Berkeley College Responds to Community Need during COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Contact: Kelly Depsee
Director, Communications and External Relations
973-200-1099
KME@BerkeleyCollege.edu
BERKELEY COLLEGE DONATES MORE THAN 50,000 MEDICAL SUPPLIES
FROM ITS SCHOOL OF HEALTH STUDIES TO ASSIST
EMERGENCY RESPONSE EFFORTS
 
Administrators, Faculty and Alumni Join the Frontlines

 School of Health Studies

Photo Captions: (Left) Joseph Charleman, CST, CSFA, CRCST, LPN, Chair, Surgical Technology and Surgical Processing Technician programs, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, administers tests for COVID-19 tests at a mobile testing center. (Center) Faculty and an alumnus from the Berkeley College School of Health Studies donate medical supplies to a local surgical center. Berkeley College has donated more than 50,000 supplies, including isolation gowns, shoe covers, gloves and surgical masks, to area hospitals and emergency management efforts. (Right) Eva Skuka, MD, PhD, Dean, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, volunteers at a mobile testing center.

Berkeley College is responding to community need during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, both as healthcare workers in the trenches and by donating vital supplies to area hospitals and emergency management efforts. 

Berkeley College faculty members like Joseph Charleman, CST, CSFA, CRCST, LPN, Chair, Surgical Technology and Surgical Processing Technician programs, and Eva Skuka, MD, PhD, Dean of the School of Health Studies, answered a call for volunteers from the New Jersey State Nurses Association. After completing a short training, they were assigned to a mobile testing center.

“As a nurse, it is part of your oath to care for your patients, no matter what the diagnosis,” said Charleman, who administered 150 COVID-19 tests on his first day and continued to serve at testing sites throughout April. “We train our students for these real-life situations when they complete their clinical rotations. I don’t feel fear – I just see the need for kind care.” 

Many Berkeley College graduates have gone on to successful careers in healthcare and are currently serving on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, at medical centers including New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Mount Sinai Health System; Columbia University Irving Medical Center and others. 

NPelaezBanner.jpgPhoto Caption: Niurka Pelaez joined the healthcare team at Hackensack University Medical Center in March, just days after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency to contain the spread of COVID-19. Pelaez graduated from Berkeley College with a degree in Surgical Technology in December. 

Berkeley College graduate Niurka Pelaez always wanted to help others, but she never imagined entering the workforce during a public health crisis. The Certified Surgical Technologist began her career at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ, in March, just days after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“It was a tough time to start my career,” said Pelaez, who graduated from Berkeley College with a degree in Surgical Technology in December. “I definitely could not have imagined entering the field in the middle of a crisis. But this is what it means to work in healthcare. I’m still very optimistic about the future of my career. In the end, the healthcare community will be stronger than ever.”

As a Certified Surgical Technologist, Pelaez assists surgeons and surgical personnel during operations, including preparing the operating room and supplying instruments during medical procedures. Since the start of the public health crisis, the Passaic, NJ, resident has also been among the hospital employees responsible for distributing supplies and donations throughout the hospital. Click here to read Niurka Pelaez's full story.

Berkeley College has also donated more than 50,000 medical supplies, including isolation gowns, shoe covers, gloves and surgical masks, to area hospitals and emergency management efforts. The supplies had been available for use by students preparing for careers in the Surgical Technology, Surgical Processing Technician, Medical Assistant, Practical Nurse and other programs offered through the Berkeley College School of Health Studies. 

Medical Supplies Donation

"The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen before," Skuka said. "We have to find ways to pool our resources and work together to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontlines who are caring for our communities during this crisis. To make a difference you do not have to be brilliant or perfect. You just have to care."

In March, the College delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Hackensack Surgery Center in Hackensack, NJ, which continues to serve patients facing surgical emergencies. Approximately 20 students in the Berkeley College Surgical Technology program have completed clinical rotations at the facility over the past 10 years. 

“These supplies are needed to ensure the safety of both the patient and the healthcare professional,” said Demetrios Econopouly, DPM, Chief of Podiatric Service and Residency Director, Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center, who also operates at the Hackensack Surgery Center. “They will help us on the front lines as we respond to this crisis, and we are grateful.” 

Charleman said the current public health crisis presents lessons for his students about becoming a dedicated healthcare professional. 

“To my students, I would say that you have to have compassion. Every patient deserves healthcare,” he said. 

Eva Skuka and Joe CharlemanPhoto Caption: Eva Skuka, MD, PhD, Dean of the Berkeley College School of Health Studies, and Joseph Charleman, CST, CSFA, CRCST, LPN, Chair, Surgical Technology and Surgical Processing Technician programs, answered the call for healthcare volunteers to staff a mobile testing center.

About Berkeley College 

Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College has campuses in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, as well as in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, with more than 5,700 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for seven consecutive years. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu 

The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.

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