New Healthcare Delivery Models Open Up Career Opportunities for Immigrants and Young Adults

2017 Winter Newsletter, Initiative Updates

Bilingual Medical Assistant Training Program:

NYACH’s Bilingual Medical Assistant Training Program, offered by LaGuardia Community College in partnership with the Washington Heights Workforce1 Center and various health centers and physicians’ offices, helps students improve their English, learn medical vocabulary in their native language, and train to be a medical assistant all at the same time. “I really want to be working in the medical field in the future, but my English is not perfect. I work as a home health aide now and I would like to be certified as a medical assistant for more opportunities,” states Djeneba Traore, a student in the program. This program fills the gap between the highest level offered at many federally-funded English classes in New York City and the level of English proficiency required for training and employment as a medical assistant, ensuring a stronger talent pipeline. In addition to preparing students for the EKG, Phlebotomy, and CCMA certifications and covering both clinical and administrative duties, the redesigned medical assistant curriculum focuses on core competencies for today’s healthcare workforce, such as understanding new models of care, person-centeredness and communication, interdisciplinary teams, and chronic disease management.

The program also aims to meet the demand for medical assistants who are prepared to work in patient centered medical homes and a culturally and linguistically competent workforce. “In today’s fast changing healthcare environment, CHCs have a difficult task recruiting candidates with appropriate skills that meet the needs of our communities. Apicha CHC welcomes the opportunity to be part of an important initiative that helps fulfill that need by recruiting people from the communities we serve, helping them improve their language skills and training them to become the Medical Assistants of the future, ready for the implementation of Meaningful Use, PCMH and DSRIP,” said Mihaela Mihai, Director of Clinic Operations at Apicha Community Health Center (CHC).

All 44 of the students who enrolled in the program completed the English language portion and have begun the medical assistant training portion, which includes a paid internship. This initiative has been featured in New York Daily News, Crain’s Health Pulse, El Diario, NY1 Noticias, and the Epoch Times. You can find the full press release here.

Bilingual MA Class Photo

Front Desk Training and Advancement Program:

Whether under the title of patient service representative, receptionist, or medical office specialist, these frontline staff members are critical to the patient experience and the efficiency of the practice, although they often receive no formal training before beginning work. NYACH’s new Front Desk Training and Advancement Program, offered by Hostos Community College and the NYC Department of Education’s District 79, in partnership with the West Farms Workforce1 Career Center and various health centers and physicians’ offices, gives young adults a chance to build their communication and teamwork skills, in addition to medical office and administrative skills, through an interactive training program and a structured paid internship experience. The program also offers the opportunity to those without a high school diploma to earn their high school equivalency at the same time. After completing the front desk portion of the program and obtaining employment in front desk positions, students may continue on to evening medical assistant classes, in an accelerated stackable course that builds off of their front desk training and experience.

“We are creating a more relevant workforce for our patients that will ultimately create more patient focused care. And we are creating more opportunities for career advancement within our neighborhoods,” explains Elizabeth Dubois, Associate Vice President of Medical Affairs at the Community Healthcare Network, an employer partner on the program. Students completed the front desk training portion of the program in December and will begin their front desk internships in late January.

The new medical assistant curriculum, assessment tools, and internship skills check list, developed with input from Hostos, LaGuardia, and dozens of healthcare providers, will be shared across the CUNY system as part of NYACH’s One CUNY initiative to share innovative practices and resources in healthcare education and training.


Employer partners on these programs include Acacia Network, APICHA Community Health Center, Betances Health Center, Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Community Healthcare Network, Gotham Health, Institute for Family Health, St. Barnabas Hospital, union Community Health Center, Urban Health Plan, and various private practices. The program model and curriculum have also been shaped by conversations and input by hospital based ambulatory practices and industry leaders.