Continues to Change Futures in an Affordable Way
An affordable and locally offered medical assistant training program graduated a new group of students earlier this year; its first during the pandemic. The program is a joint offering between Vista Community Clinic (VCC) and Cal State University San Marcos Extended Learning. Hands-on training, lecture, and internships prepare students to work successfully as medical assistants in doctors’ offices and health clinics. Students learn how to draw blood, administer injections, take vital signs, schedule lab tests and assist clinicians. The program’s $3,000 price tag puts a career in healthcare within reach for many individuals, and includes the cost of textbooks. VCC also offers job placement support with the help of North County Works, and has employed a number of program graduates in its own facilities.
During COVID-19, the program was forced to create a hybrid model, moving lectures to an online learning space and forming smaller subgroups and staggered times for in-person lab work. The transition has been a challenge, but the inclusive program remains a much needed resource for many in the community. For students like thirty-four year old Ana, the program symbolizes new opportunities and the potential for a new life; “i work full time and have 3 kids so going back to school was definitely hard, and financially harder. Places like Bright wood, or Pima, or UEI didn’t offer a plan I could afford. This program [with VCC] was affordable and the schedule for the coursework was doable; I also qualified for the tuition assistance they offer which as a huge help.” Ana was recently hired with VCC as a medical assistant in their Women’s Health Center in Vista. She’s gone seamlessly from program student to essential healthcare worker in less than a year, “I have definitely recommend this program to my friends. It’s a life changing experience and opens many opportunities for myself and career, and I am very thankful I came across it.”
On January 23rd, the 7th and 8th cohorts of the program proudly graduated in a drive thru style commencement held at the administrative offices of VCC. COVID-19 has presented its challenges, but the program has maintained effective education while continuing to add strong healthcare workers to local facilities, who are much in need of the help. VCC is currently preparing to accept applications for its 10th cohort that will start in the summer. Interested parties can visit http://www.vistacommunityclinic.org/medical-assistant-program/ to learn more and download the application, or reach out through email to MAProgram@vcc.org.
About Vista Community Clinic
With nine state-of-the-art locations in North San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties, VCC provides affordable, high quality health care to more than 70,000 community residents. Services offered by VCC include primary care, pediatrics, prenatal and women’s health, optometry, chiropractic care, dental health, podiatry, acupuncture and behavioral health services. VCC also offers a wide array of community health education programs which are free and open to all community residents. VCC is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 (highest) Patient-Centered Medical Home, and is the recipient of the HRSA National Quality Leader Seal for exceeding national clinical quality benchmarks. For more information call 760.631.5000 or visit www.vcc.org.
About CSUSM Extended Learning
As the academic outreach arm of Cal State San Marcos, Extended Learning is a leading provider of professional and continuing education in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside Counties. Offering degree programs, such as a master’s in public health, as well as both academic credit and noncredit professional enrichment courses, Extended Learning helps individuals and organizations achieve their educational and training goals. For more information about Extended Learning at CSUSM, please visit http://csusm.edu/el/.