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Apr 082014
 

UNHResponding to a national need for specially trained medical personnel, the University of New Haven will become the first college in Connecticut to offer a bachelor’s degree in paramedicine beginning this fall.

The program will be offered in partnership with Yale-New Haven Sponsor Hospital, a teaching division of Yale-New Haven Hospital. Yale School of Medicine will provide the doctors who will lecture in the program, and UNH students will have access to the Yale cadaver lab at the medical school.

The students in the program, which will be part of the School of Public Service within the UNH Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, will be able to earn either an associate’s degree or a Bachelor of Science degree. Both degrees will include studies in fire science, clinical experience in paramedicine, and training programs at a variety of health care facilities, including Yale-New Haven, Yale Children’s and Yale Psychiatric Hospitals.

The program will emphasize anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology and will train students to address basic and advanced pre-hospital medicine well into the future. Students in the program will be trained so they can pass an exam to be nationally licensed paramedics.

“Connecticut has a tremendous demand for paramedics,” said Peter Struble, a lecturer and former Wallingford, Conn.  fire chief and paramedic, who will head the program. “The need for paramedics with a fire science background is critical. Many fire departments providing medical services are forced to hire paramedics and re-tool them into firefighter medics.”

Nationally, the need for paramedics is growing, in part, because paramedics are getting involved in public education, health promotion, and injury and illness prevention programs, Struble said. Adding to the demand is an increasing number of emergencies, natural disasters, acts of violence and car accidents, in addition to a growing population of both middle-aged and elderly people.

There is such a demand for paramedics that the U.S. Department of Labor predicted that employment of paramedics will grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022.

The only other paramedicine program in Connecticut affiliated with an academic institution is an associate’s degree program offered by Capital Community College in Hartford.

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