Rayonna Barnett, Hannah Grant and Tameeka Hoskie

• Most Helpful: Chandra Mingga and Brittney Ingram