November 28, 2017: The Colorado Health Foundation has awarded a $600,000 grant to the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement – NIMAA – to train Medical Assistants at Federally Qualified Health Centers in Colorado. NIMAA’s training program is designed to enhance the team-based primary care model, which is the foundation of patient-centered care. The training program is innovative, affordable and helps primary care practices that focus on safety net populations. The grant is targeted at building the infrastructure to enable NIMAA’s expansion in Colorado.
Primary care organizations are transforming from physician-centered practices into patient-focused teams with shared responsibility for care, especially for patients with complex health needs. Medical assistants are key members of the care team in this emerging model of primary care, and NIMAA prepares them for their expanded role through a unique and cost effective approach to MA training.
Central to NIMAA is a parallel program of on-line instruction developed and led by national experts, complemented by hands-on clinical experience in a host clinic throughout a seven-month curriculum. Each student works closely with a host clinic preceptor to practice and develop the skills needed to function effectively when they begin their first day of employment in their health care job.
According to NIMAA Board Chair Mark Masselli, “We applaud the Colorado Health Foundation’s commitment to strengthening the safety net provider team-based approach. NIMAA was found by Salud Family Health Centers of Colorado and its partner, Community Health Center, Inc. in Connecticut. We appreciate the award and look forward to training a new generation of medical assistants to the NIMAA model.”
NIMAA will be opening an office in Colorado and hiring a CEO to lead operations in the state. An advisory council with Colorado stakeholders will be convened and the Colorado Community Health Network will support NIMAA with its outreach, communications and recruitment efforts.
Approximately 10 Colorado clinics and well over 100 students are expected to participate in the first two classes.
“We are very excited to be developing a statewide medical assistant training program in Colorado. We’ve been working to develop a training program that reflects our needs and values of team-based care. The financial support provided by the Colorado Health Foundation will enable NIMAA to build a robust network of Colorado host clinics to train high quality medical assistants to work in community health centers in the new model of patient centered, team-based care,” said Tillman Farley, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Salud Family Health Centers and member of the NIMAA Board of Directors. “This statewide project will benefit Colorado health centers, our patients, our communities, and the young people who now have an affordable pathway into a health career.”
About the Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy and advocacy, learning and capacity building. For more information, please visit www.coloradohealth.org.
About the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement
NIMAA is a learning institute focused on a new and innovative approach to medical assistant training created in partnership between Community Health Center, Inc., in Connecticut and Salud Family Health Centers in Colorado. The NIMAA program uses the latest on-line teaching tools combined with experiential learning in host clinics to train medical assistants to be effective members of primary care teams in community health centers and other high-performing healthcare organizations. Visit www.nimaa1.org for more information.