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Collaboration keeps Denver’s health in good hands

A new program gives students a jump-start on their health-care careers and builds MSU Denver’s reputation as a valued education partner.

By Lindsey Coulter

August 8, 2018

Close up of student's hands administering an IV.The emergency-medical-technician-pipeline between Denver Health and Hospital Authority and Metropolitan State University of Denver is well-established. The DHHA Emergency Medical Services team includes several former Roadrunners, and many people who complete DHHA EMT training continue their educations here at MSU Denver. Now, the two entities have developed a partnership to prep students for emergency-response careers and meet Denver’s growing need for skilled emergency medical technicians.

Roadrunners can now take DHHA EMT certificate courses on campus, receiving instruction from DHHA professionals. Kevin Zeiler, an associate professor in MSU Denver’s Health Care Management Program and a former DHHA paramedic, helped develop the program along with numerous other departments and the College of Professional Studies.

Zeiler said one of DHHA’s primary goals in developing the partnership was to address the community’s shortage of paramedics and EMTs. Luckily, MSU Denver students are ideal candidates. Many students bring strong educational foundations in nutrition, biology and other sciences to the EMT course, where they also participate in skill-building exercises that simulate the medical and trauma situations they may encounter on the job. Going one step further, students complete emergency-department observation hours as well as ambulance or fire-agency ride-alongs.

“We just completed the first class this past summer semester, and it was a big success,” Zeiler said. “These partnerships allow MSU students to meet community leaders in their fields and build experiences that allow them to thrive upon graduation. It has been good for understanding what we all do at the university — and how our combined efforts really benefit students.”

The program is already proving popular. It aligns well with the requirements of MSU’s Fire and Emergency Response program but is also attracting students from a wide variety of concentrations and professional tracks. It’s even pulling in students who weren’t already registered at MSU Denver.

“We were surprised when we started getting candidates from degree programs that we did not recognize on the front end,” Zeiler said. “It speaks to the MSU student as a community partner. Students want to be involved in their communities, and this is another way for them to lend a hand. It’s a plus for all of us.”

Aside from being a valuable asset to the University and community, the course also preps students for personal success. Those who complete the program can apply for the National Registry exam and state certification or EMT-Basic positions. Students also leave with 24 credit hours that can be applied toward a related MSU Denver program, or they can use the experience to strengthen their post-baccalaureate résumés.

Building on this burgeoning partnership, MSU Denver and DHHA also recently signed an agreement to conduct joint research on EMS-specific issues. Findings and data will be shared with the MSU Denver community as they become available.

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