Healthcare Opportunities for African-American Men

Is nursing a career only for women? Does it take lots of time and money to become a radiologic technologist or respiratory therapist? These and other questions are answered at a forum on healthcare opportunities for African-American men 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 2505 NE 8th Ave., Gainesville.

“The reason for the forum is that we noticed there was a shortage of African-American men enrolled in our healthcare programs. We realized it was a question of interest, not access,” said Scott Fortner, SF Health Sciences adviser. “We want to raise interest in these opportunities, and felt it would have a greater impact to have African-American men talk to African-American men about these outstanding healthcare career opportunities.”

Many myths need to be busted, like the idea that a nursing career is only for women, or that all healthcare jobs take the same type of commitment as medical school. Fortner said most Santa Fe healthcare programs can be completed in 12 months to two years, so a short time can lead to a great career.

The panel will include Assi Timah, who graduated from SF’s respiratory care program. He is an example of determination and perseverance, said Fortner. Other panelists are James Latson, who came through SF’s licensed practical nurse program recently, Earmon Owens, a graduate of the radiography program 25 years ago, and current students. Keynote speaker Dr. Kevin McBride went through a radiography program in New Jersey right out of high school, then went on to medical school and is now in family practice.

Panelists will discuss challenges they face, how they got into their healthcare programs, financial aid, and how they thrive and manage. There will be ample time for the audience to ask questions and get answers.

“For those who have ambition, energy and drive, the sky’s the limit,” said Fortner. The programs represented are: Cardiovascular Technology, Dental (Hygiene & Assisting), Nursing (RN, LPN, Assistive), Nuclear Medicine Technology, Radiography, Respiratory Care and Surgical Technology.

The forum is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served. For more information phone Scott Fortner, 352-395-5733, or email scott.fortner@sfcollege.edu.