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July 14, 2014

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Two More Campuses Receive Medical Assisting Programmatic Accreditation

Two More Campuses Receive Medical Assisting Programmatic Accreditation

Two of American National University’s newest campuses, South Bend and Fort Wayne, recently received notice of programmatic accreditation for their medical assisting programs.  This prestigious designation comes on top of the college’s existing institutional accreditation and is a solid endorsement of the quality and rigor of the medical assisting curriculum.  Additionally, graduates of an accredited medical assisting program are allowed to sit for one of several certification exams – a valuable credential.

“The programmatic accreditation process adds an additional mark of quality for select programs, particularly those requiring highly specialized skills like medical assisting,” says Rhonda Epps, regional director of health care education for American National University’s Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio campuses.  “In addition, the ability to earn the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential gives our graduates a valuable edge in the job market.”

“When you go to a school that’s accredited, and you get out into the work field, they can see that you actually did something,” said medical assisting student John Sikorsky, an Army veteran who is enrolled in the medical assisting program at the South Bend Campus.

“It was a good learning experience,” said Renee Neldon, director of healthcare education at the South Bend Campus.  A veteran of more than 30 years in health care, Renee was impressed by the depth and thoroughness of the accreditation process; describing it as more rigorous than many hospital evaluations she had been a part of.

Most American National University and American National University graduates pursue the Registered Medical Assistant certification offered through American Medical Technologists.  Founded in 1939, AMT is one of the foremost certification agencies for allied health professionals.  Registered Medical Assistants are prepared for a variety of jobs in the healthcare field.

“I’m more interested in the phlebotomy side of it, so I can be a certified phlebotomist,” said Amber Dunwoodie, referring to the process of drawing blood specimens for laboratory testing.  Amber, also an Army veteran, is a medical assisting student at the Fort Wayne Campus.  Already working as a caregiver for local seniors, Amber enrolled in the medical assisting program to advance in her career.  “I look forward to a steady job, a decent paycheck, and being able to support my family,” she added.

While hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude are requirements for that steady job and decent paycheck, an education from a respected and fully accredited program is a big boost – and now graduates of the South Bend and Fort Wayne medical assisting programs will join those of 27 additional ANU and American National University locations in that elite company.

A-Medical assisting student John Sikorski checks a recent graduate‘s blood pressure under the watchful eye of Renee Neldon, director of healthcare education.

B-Graduate and U.S. Army veteran Amber Dunwoodie, is a medical assisting student at the Fort Wayne Campus who is looking forward to a career in phlebotomy. 

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Medical Facility Has a History of Hiring National College Graduates

Medical Facility Has a History of Hiring National College Graduates

Western Medicine has been very supportive of students at the Dayton Area Campus by hosting medical assisting externs as much as possible and by offering employment to them after completing 160 hours of work.  Kristi Slygh, office manager, has been completely satisfied with the externs’ clinical and administrative skills.  She notices that the graduates stand out from the average entry-level candidates by their great attitude and willingness to accept responsibilities which are excellent soft skills required for success.  Ms. Slygh said, “I would definitely contact American National University first whenever there is an opening for a medical assistant.”  Because of this relationship, Western Medicine recently received a plaque from the campus recognizing them as a Distinguished Community Employer.  The award is reserved for those employers who show exceptional support of career education.

Western Medicine has been in the Fairborn area for more than 10 years and has a staff of physicians, physician extenders, and medical assistants.  They serve thousands of patients a year and enjoy making contributions within their community.  Their practice emphasizes patient centered, holistic preventative medicine and the management of chronic illnesses to maintain optimal health longer.

Graduate Shauna Hernandez (l), who was recently hired by Western Medicine, accepts the Distinguished Community Employer award from Derrick Parks, (r) director of health care education at the Dayton Area Campus.

Two Students Are Chosen as “Students of the Month”

Two Students Are Chosen as “Students of the Month”

James Newton and Teresa Hendrix were recently chosen as the “Students of the Month” for June at the Bartlett Campus. 

James attends both day and evening classes.  “He continually strives to prepare for IT certifications,” said Dr. Nolyn Johnson, director of network administration.  “He has already passed the PC Pro and the Network PRO certifications and is half-way finished with his A+ certification.”

