South Florida Hospital News
Thursday May 28, 2020

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November 2014 - Volume 11 - Issue 5



The School of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Miami Dade College-Medical Campus Focuses on Community

Whether it's offering classes for license renewal, launching new programs in burgeoning areas of health care, or collaborating on new curricula with the credit side of Miami Dade College, the focus of the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development at the College’s Medical Campus is on the community.
Priscilla Suarez talked about some of the courses offered that respond to needs in the health care industry, such as those for health care professionals who require licensure renewals on an annual basis. "We offer courses such as preventing medical errors, and laws and rules for Florida Nurses, on an ongoing basis. We also offer a wide range of courses for various levels of health care professionals, from home health aides to RNs."
Additionally, she said refresher courses are available for RNs and LPNs, for the national certification exam that all nurses must take. "And what's unique about the Medical Campus in particular is that we are the approved American Heart Association training center for the entire college, so we train instructors to teach CPR courses College-wide."
Suarez is Program Director for the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development at Miami Dade College Medical Campus and has more than a decade of experience in higher education, particularly in adult and continuing education. Her responsibilities include designing programs that help to meet community needs.
New programs are added as needed, and as an example, Suarez explained that the Medical Campus is launching a certified medical administrative assistant program in the spring. "It will help administrative assistants who are interested in serving in medical offices and dental clinics, wellness clinics, and such, be eligible for the national certification exam." She pointed out that "the Affordable Care Act has changed the landscape of health care, so we are seeing a series of openings in different health-related professions, and the certified medical administrative assistant is one of them. It's one of the top 20 targeted occupations in Miami Dade Workforce Region 23, and the program was developed in response to the job openings that are anticipated for medication administrative assistants over the next five years.
"So we've grown with our programs, and we've been responsive to what those targeted occupations in health care are and are going to be."
Similarly, Charles McGinnis, College-wide Director of the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development, talked about a local anesthesia program for dental hygienists that was introduced last year. "It was launched in response to a change in state legislation that allowed dental hygienists, who typically only did the teeth cleaning, X-rays, and prep work for the dentist, to actually administer the sedatives – the shots – into your gums. In response to the legislation, there was a huge demand to be able to train and certify these dental hygienists, so we ramped that program up very quickly. It showed a unique collaboration between the credit degree dental clinic side of the College and the non-credit, continuing education side of the College – which Priscilla and I work for – where we could come together and meet a community need."
McGinnis explained, "We're an integral part of the College and the community, and particularly in health care, we provide a variety of services, not just the programs that Priscilla has mentioned, but also ones like a partnership training we are currently doing with Jackson Health Systems, where we're teaching some computer classes to their employees with the changeover to electronic health records."
Suarez added that the institution seeks grant funds for various programs, and funding received from the Department of Health is going to lead to another collaborative effort between credit and non-credit for two curricula being developed for the spring semester. "One program is for a community health worker certification, and another is for a behavioral technician certification. As the community changes and health care itself is transformed, we seek opportunities with state and local funders to be able to offer these unique programs."
McGinnis said many students in continuing education are either incumbent workers who are members of the community and are already established in a job, but are re-training into a new area that will help them get a promotion; or folks who want to get into a profession, such as nursing, to get their certification and their degrees, and hopefully stay in the area.
"The certified medical administrative assistants, the community health workers, the dental hygienists – all of these programs are geared for the folks here in Dade County. It's near and dear to the hearts of continuing education, especially because we're trying to serve the community that's already well established here."
For more information, call (305) 237-4177 or visit
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