National Certification Agency provides many opportunities for medical students
San Joaquin Valley College may be a California-based school, but SJVC’s influence extends further than state borders.
American Medical Technologists (AMT) is a non-profit certification agency that assists physicians in attaining certification in their specialty. Across the nation, it has affiliated State organizations.
The California State Society of American Medical Technologists (CaSSAMT) publishes a semi-annual newsletter, updating medical professions on recent legislative developments and relevant scientific breakthroughs. A quick glance at this publication reveals an interesting trend: a considerable presence of SJVC staff and students within the organization. The publication is released on behalf of the state society but is compiled by CaSSAMT Vice President and current SJVC Fresno CAMA instructor Nicole Weiss.
“The newsletter has won many awards at the national level in the past and we hope that it wins again this year,” says Alaine Johnson, Health Studies Division Manager for SJVC Modesto and CaSSAMT Secretary.
However, SJVC is represented in more than just the organization’s publications.
“We have at least four SJVC instructors who are board members,” says Nicole Weiss. “Because SJVC employees are running the State Society, it gives our students more insight and helps further their careers in medical assisting.
CaSSAMT’s Board of Directors includes eleven current or past SJVC staff, faculty, or graduates, four of whom serve as officers: President Sheryl Rounsivill, Vice President Nicole Weiss, Secretary Alaine Johnson, and Treasurer Jeanine Hobson.
SJVC’s affiliation with AMT creates opportunity for considerable influence: the yearly Education Program & National Meeting invites at state board members to attend seminars and committee meetings, vote by-law amendments and elect national AMT board members.
“This is a privilege that I have had over the past 4 years along with other instructors from SJVC,” says Johnson.
This last year, the California State Society’s delegates started the “College Bowl”, an inter-college competition that brought local career college students together to challenge each other’s expertise. As a testament to its success, this competition will be retained for this year’s convention.
CaSSAMT is also active locally. At three SJVC campuses, student organizations affiliated with the State Society help students “get their foot in the door” so that they may become a member of AMT once certified. In Visalia, Fresno, and Bakersfield, medical students can get a head start in their career fields, even before certification.
“It looks really good on a resume,” says Weiss. “Because the faculty don’t run the clubs, students do.”
The resume boost also comes from the CaSSAMT-required volunteer work. AMT students donate their time and effort to local causes, from serving at the local food kitchen, collecting clothes for the homeless, or simply raising money for donations on behalf of various causes.
Additionally, the clubs also arrange for booths at local events, to spread health information and garner interest in the field. AMT also provides further educational opportunities for the credentialed professional, legal advice, and assistance in job placement.
“It is the goal of SJVC to prepare the most professional students possible,” says Weiss. “Membership in the state society simply enhances those skills.”