“He is always ready to help others and he is a shining reminder that we are lifelong learners,” said Willetta Grady, campus librarian.  James is also a Navy veteran.

Teresa Hendrix attends evening classes.  “I have had Teresa in several of my classes and she is an excellent student,” said instructor Chris Burford.  “She always comes to class early and prepared.  She works hard and has a great desire to achieve her best.  The thing I love most about her is that she wants the best for her fellow students.  She is always lending a helping hand with supplies and knowledge to her fellow students.  She is a great student and leader.  She should be applauded for her tenacious spirit.  No matter the challenge, I have never seen her quit.”

Teresa is a 26-year Navy veteran.  Teresa previously earned a bachelor of science in accounting and a master’s degree in human relations.  She is now working toward an associate's degree in office technology professional and a degree in business administration-accounting.

A-Student and Navy veteran James Newton has earned two IT certifications and is working on his third.  He was chosen as one of the “Students of the Month” for the Bartlett Campus. 

B-Student and Navy veteran Teresa Hendrix is working toward an associate's degree in office technology professional and a degree in business administration-accounting.


Volunteering Makes a Positive Impact on Medical Student

Volunteering Makes a Positive Impact on Medical Student

Alicia Pruitt, a student at the Bristol Campus, had her life influenced by Kristina Morris, volunteer coordinator of the Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).  Ms. Morris visited director of healthcare education Sheri Jessee’s Pharmacology class in March to talk about the service organization and how volunteers are needed to help with certain medical projects.  Alicia proceeded to sign up for all available volunteering opportunities that the MRC provides. 

One of those opportunities was the “Drug Take Back” program.  “I met a lot of new people from different medical backgrounds…I had the chance to see how many drugs are out on the street and how easy it is for people to develop a drug problem,” Alicia said.  “I got to see dedicated people bring their unused prescription drugs back to be destroyed and kept off of the street.  That was one of the best things ever to see.  This is one way that I am using skills that I’ve learned to give back to my community.”

Alicia enrolled in March of 2012.  She is in the medical assisting program and will graduate this November.  She decided to attend college “to gain a career in the medical field and to help others.”  She said that she chose National because of the small class size and hands-on training.  “The instructors are very knowledgeable and have helped me from the day I walked in the door,” said Alicia.  She hopes to obtain a position as a medical assistant when she graduates and she is considering pursuing nursing school.

Alicia Pruitt (center), is pursuing her associate’s degree in medical assisting at the Bristol Campus and she is a volunteer for the Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.


Medical Students Open Eyes Regarding Childhood Obesity

Medical Students Open Eyes Regarding Childhood Obesity

Students in the Body Control Systems class at the Lynchburg Campus recently gave an interesting, educational, and thought-provoking presentation on childhood obesity.  The class was divided into three teams:  Research, Interviewer, and PowerPoint.  The three teams collaborated to develop an eye-opening presentation regarding the importance of beginning good eating habits when children are young. 

The Research Team used online articles, magazines and accessed the library for information on childhood obesity, the causes, solutions and statistics.  In their research, they found that being overweight and obese is the result of a caloric unbalance (too many calories consumed, and too few calories burned).  Their research revealed that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. 

The Interviewer Team interviewed a pharmacist, an athletic coach, and a mother who was obese and had a child with the same build.  Each individual was asked what they thought was a cause of childhood obesity; such as, did they personally know a child who had that condition, and ideas for possible solutions.  The pharmacist said that he had noticed a sharp increase in obesity in children as he is filling more prescriptions for medically related disorders.  The coach said that he also saw an increase in the weight of the children on his team.  The parent said that it was hard to regulate their child’s diet.  All of the people interviewed said that a healthier diet and exercise would help children stay in a more healthy weight range.
The PowerPoint Team compiled all the information and created a powerful presentation, showing that we should “REFLECT on our eating habits (good or bad), REPLACE our unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones, and REINFORCE our new healthy eating habits.”

The class agreed that the project was an excellent learning opportunity, not only in understanding the concern of childhood obesity, but in providing them experience in team work, leadership skills, and building their confidence in talking with others.  They also said that they would be more aware of the foods that they would make available to their children and they would start encouraging more exercise and less online gaming.

