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December 16, 2011

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Graduate uses Training in Rural Uganda

Graduate uses Training in Rural Uganda

Hundreds of patients stand, sit and lie outside the Bugobero Clinic in Uganda. They are willing to wait hours for medical care and follow up by Dr. Adolfo Mesa (pictured on the right) and other staff. In Uganda the physician who practiced for 22 years in his native Columbia deals with a variety of illnesses and health conditions doctors seldom see in the United States.The Ugandan clinic is literally a world away from National College’s Roanoke Valley Campus in Salem where Dr. Mesa got additional training in National’s medical assisting program.

At Kissito Healthcare International’s Bugobero Health Center IV, Dr. Mesa and staff have seen as many as 483 patients in one day. He has removed a huge ovarian cyst by laparotomy from 37-year-old woman, saved babies and toddlers severely emaciated from malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria and AIDS, and set broken bones.

“I am using the medical assisting degree to assist me in many areas of my current practice, such as surgical procedures, sterilization and aseptic techniques, lab analysis and phlebotomy,” Dr. Mesa explained. Classes in Microsoft Office and medical office procedures provided him “with skills to communicate by computer to my headquarter’s office in Roanoke and to fill out medical files every day,” he added.

Dr. Mesa chose National College for its medical assisting program. He and his wife, Consuelo, who is a nurse, relocated to the Roanoke Valley almost four years ago. They lived near National’s Salem campus where he studied from June 2008 to May 2010.

The 51-year-old had the additional challenge of learning English. Understanding, speaking and writing English was important not only in his college studies, but also in his work in Uganda where English is an official language, along with Swahili.

One way Dr. Mesa practiced English was by volunteering at Kissito Healthcare Botetourt in Fincastle; and he also went through intensive English language training, explained Elizabeth Parsons, director of development for Kissito Healthcare International.

Parsons met Dr. Mesa through Con Mays who met the Mesas through the church they all attend in Roanoke and its outreach work. Serving His Children is one of Kissito’s partners. She and Kissito CEO Tom Clarke chose Dr. Mesa to go to the Bugobero clinic because “We were looking for a physician with experience in rural medicine” in Columbia, Parsons said. The Bugobero is one of seven international hospitals Kissito either runs or is in partnership with the government.

Kissito is considering sending Dr. Mesa for more training, and might deploy him elsewhere in Africa, she added. “I will serve as long as the medical organization requires my health services in Bugobero,” Dr. Mesa said. “I will also be assigned to places where natural disasters occur.”

Putting his experience and the training he received at National College into practice in a developing country has shown him what a difference basic medical care can make. “After learning how the Ugandan people live and especially the Bugobero population where I work, I can assure you that medical programs in the United States are far superior to those here. If you only have minimal knowledge, you can be of great assistance in Uganda at the Kissito Bugobero clinic by delivering babies, giving CPR to newborns, putting in and removing stitches, giving first aid, providing medications and discharging and referring patients.

Dr. Mesa encourages his fellow students and graduates from National to volunteer at Kissito’s Bugobero Clinic for a short time, where as of mid-December, the medical wards were completely full and as a result, patients were sleeping out on the floor. He added, “You will quickly learn how it is possible to improve and save lives on a grand scale.”

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Voluntary Externship Starts New Career

Voluntary Externship Starts New Career

Youngstown student Robert Hamilton was recently hired by DRS, LLC - a network infrastructure consulting firm specializing in local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), connectivity, and cloud computing.

Robert is a student in the information systems engineering (ISE) degree program and volunteered to work at DRS to get hands-on experience. In this voluntary externship, organized by ISE Director Bill Wittman, Robert did not get school credit but he did get to practice the skills he had learned in class.

Impressed with his work, DRS agreed to a more formal externship program where Robert would get course credit and work 20 hours a week for 11 weeks. “The company created a new position for me on their help desk team logging incoming calls, assigning them priority, and forwarding to the appropriate technician,” Robert explained. When the externship came to a close, DRS made this newly created extern position permanent and offered Robert the job. He took the job and is working part-time until he completes his course work and graduates in February.

