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Atrium Health Floyd and GNTC announce partnership
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Atrium Health Floyd and GNTC announce partnership


Agreement will help address healthcare needs in region

ROME, Ga., May 8, 2024 To help remedy a shortage of area healthcare professionals, Atrium Health Floyd and Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) have signed a new agreement designed to boost enrollment in three of GNTC's healthcare programs and increase the number of Respiratory Therapists, Radiologic Technologists and Certified Nursing Assistants in the northwest Georgia region.

 According to the fund agreement, Atrium Health Floyd commits nearly $1.1 million to be disbursed over five years to increase total enrollment in the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Radiologic Technology and Respiratory Care programs at GNTC's Floyd County Campus in Rome. The agreement was signed May 8.

 GNTC will place at least 10 Radiologic Technology students, three Respiratory Care students and all Floyd County Campus CNA students enrolled in the program in Atrium Health Floyd preceptorship slots each year, contingent upon the availability of slots and in addition to other clinical rotations needed to complete their academic program; a preceptorship is highly focused, clinical training in which a student receives individual mentorship in a specific clinical setting.

 “Georgia Northwestern Technical College is very grateful for the opportunity to work with Atrium Health Floyd and to build upon our partnership of over six decades," said Dr. Heidi Popham, GNTC president. “Today, we showcase GNTC's continued commitment to providing a skilled workforce for our healthcare industry and Atrium Health Floyd's unwavering support in assisting us in accomplishing our mission." 

“We are excited about our work with Georgia Northwestern Technical College," said Kurt Stuenkel, president of Atrium Health Floyd. “Working together, we will build on the successes we already have with the Respiratory Care and Radiologic Technology programs as well as others, creating opportunities for clinical experiences and a pipeline for careers in these and other health occupations fields."

 “The growth trajectory for Radiologic Technologists is double the rate of most other professions, and the need for Respiratory Therapists is growing four times faster than most other health professions. And we are experiencing the need for those clinical skills right here in our own market as we continue to expand our reach," Stuenkel said.
  ​In Spring 2024, the enrollments for those programs at the Floyd County Campus were as follows: two students in Nurse Aide Accelerated (CNA), 23 students in Radiologic Technology and 55 students in Respiratory Care.

 In addition to the students completing their program-specific courses, GNTC has 202 students completing pre-requisite courses with the intent of entering these high-demand programs.

 GNTC has already accepted 15 students into the new Nurse Aid Accelerated (CNA) program for the summer 2024 semester, said Allie Patnode, dean of Nursing and Health Technologies at GNTC.

 The agreement will also be used to help fund instructor positions and laboratory upgrades at GNTC.

 The GNTC Foundation will administer the fund, which will create semi-annual and annual compliance reports.

“We have worked closely with GNTC for several decades, and many students who have completed their clinical training there have emerged as leaders at Atrium Health Floyd," said Dr. Sheila Bennett, Atrium Health Floyd senior vice president and chief of patient services.

 “Our imaging services director, Ches Ely, is a 2005 graduate of GNTC's Radiologic Technology program, and Jay Shedd, our director of Respiratory Therapy, also is an alumnus," Bennett said. “Both programs are critical to our hospitals as we provide comprehensive and compassionate care to our patients. This partnership ensures we will continue to onboard highly skilled teammates to fulfill our mission of healing for all."

About Atrium Health Floyd
The Atrium Health Floyd family of health care services is a leading medical provider and economic force in northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama. Atrium Health Floyd is part of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Advocate Health, the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Floyd employs more than 3,500 teammates who provide care in over 40 medical specialties at three hospitals: Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center – a 304-bed full-service, acute care hospital and regional referral center in Rome, Georgia; Atrium Health Floyd Polk Medical Center in Cedartown, Georgia; and Atrium Health Floyd Cherokee Medical Center in Centre, Alabama; as well as Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center Behavioral Health – a freestanding 53-bed behavioral health facility in Rome – and also primary care and urgent care network locations throughout northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama. Atrium Health Floyd also operates a stand-alone emergency department in Chattooga County, the first such facility to be built from the ground-up in Georgia.

About Atrium Health 
Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health is part of Advocate Health, the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, which was created from the combination with Advocate Aurora Health. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine is its academic core. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked nationally among U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals in eight pediatric specialties and for rehabilitation, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association's Quest for Quality Prize and its 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award, as well as the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing $2.8 billion last year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits. 

About Advocate Health 
Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 155,000 team members across 68 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation's largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $6 billion in annual community benefits. ​