“The more engaged a student is, the more they learn,” Hogan said.
With all the misinformation there is about the Affordable Care Act, her students can be part of the solution, she said.
The reviews from the class were so good, she’s continuing the program this semester, she said.
“I got relief from just being educated on it, because there’s so much noise,” senior health care management student Donovan Blount said of the politics surrounding the controversial health care law, often called Obamacare.
But learning the ins and outs of the law and being able to share it with others, he said, “it’s really reassuring.”
The experience working with Cumberland HealthNET, he said, emphasized that those in need of medical coverage are everyday people, with families and homes, and not some dissociated word or faceless entity.
“With all the wealth of information that came together, it was just unanimous that you can’t say it’s a bad thing,” he said.
Georgia Stewart, program manager at Cumberland HealthNET, said when she first visited Hogan’s classes, she was pelted with questions by skeptics of the health law. But by the end of the class, the skeptics were few and far between.
“Sure, it may not be perfect for everyone, and there will be pros and cons,” she said, but “just to see students make that drastic change in a short summer class and get a lot out of it was just amazing.”
The students brought more than their recent training to help in the community, Stewart said, adding that most are technology gurus.
“When there are people who come along who don’t have insurance and they don’t have an email address, they don’t understand the website, you’ve got people who that’s right up their alley,” Stewart said. “It’s really been a blessing for everyone.”
Melissa Lyon, a program manager with the university’s Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning, said the new program fits nicely with the university’s emphasis on community engagement.
“This isn’t an internship, it’s not volunteering, it’s service learning,” she said. “It’s actually part of their coursework.”
Jeff Womble, assistant vice chancellor for public relations, said health care management is one of the most rapidly growing programs in the School of Business and Economics. The university offers a concentration in health care management, and a new bachelor of science degree in health care administration has been approved by the UNC Board of Governors and is pending final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Da’Quan Baldwin, a senior health care management student, said participating in the program has helped improve his job prospects in the field. Although he doesn’t yet have his degree, his work over the summer helped him get a job with an urgent care center.
“From my hands-on experience and being certified, I’m able to tell people that don’t have insurance about how to get insured, and that’s what I do with this position,” he said.
“They took a chance and hired me before I got my bachelor’s degree,” he said, adding there’s a possibility it could become full-time. “It’s really helped me.”
Staff writer Paige Rentz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-2728.