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Rush University Program Helps Veterans With Health IT Training

July 24, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A Rush University Medical Center initiative is providing six-month internships for veterans and their family members, offering training and work experience in the health IT field.

A new case study released by the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) highlights some of the positive accomplishments of the program, EN-Abled Veterans Program.

The program provides vets with training on basic IT tasks that fit current needs at Rush. As they continue in the program, they look for specific areas of IT that interest them for a career. Vets also receive assistance with their resumes and job-acquisition skills, which they typically have not needed in their military careers.

The program was developed by Jaime Parent, associate CIO and vice president for IT operations at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center. The healthcare organization also hosts the Road Home Program, which provides support, counseling and health services for veterans and their families.

With the grant-supported Road Home Program on the horizon last fall, Parent came up with a specific approach to offer IT training to veterans, which they could parlay into a job. Experience within the hospital setting is valuable for veterans because so many healthcare organizations need IT staff to implement electronic health records and other digital technologies.

“What we offer is an opportunity,” Parent said in a CHIME news release. “We don’t guarantee a job but offer a lot of flexibility and a lot of tools at their disposal. In the last two months of the program, veterans get assistance in improving their resumes and interviewing performance – skills that most veterans have not had to worry about in their lives in the military.”

The specifics of the program are being outlined so that the approach can be used by other healthcare organizations. Parent believes that other healthcare IT executives could adopt the program for use in their organizations, thus multiplying the effect of the Rush initiative and meeting two significant needs at once.

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