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Radiologic Technology Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary, Brings Alums Back to Windward Campus to Recognize Half-Century Mark

07

June

2024

|

21:19 PM

Europe/Amsterdam

Program has witnessed evolution of technology; Radiologic Technology majors’ hiring rate consistently hits 100% mark, many signed-on before graduation

Article by Melinda Eddleman

Rad Tech Program Director Melinda Wren_Addressing Alumni and Current Students and Other Guests_50th Anniversary Celebration_060524

Rad Tech Program Director Melinda Wren_Addressing Alumni and Current Students and Other Guests_50th Anniversary Celebration_060524

Del Mar College’s (DMC) Radiologic Technology Program has trained technologists for hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices for the past 50 years, filling the need for these healthcare professionals around the Coastal Bend since June 3, 1974. The first student cohort stepped foot into the classroom with only one radiographic system in the Flato Building on what is now called the Windward Campus a half-century ago; and since then, administrators estimate more than 1,000 Radiologic Technology majors have completed the program to work in the field.

The Radiologic Technology Program has been quite successful with supplying licensed radiographers to our community, both within and out of the Coastal Bend area.“Over the last 50 years, students have acquired their educational training through our program, impacting the field and the lives of patients across the region.

Dr. Melinda Wren, Radiologic Technology Professor and Program Director

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Bryleigh Villarreal_Rad Tech Sophomore_50th Anniversary Open House_060524

Del Mar College Radiologic Technology sophomore Bryleigh Villarreal spoke about why she was inspired to enter the field during the program’s 50th Anniversary open house on June 4 at the Windward Campus. The College launched the program on June 3, 1974 and has graduated more than 1,000 students who have served as Rad Tech professionals in the Coastal Bend and beyond. Villarreal will graduate as part of the Class of 2025. (Credit: DMC College Relations)

Aaron Espinoza_Rad Tech Sophomore_50th Anniversary Open House_060524

Using advanced technology to assist patients to better health drew Del Mar College Radiologic Technology sophomore Aaron Espinoza to the field and the College’s program. The Class of 2025 student spoke during the 50th Anniversary open house to a crowd of Radiologic Technology alumni and current students. Since 1974, the program has graduated more than 1,000 students who have practiced the profession in the Coastal Bend and beyond. (Credit: DMC College Relations)

On Display_Radiologic Technology 50th Anniversary Open House_060524

On Display_Radiologic Technology 50th Anniversary Open House_060524

First housed with the Allied Health Department, the Radiologic Technology Program is now with the Dental and Imaging Technology Department and currently has 17 sophomore and 25 freshmen students enrolled.

The Radiologic Technology Program began and now resides on the original campus where students first took classes. But in 1984, it moved to more modern accommodations when the new Dr. Clotilde P. Garcia Health Sciences Building opened on what is now called Heritage Campus. The facility was dedicated to the first woman to serve on the Del Mar College Board of Regents (1960 to 1981) and honored her commitment to community health care. That facility housed 11 DMC Health Sciences programs and gave the Radiologic Technology Program the opportunity to expand to two radiographic systems, allowing for more students to receive hands-on training.

The Radiologic Technology Program then moved in 2006 to its current location on the first floor of Building #3 of the Health Sciences Complex after DMC completed its $108 million capital improvements program that Del Mar College District tax payers passed in 2003.

Patricia Paris and Polly Martinez_Radiologic Technology 50th Anniversary Open House_060524

Patricia Paris and Polly Martinez_Radiologic Technology 50th Anniversary Open House_060524

Patricia Paris, who started her journey in 1965 as a radiographer, taught with the College’s program after it started and chaired the Allied Health Department before retiring in 2006. She was even Dr. Wren’s professor during the current Program Director’s time at the College as a student.

The program’s laboratory is actually named after Paris; and as a special guest speaker during the event, Paris noted, “We didn’t have digital imaging, so the processes were handled manually that are no longer performed anymore.” 

Dr. Wren also noted that the overall training experience has evolved as the medical imaging field has changed significantly over the years. “The technology has advanced from analog-type radiographic systems that created images on film to the computerized era with even more sophisticated digital imaging systems,” she said. “The program has six fully digital, state- of –the- art MXR/Konica Minolta radiographic systems, along with various radiographic phantoms for our students to acquire the skills necessary to practice prior to working on real patients within the clinical setting.

This form of capturing images has truly made the use of X-ray generation safer and more apt to capture medical pathology for more accurate diagnosis and prognosis in patient care. Having the six radiographic systems facilitates more practice time so that our students acquire solid experienced-based skills and knowledge as part of their training.

Dr. Melinda Wren, Radiologic Technology Professor and Program Director

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Current Rad Tech Students_Radiologic Technology 50th Anniversary Open House_060524

Current Rad Tech Students_Radiologic Technology 50th Anniversary Open House_060524

The proof is demonstrated by the Radiologic Technology Program’s outstanding history with students’ pass rates on their first attempt taking the American Registry of Radiologic Technology (ARRT) certification examination, which is an unrestricted state licensing examination. Pass rates over the past ten years have exceeded 92%, some as high as 100%, beating the established 75% benchmark set by the program’s accrediting agency––the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology. 

Job placement among the program’s graduates has been 100% over the past ten years, too. 

“Each year, most students obtain jobs before graduation, in part, because the program’s clinical-affiliated sites tend to wait to fill positions until our Radiologic Technology majors graduate,” noted Dr. Wren. “Recently, some partners have started hiring our students as assistants or transporters prior to graduation as a means to hire them full-time after they complete the program and pass their ARRT exam, so we’re very grateful for their eagerness to employ our students.”

The program collaborates with several healthcare industry partners to provide students with 12 sites for required clinical training and experience, including CHRISTUS Spohn Hospitals South and Shoreline; Driscoll Children’s Hospital; Hospital Corporation of America’s Bay Area and Doctor’s Regional Hospitals, Northshore ER in Portland and Northwest ER in Calallen;  Radiology & Imaging; and Radiology Associates at Six Points, on the southside off Staples St. and in Calallen and Portland.

About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.

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