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Features Health & Wellness SCC celebrates National Medical Assistants Week Oct. 17-21

Pictured are SCC medical assisting students (front row, L-R) Diane Rowland, Holly Dillard, Michelle Rebolledo, Taryn Morris; (back row, L-R) Kayla Wike, Priscilla Cochran, Eva Massingale, Brittany Shank, Brittany Ensley, Tonya Maloy, and Melissa Allison-Brooks, director of the program. The students were holding a bake sale to raise money for AAMA memberships for future graduates. Photo by Jessica RathboneSouthwestern Community College’s (SCC) Medical Assisting program has joined the national effort to celebrate National Medical Assistants Week Oct. 17-21. Since its inception four years ago, SCC’s Medical Assisting program has continued to grow and currently has a full enrollment of 18 students.

The theme for this year’s Medical Assistants Week is “Healthcare with a Human Touch,” which the students at SCC have fully embraced and are working to spread the word throughout the community.

Medical assisting is an allied health profession whose practitioners function as members of the health care delivery team and performs administrative and clinical procedures. With their unique versatility, medical assistants are proving to be the allied health professionals of choice for this decade and beyond. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting continues to be projected as one of the fastest growing occupations.

On Wednesday, SCC’s students held their second bake sale of the week at the Jackson County campus to raise money to purchase American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) memberships to present to graduates of the program. Students have also put together gift baskets with goodies and additional information to provide to clinical sites who have supported the program. “We want to show our appreciation to the doctors’ offices and other medical sites who have helped with the program,” said Holly Dillard, Medical Assisting student. “We also want to give information to students at Smoky Mountain and Franklin High Schools interested in pursuing this career.”

“This week is specifically important for SCC because it gives us the chance to further promote our profession and to let the community know that what we do is different from nurses and physician’s assistants,” said program alumni, Jessica Rathbone, M.A. “We are a growing, competitive program. Just this year, SCC has changed the program to know you have to apply and qualify. We have also submitted all of the paperwork to become an accredited program, which we hope to complete by the beginning of next year.”

Becoming an accredited program will further benefit SCC’s program, which according to Tonya Maloy, has prepared her in the transition from school to career. “The program has prepared me for when I graduate — all of the hands on clinical experience has helped me to gain the confidence I need to secure a job and to know I will be competent and excel in my future endeavors.”

According to Frankin resident and SCC student, Taryn Morris, the increasing success of the program is exciting and is opening doors for members of the profession. “It is encouraging to see the growth of the medical assistants program — there has been a 35 percent increase of medical assistants employment over nurses in the medical field.”

SCC’s Medical Assisting club goes above and beyond the educational requirements and constantly works within Macon and Jackson County to provide community outreach and services through volunteer with human service organizations like REACH, March of Dimes, AWAKE, and the Crohn's Foundation.

“My goal for the program is to prepare students with entry level skills they need to transition into the medical field,” said Melissia Allison-Brooks. “Several of my former students have received job offers from their external sites right after graduation.”

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