Crystal Pannell, a medical assisting student said, “Until I got into this healthcare program, I thought only obese people got sugar diabetes.”  Jessica Phillips, also a medical assisting student said, “Don’t wait until your children are obese to start monitoring their diets.” 

Students in the Body Control Systems class at the Lynchburg Campus recently completed a presentation on childhood obesity.

Friendship Leads to Students

Friendship Leads to Students

Ron Smith, the director of international admissions at the Roanoke Valley Campus, began a friendship with Enka Tsend, resident of Roanoke and former resident of Mongolia, in 1999.  In those days before the modern ESL program at the Roanoke Valley Campus existed, there were English preparatory classes.  The program was already very intense and helpful for students who traveled to the campus to study. 

According to Ron, over the years, more than 200 Mongolian residents have become students at the Roanoke Valley Campus and many have become part of the Roanoke Valley community.  They have even brought their entire families with them and their children have enrolled in the local public schools.  Ms. Tsend is personally responsible for bringing at least seven of those to the campus; the most famous one is now the First Lady of Mongolia, Bolormaa Khajidsuren, who received a medical assisting degree at the campus after previously receiving a degree in geochemistry in Mongolia.  She lived in the Roanoke Valley while receiving her education and her children also attended local schools.

Since leaving ANU, First Lady Bolormaa and her husband, President Elbegdorj, a graduate of Harvard, have adopted dozens of orphaned children who range from elementary to college aged.  Ms. Tsend said that they take care of each one; providing an education for all.  She recently visited the family in Mongolia and said that she was very impressed, “They were very polite, introduced themselves, and played the Mongolian National Instrument [the morin khuur], that many girls play,” said Ms. Tsend.

While in Mongolia, Ms. Tsend presented the First Lady with an updated diploma bearing the new ANU logo, which she graciously accepted.

When Ms. Tsend talks with other Mongolians about considering studying in Roanoke, she says that they are always impressed by the small, [close-knit community] and that many are interested in learning English first, then obtaining another academic degree such as business management and accounting.  They also like the fact that the institution has many locations so they may choose where they would like to live.    

A-Enka Tsend (l),a Mongolia native who is now a resident of the Roanoke Valley, is pictured with Ron Smith (r), director of international admissions at the Roanoke Valley Campus.

B-Enka Tsend (l), with the First Lady of Mongolia, Bolormaa Khajidsuren, who is a graduate of the Roanoke Valley Campus. 


Pharmacy Students Receive their Pins and Look Forward to the Future

Pharmacy Students Receive their Pins and Look Forward to the Future

Brittany Newman and Leigh White-Gills have completed the pharmacy technician program at the Princeton Campus, and have received their pharmacy pins.  They are also preparing to take the national certification exam very soon and are excited about their future.

Leigh has enjoyed her college experience.  “I appreciate the dedication of the staff to each student, and feel that this helps ensure each student’s success,” said Leigh.  “I also have enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and being able to feel at home.”

Brittany said, “The program was an amazing learning experience for me.”  She is now ready to begin working in a field that she loves and has a job waiting for her at her externship site.
Both young ladies are planning to return to campus to obtain a billing and coding diploma in order to continue their education. 

Brittany Newman (l) and Leigh White-Gills (r) recently completed the pharmacy technician program at the Princeton Campus. 

Graduate Will Use Her Skills to Care For Children in a Zimbabwe Orphanage

Graduate Will Use Her Skills to Care For Children in a Zimbabwe Orphanage

While most American National University graduates go to work serving others in their own communities, Louisville Campus graduate Hannah Black will be using her skills halfway across the world in Zimbabwe in southern Africa.  Hannah, who earned an associate’s degree in medical assisting, will be moving to Africa to help provide medical care to the children of The T.J. House, an orphanage operated by her family.

Named in memory of a family member who lost her life to cancer, The T.J. House opened in 2008 with 15 children and now has more than 500 residents, from newborns to young adults. “Most of their parents have died of AIDS or have been run out of their villages,” explained Hannah, who has made annual trips to the orphanage.

The orphanage is essentially a small, self-sufficient community, providing everything that the children need, including a farm where the older residents learn to raise their own food; medical and dental care; a school; and a church.

More than half of the children who live in the orphanage suffer from AIDS, and many come to the orphanage malnourished. “When we get them, a lot of them have never brushed their teeth before,” said Hannah.  “They don’t know that your teeth need to be taken care of.”   She added that the dental care that they provide is very important, because it allows the children to eat properly.

Hannah became certified as a registered medical assistant during her program at National, and when she returns to the orphanage she’ll help manage the medical office.  “When I go over there, I’ll be one of the main people in the medical office,” she said.  “We have a doctor who lives there, so I’ll be helping him.”  Specialists and dentists frequently visit the orphanage to volunteer their time, and she will also assist them during their visits.

Hannah said that it feels great knowing that she’ll be able to put her education to work to help the children at the orphanage.  “They’re pretty awesome kids,” she said with a smile. 

A five year old boy named Josiah, who she discovered during a backpacking trip, has particularly touched her heart.  She found him in a convenience store where he had been living for three weeks after his camp was invaded.

“Turns out his parents were killed, so he was an orphan,” explained Hannah.  “We ended up taking him back with us.  We got him seen by the doctor and got his teeth taken care of; we got him fed and got him his own bed; we got him clothes and shoes. He looked at my brother and asked him, ‘Is this Christmas?  Why are you guys doing this?’”

When it was time for Hannah to return to America, Josiah begged her not to leave. “When I got on the bus, he ran after the bus.  It broke my heart,” she said.  “Every time I go back, he’s the first one I see.  He’s right there waiting for me.”

A- Medical assisting graduate Hannah Black will be using her medical training to help care for children in an orphanage in Zimbabwe.

B-Louisville Campus medical assistant Hannah Black (back row, far right) is shown with children and staff from The T. J. House in Zimbabwe.


Student Returns to Campus after Long Hiatus

Student Returns to Campus after Long Hiatus

Angela Montgomery has returned to the Lexington Campus to earn her bachelor’s degree after nearly an 18-year hiatus.  She earned her associate’s degree in accounting from the college in 1996, and then set off to make her mark on the world. 

Angela started her career by working for one of the area’s major retail corporations and also began doing seasonal tax preparation for clients.  “I really enjoyed using my education in my new careers.  It was very satisfying to be able to put my new skills to work on the job,” recalled Angela.

She juggled another full-time job while pursuing her career – raising her family. Angela smiled and commented, “There were never enough hours in the day.  Working full time and raising a family took a lot of time and effort – but I loved it all.  My education led to a good career that let me provide for my family.”

While she was busy with her career and family, Angela kept her dream of earning her bachelor’s degree close at hand.  “I wanted that bachelor’s degree and I was determined to earn it one day,” said Angela.  “My experience at American National University was terrific – the small classes, the fantastic faculty and staff – everyone was and still is very supportive.  Coming back for my degree is like…coming home.  My goal is to earn my bachelor’s in accounting…with National’s help, I’m on my way again!”

Student Angela Montgomery has returned to the Lexington Campus to earn her bachelor’s degree after almost 18 years. 

Graduate Takes Advantage of Refresher Courses to Update Skills

Graduate Takes Advantage of Refresher Courses to Update Skills

Natasha Jackson, a surgical technology graduate from the Florence Campus, recently returned to American National University to take advantage of the free refresher courses that are available to graduates.
Natasha earned a degree in surgical technology in 2008, then went to nursing school for a short time and never got started in her surgical technology career. 

She’s currently working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at St. Elizabeth Hospital, so she decided to update her skills in order to take the surgical technology certification exam.  “Now, you have to be certified.  Back then, six years ago, you didn’t have to,” explained Natasha.

Natasha said that she enjoyed seeing various surgeries when she participated in clinicals during her program, and she’s looking forward to getting back into the operating room.  “Never let your college education go to waste,” she said.

Natasha Jackson, a 2008 graduate of the surgical technology program at the Florence Campus, is taking advantage of the tuition-free refresher courses that are available to American National University graduates.  She's updating her skills in preparation to take the exam to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST).

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.