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$16M grant will train up to 7,500 in health information technologies

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (April 5, 2010) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has selected Tidewater Community College to lead a consortium to educate up to 7,500 information technology professionals in healthcare in a 12-state region over the next two years through a grant for $16,017,608.

One of five regions in the country’s Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Technology Professionals in Health Care program, the TCC-led region has 25 percent of the U.S. population – more than 75 million people – one of the largest regions in the initiative.

“TCC has stepped up to be part of the solution, to offer collaborative leadership in this crucial work to prepare health IT professionals,” says TCC President Deborah M. DiCroce. “With our longstanding record of successful partnering and innovative programs, TCC stands to well serve this national initiative. We’re proud and ready to assist in the transformation of the American health system by preparing a key workforce to modernize electronic health records.”  

Efforts to improve, implement and unify electronic health records (EHRs) across the nation comes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as part of HHS activities to increase access to healthcare, protect those in greatest need, expand educational opportunities and modernize the nation’s infrastructure. 

TCC will coordinate the collaboration of more than 100 community stakeholders and 22 other community colleges in 11 states (one college serves two states) and the District of Columbia to provide training on six key positions needed to establish or expand health information technology (HIT) systems.

The six key positions are:

  • Practice Workflow and Information Management Redesign Specialist
  • Clinician/Practitioner Consultant
  • Implementation Support Specialist
  • Implementation Manager
  • Technical/Software Support Staff
  • Trainer

Leading educational partners in the consortium are Sentara Healthcare, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia’s Statewide Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center.

The consortium’s more-than-100 industry and community partners reflect a blending of the best healthcare providers, including military and veteran affairs treatment facilities, community clinics, healthcare insurers, Workforce Investment Boards and hospitals from Virginia to Maine.

Consortium results will include an electronic repository of curriculum resources and materials for consortium members to share, and a blueprint of practical experiences in configuring EHRs within a simulated laboratory environment, with approaches to assessing, selecting and configuring EHRs to meet specific needs of end-users.

HHS online descriptions note that health information technology “allows comprehensive management of medical information and its secure exchange between health care consumers and providers.” With a well-prepared HIT workforce, records would become available in all healthcare scenarios and patients would be treated with the immediacy of electronic records showing individual medical history.

“Taking strategic partnering to a new level, TCC will collaborate with the other four regions in the nation, opening new avenues for information exchange and advancement for community colleges,” adds Daniel DeMarte, TCC vice president for academic and student affairs, who oversaw TCC’s grant application. “TCC’s consortium reflects a rich and complete infrastructure of a diversity of people who understand the science of gathering healthcare information and the art of applying it."

Of the consortium’s 23 member community colleges, 13 – including TCC – have HIT-accredited programs through the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

TCC’s HIT program is one of 13, including the Beazley School of Nursing, in its health professions division. The college will open its Regional Health Professions Center – a 65,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility – by early 2011, which allows for double the output of healthcare professionals.  TCC enrolled some 10,000 prospective health professionals over the past two years alone.


Laurie White

Tidewater Community College - the largest provider of higher education and Workforce Solutions services in Hampton Roads - will serve a projected 46,000 students in 2009-10. The 15th highest associate-degree producer in the nation, TCC offers more than 150 programs including business administration, culinary arts, general studies, modeling & simulation, network security, nursing, and automotive technology. Among the fastest-growing two-year institutions in the United States, TCC was founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System. The college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in Norfolk’s theater district, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth, the Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake, and the Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-six percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit