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Respiratory program at JCC delayed by year

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Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, won't offer its respiratory therapy program here until next fall.

The program was supposed to be held at Jefferson Community College this semester but additional time was needed to set up more online course work and clinical affiliations, according to Joseph G. Sorbello, associate professor and chairman of the medical college's Respiratory Therapy Education Department.

"We weren't quite ready with some of the distance-learning initiatives," he said.

Mr. Sorbello said part of the original proposal was that area students enrolled in the program would conduct clinical rotations at Upstate Medical University. That has changed to include area hospitals in students' first clinical rotations. Specialized clinical rotations also would be offered at hospitals in Albany, Syracuse and Rochester.

The program will come to the area as part of the nearly $2 million grant JCC received earlier this year to help establish medical programs in the north country. Students who have a minimum of 60 semester hours and a strong background in math and science can apply for the program.

Requirements include completing a certified cardiopulmonary resuscitation course, having a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 and making a commitment to the full-time, 21-month program.

Respiratory therapists treat and evaluate people who have different types of heart and lung disorders. Mr. Sorbello said the average salary for a respiratory therapist is about $56,000.

Other program information will be available during three sessions Monday at Jefferson Community College. The first session will be for students in an anatomy class. Two public sessions will take place from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and again from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., both in Building 6, Room 218.

Mr. Sorbello said interested applicants should know that many of Upstate's successful students transfer from Jefferson Community College. Upstate's plan is to help underserved areas and strengthen ties with the north country, he said.

"We feel that's a priority," Mr. Sorbello said. "We know there are excellent students there."

The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization is responsible for helping to recruit additional students. Erika Flint, the organization's regional recruitment project manager, said Upstate's commitment to the area has "done a substantial job in bringing programs here and meeting the needs of our community members."

Upstate Medical University soon may offer a medical technology degree as well, Ms. Flint said.

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