As Robert’s instructor and witness of his hard work, ISE Director Bill Wittman said, “Robert is one of those students who exceeded the expectations of the program and was entitled to be invited to participate in a voluntary externship program.”

Robert has also been a work-study student and tutor at American National University. He credits Bill and other instructors like Cindy Castor with being very instrumental in his educational accomplishments. “The instructors here are more your mentors than your instructors. I found the American National University staff to be very professional—everyone from the admissions department to the student services department is always willing to take the time to help students.”

"Happy Health Holidays"

In honor of its 125 anniversary, American National University is celebrating with a “Day of Difference” at its campus locations, as a way of giving back to the community for their support of the college. The Louisville Campus chose to make a difference by hosting a health and wellness fair on Thursday, December 9th. Over 40 booths representing a wide variety of healthcare businesses and organizations filled the hallways of the campus.

Students from the medical assisting degree program offered screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. Other free screenings included bone density by Norton Healthcare; Derma Scan sun damage by the Kentucky Cancer Program; vision by Dr. Bizer’s Vision Works; spinal screenings by Eriksen Chiropractic; and foot print analysis by the Good Feet store. The surgical technology department invited attendees into their operating room to view a mock surgery. Chair massages, flu shots, and important tips and information on staying healthy were also offered.

The auditorium buzzed with excitement as featured speaker “Coach Mo” Dewalt, reality TV star from season 8 of NBC’s the Biggest Loser, took the stage. He talked about his experience on the show and encouraged the audience to eat healthy and to exercise. Another local celebrity, “The Laugh Doctor” Dr. Clifford Kuhn (pictured), held two sessions about getting rid of holiday stress using his “Ha, Ha, Ha” prescription.

A coat drive to benefit Wayside Christian Mission was also held in conjunction with the event. The Riverport Business Association, Active Day, Decatur Vein Clinic, Jewish Family & Career Services, and other area businesses partnered with the campus helping to exceed the goal of collecting 125 coats for the College’s 125th anniversary year.

Operation: Christmas Care

The Fort Wayne Campus recently collected funds for Operation: Christmas Care – an organization that supports military families in need during the Christmas season. Unemployment rates among the military in the Fort Wayne area are at an astonishing high - much higher than that of the civilian population. In addition to being unemployed, many of these servicemen and women have families to provide for during this season of giving.

Students, faculty, and staff donated money and raised $250. With the funds raised, the campus purchased a Wal-Mart gift card which will be given to a deserving service member and family. Operation: Christmas Care is in its 7th season and works to ease the stress brought on by the holidays. On December 12th, campus representatives delivered the gift card to the local Army National Guard Family Assistance.

Military Care Packages

Military Care Packages

The Richmond Campus collected and donated items for care packages for members of the military serving overseas. Medical assisting student Naomi Campbell’s nephew, SPC Shannon Henderson, is currently serving in Afghanistan and was one of the recipients of the care packages. Naomi and her entire family were touched by the generosity of her fellow students, staff, and faculty. “It means so much to me and my family that American National University cares so much. Just this small gesture has brought tears to my sister’s eyes knowing that people who don’t even know [her] cared enough to help send [Shannon] a package. It shows what a great school we have.” The other recipients of the care packages were SPC Joseph Silva who is SPC Henderson’s best friend and Casey Hansel, staff member Cynthia Hansel’s son.

PHOTO: The Richmond Campus joined together to pose for a photo as they collected donations for military care packages.

A Day of Difference

A Day of Difference

In honor of American National University’s 125th anniversary, the Cleveland Campus organized a Day of Difference by giving back to the community through the Cleveland Foodbank. Students, faculty, and staff donated their time and energy by preparing meals for local church groups and soup kitchens in the area.

