A financial coordinator in the TIMI Study Group Protocol within BWH’s Cardiovascular Division, Dyana Catania recently obtained her associate’s degree in general arts through the College for America (CfA) program. CfA is a partnership between Partners HealthCare and Southern New Hampshire University that offers competency-based self-paced online college degree programs, a number of which are health care-focused.
“CfA helped me to earn a degree that previously felt out of my reach because of time limitations,” said Catania. “The online classes made it easy for me to balance my full-time job, assignments and time with my son without neglecting any of them. The flexibility to finish assignments at my own pace worked well with trying to schedule around the unknown dilemmas of everyday life as a single parent. My first year of the associate’s degree program was offered to me at no charge, so that took the stress off of worrying about large payments or student loans. I could just focus on the work to be done.”
CfA offers two bachelor’s degrees (communications and health care management) and two associate degrees (general studies with a concentration in business and general studies for non-clinical health care). The program is open to all employees and includes a tuition incentive for the first year. For further CfA education, employees can use tuition reimbursement and other financial support from Partners, which makes it accessible and affordable.
Students learn through projects that are targeted to specific skills essential to Partners and other employers, including communication, critical thinking, teamwork and collaboration, quantitative skills, digital fluency, ethics and social responsibility.
Before enrolling with CfA, Catania had completed the Partners Online College Preparation Program (OCPP), which provides a learning experience that simulates typical online college courses. Her BWH Workforce Development career coach knew that she was interested in furthering her education from a medical office certificate to a degree, so she contacted Catania to let her know about the CfA program.
Catania’s next goal is to earn her bachelor’s degree in health care management. She started working on this degree earlier this year with Southern New Hampshire University. “Their programs are so affordable, and I’m very excited to get started,” she said. “My family is proud that I earned my associate’s degree in less than one year and that my achievements will reflect on my son, providing a good role model in his eyes.”
Catania says that now that she has earned her associate’s degree, her career options have broadened, and they will continue to expand after she completes her bachelor’s degree.
“These degrees will present more options for me and improve my quality of life by helping me climb the career ladder,” she said.
The next enrollment opportunity for the CfA degree programs will be in the fall. In the meantime, employees who are considering becoming CfA students should complete the OCPP, a required preparatory step. Employees can enroll in the OCPP at any time, and the program normally takes five to seven weeks to complete. For more information or to register for OCPP, visit www.partners.org/OCPP and click on “OCPP Registration Form.”