Behavioral clinic, medical assistant training coming

Program Manager for HSC UNM West Laura Burton has been helping plan new programs to be offered this fall at the campus.

The now-vacant halls of University of New Mexico West will soon be abuzz, not just with students but also medical equipment.

Since the campus has been taken over by UNM’s Health Sciences Center, Program Manager for HSC UNM West Laura Burton has had her hands full putting together new programs for the fall semester and beyond.

“The college of nursing will have a cohort of eight students,” Burton said. “It’s like a rolling cohort.”

Burton explained that the five-semester program of nursing will grow each semester.

UNM and Central New Mexico Community College will also co-sponsor a medical assistant certification program.

“This is unique because there’s a great need for medical assistants, but the only place a person can get training to be one is through private colleges,” she said. “Plus, those institutions cost around $30,000 for a certificate.”

UNM West will offer students interested in this training job placement with a certificate at a fraction of the cost of a private college.

“Our program is more robust, because it is co-branded with UNM, so it has some meat behind it as well, at CNM tuition rates, which can be around ($7,000) to $9,000,” Burton said.

According to Burton, UNM’s Office of Community Health partnered with CNM, which already had a medical assistant certification, but the program will be taught at UNM West next spring.

Without the programming even being marketed, Burton said, the medical assistant classes are already at capacity.

“It’s because of word of mouth and the need is there because the option is for students to pay three times as much at a private college,” she said.

Students who have taken the medical assistant program but want to further their education, she said, have already earned clinical hours and gotten exposure to the health-care field, which are required for other programs.

Burton said the prerequisites for this program will be offered at CNM this fall, but everything will be moved to UNM West next spring.

“We also have the behavioral outpatient clinic that will be starting hopefully soon,” she said. “We don’t have a start date on that yet, but that is still a target for this fall.”