Allied Health Studies: Among Delgado’s Most Sought-After Programs

By: Dee Shedrick
Allied Health is any medical profession other than doctors and nurses. With over 30 programs, Delgado Community College prepares students for many medical field careers from funeral services to pharmacy. Some are two-year certificate programs and some are brief programs, like EKG (electrocardiograph technicians test the activity of the heart). A lot has changed since 1972, when the program only offered radiology, respiratory and environmental health technician technology.

In its infancy, the health care program was part of the science and math division. But when Delgado merged with Charity Hospital School of Nursing, it absorbed its programs in the 90's. The program expanded tremendously offering nuclear medicine, ultrasound and surgical technician training. It was at that point that the division was created and officially named, Allied Health. Marvin Thames, Sr. was director at that time and named Harold Gaspard, currently vice chancellor for academic affairs as the first dean of Allied Health. Gaspard's work was cut out for him to identify and develop all of the health care programs that were needed. Allied Health began to work with The Metropolitan Hospital Association for hospitals in metro New Orleans to establish particular programs based on their needs. Gaspard remembers, "We would write the programs, hand carry it to Baton Rouge, get it approved by the boards and come back and implement it." 

Allied Health is housed in Building 4 that was originally a Rehabilitation Center. It had eight dormitories along with its own house mother. Dorms had a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. It was built for individuals that had mental or physical disabilities. Generally, students in wheelchairs or students from out-of-town would stay at the center. They would stay there temporarily to be evaluated on their limitations and capabilities. After the evaluation they would be put into jobs or Social Services would provide care for them if they were disabled. If the students were qualified to work, they would be taught skills for jobs in the restaurant, hotel, carpentry, electrical or plumbing industries. "Students would be trained to be helpers rather than  certified workers," said Gaspard. In 1990, the Rehabilitation Center relocated off-campus and Allied Health moved in. The majority of Allied Health is in Building 4 on the City Park campus, but a few others are in Building 1 and at Delgado Charity School of Nursing.

Today, Delgado has close to 400 partnerships with health care providers across the state.  All Allied Health students are assigned to work in a hospital or clinic to complete their practicums. Many students have graduated from Delgado to become doctors and administrators in the health care field all over the world.

1 comment: