Doug Beigel, COLA
Based in Howard County for over 20 years, COLA is the largest independent laboratory accreditation, education, and consultation organization in the United States. In the business of patient care, they are acutely aware of the growing need for qualified professionals, particularly in allied health and laboratory technology.
For that reason, partnering with educational institutions made sense. They have worked to foster interest in laboratory technology careers by partnering with charters schools in Howard and surrounding counties, and they support allied health education by donating to Howard Community College. COLA has committed a $25,000 endowment to HCC for scholarships for Medical Laboratory Technician students.
Maintaining a strong market of qualified health professionals is critical, especially with the Affordable Care Act. New technology also requires that people administering laboratory tests have a high level of training and expertise, and are able to work in coordination with a wide range of health care workers who are all depending on that same data to make decisions about patient care. “Howard Community College really promotes this idea of working together as a team - nurses learning from med techs and med techs learning from nurses. There are no silos, and if that can be done at the community college level, it will permeate through the health care family,” says Doug Beigel, COLA CEO.
For Beigel, community colleges play a pivotal role in the lives of students and in the labor market. “Community colleges give people the chance to explore opportunities to better themselves and discover how they can make an impact, and to do so in a way that is affordable.” He describes HCC as “a gem in our backyard” that is often overlooked, yet is providing a significant service to the community and the region.
“Why not? Certainly in terms of labor development it makes sense. We see the national shortages of health care professionals, and at the community college you see results. These students have a real desire to make a difference and to contribute. It is very compelling for me – I imagine these folks running tests for me or my family, and it is easy to understand the value of a college education. For us, it was an easy decision and we feel privileged to be a part of it.”