The Cleveland Foodbank operates as a single clearinghouse that collects, sorts, and distributes food in a more efficient manner, ensuring improved operations for local charities in the Greater Cleveland area. In the past year, they distributed 29 million meals (34.5 million pounds of food) and other essential products to 618 member hunger programs.

Medical assisting student Sameera Lewis said volunteering in this important activity was “very” fulfilling. “Helping others is what makes a strong community and I am proud to be a part of this event with others representing American National University.” The Cleveland Campus plans on making volunteering in the community common place for students and staff to continue to educate and make a difference.

PHOTO: Representatives from the Cleveland Campus are pictured at the Cleveland Foodbank as they volunteered for a Day of Difference.

Supporting the Community

Supporting the Community

The Madison Campus has a mission to support the community through charitable events and fundraisers. Most recently, the campus collected donations for the Nashville Rescue Mission at an on-campus fall festival. The Rescue Mission provides meals and beds for the less fortunate and it also offers a long-term treatment program for those struggling with homelessness, addictions, and other life-debilitating problems. It operates almost entirely from donated foods, materials, and financial contributions to feed, clothe, and care for the homeless individuals in Middle Tennessee.

To raise money during the festival, the campus sold tickets for the opportunity to throw a pie in the face of a staff member. Students were happy to support the Rescue Mission and throw pies in the faces of brave volunteers like Campus Director Mark Liverman. Pictured above, students and staff proudly presented a check to the Rescue Mission with money raised from the pie-in-the-face fundraiser.

"Holiday Click and Connect"

On Thursday, December 8th, students in the business programs at the Memphis Campus visited the Business Over Coffee (BOC) headquarters for their Holiday Click and Connect Event. BOC is a new organization designed to optimize the presence of business professionals through social media, educational exchange, and networking events. It was established in April with eight members and has since grown to 966 member businesses nationwide with chapters in Nashville, New Jersey, and Atlanta.

The students were able to meet Founder Sherri Henley and Coach Robert Staub whose Small Biz Midsouth organization recently merged with BOC. The BOC members welcomed the students and showed interest in their educational and career pursuits.

As a result of positive feedback from this event, Ms. Henley approached Business Department Chair Patrenna Singletary Hancock about an externship partnership. Effective January 2nd, students will provide media marketing and virtual assistance to BOC and its member’s. BOC Founding Member and HR Brain business owner Delmar Johnson will facilitate the program with Patrenna.

The students are excited to have been awarded complementary memberships and to be starting their extern assignments soon. Patrenna said, “I could not have envisioned a better avenue than Business Over Coffee for the campus to have partnered with for an externship program. BOC is such a good fit for the students from a business and technology perspective. The program will be an asset by further developing their business skills in a real world environment, as well as the hands on element through virtual assistance.”

Through this newly establish relationship, Ms. Johnson has agreed to share her knowledge with the students from a human resources viewpoint during the “Social Skills” workshops Patrenna presents with the Business Department Faculty.

"Vet to Vet"

On Tuesday, December 5th, the Indianapolis Campus hosted a “Vet to Vet” workshop to create networking opportunities for veterans. Heather Evans, a local veteran employment representative from WorkOne, attended the event to answer questions and provide information about the resources available for veterans.

WorkOne is a partner agency of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “We provide candidate development, training opportunities, benefits information, workshops, networking, and referrals to employment,” explained Heather who is an Air Force veteran. “[Veterans] seem especially interested in what I can offer them in the way of employment services.” Heather and Lyland Murphy Ward, the campus’s career center director, were pleased with the number of veteran students and faculty in attendance.

PHOTO: Heather Evans from WorkOne is pictured with student Roger Smith.

The National News is a biweekly publication designed to share the success and academic accomplishments of students and graduates from American National University and National College. For more information, contact the Communications Department.

In accordance with the regulations of the Tennessee Higher Education Council, all references to "American National University" refer to "National College" in the state of Tennessee.