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Carl Albert State College

CASC radiography students looking at x-rays.CASC, Hospital Authority Offer Radiography Program
The radiography program at Carl Albert State College in Poteau got off to a promising start in its first year of operation. The program is a joint effort between CASC, the LeFlore County Hospital Trust Authority, Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center and Hillcrest Health Care System of Tulsa.

Representatives of CASC, Hillcrest, Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center and the LeFlore County Hospital Authority toured the new radiography and classroom facilities at EOMC to observe the unique partnership between the college and the business community to help meet the growing demand for radiation technologists in eastern Oklahoma. Under the agreement, CASC offers an Associate’s in Applied Science degree in Radiography.

"Radiology is one of the fastest growing medical fields in the country right now because of the various specialties it offers” said Dale Harris, Hillcrest senior vice president for regional development. “With this degree, you can go into a number of specialties…radiology, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, MRI and CT scanning, just to name a few. And all of those specialties are in great demand right now. Several other area hospitals have already expressed an interest in supporting and participating in this program.”

CASC Dean of Instruction Kathy Harrell said the college, EOMC and Hillcrest worked together for several months to develop the curriculum for the new program. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to work together with Hillcrest and EOMC to help bring this much-needed technical training to this part of the state,” Harrell said.

According to CASC Health Sciences Division Chair Abbie Bailey, the classes are taught both on the CASC campus and at the hospital.

“This is a unique opportunity for the college to provide its students with an effective combination of classroom instruction and institutional experience,” she said. “The general education and theory courses will be taught on campus, and the didactic, or hands on component of the course work, is taught at the hospital, utilizing the equipment and facilities of Hillcrest.”

The costs of offering the radiography program, estimated at $150,000 per year, are shared by the three partners. For each of the first two years, Hillcrest Health System will provide $50,000, with the assistance of a grant from a Tulsa foundation. The LeFlore County Hospital Authority will contribute $75,000, and the CASC Development Foundation will contribute $25,000 per year.

“This is a first for our college,” said CASC President Dr. Joe E. White. “We have cooperative agreements with hospitals in other programs, but not such a comprehensive partnership for providing teaching and technology support.”

Hillcrest and EOMC will also be involved in the process of recruiting students for the radiography program. The college accepted 10 students for this first year, with projections of growing to 20 students in the second year.

“We hope to recruit from this area,” Harris said. “Experience has shown that when we recruit students from a particular area, they tend to stay and work in that area when they complete the program.”

“This is a great demonstration of the private sector and CASC coming together to fill a tremendous void in the medical field,” said Dr. White. “In this time of economic downturn in the state’s economy, the only way a program like this can be undertaken is through a partnership utilizing private funds.

The LeFlore County Hospital Trust and Hillcrest Healthcare are to be commended for their active role in working to provide for the critical health care needs of this area, and CASC is excited to be a part of the process.”