perfusionist at work

The UTHealth Cardiovascular Perfusion Program at McGovern Medical School recently received an initial five-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

The five-year term is the maximum amount permitted for an initial accreditation and was recommended by the Accreditation Committee-Perfusion Education. The cardiovascular perfusion program was recognized for its substantial compliance with nationally established accreditation Standards and Guidelines.

“The cardiovascular perfusion program was established from the ground up, and it is expected for a program to take 4 years to complete the task of achieving CAAHEP accreditation.  It took us 2 years to complete this task. This is a huge achievement for the university, and we are grateful for the instrumental work by Eric Solberg, vice president of Academic and Research Affairs, who helped us achieve this milestone,” said Kirti Patel, director of the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program.

The last perfusion program that was started was approximately 13 years ago.  With the addition of The UTHealth Perfusion Program there are now 17 programs in the country and only two in Texas.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our McGovern Medical School, and I would like to thank Dr. Colasurdo, president of UTHealth, and the Center for Advanced Heart Failure Governing Council – Dr. Gregoric, Dr. Kar, and Dr. Loyalka for their vision and support in building a state-of-the-art perfusion program,” added Igor Banjac, director of Perfusion Services and chief perfusionist, Center for Advanced Heart Failure Perfusion Department.

The program accepted its inaugural class in January 2015 and graduated its first group Dec. 18. It is the only such program within The University of Texas System.

In addition to its initial accreditation, the program’s strength in leadership also recently was recognized by the Texas Medical Board.  Patel was selected to serve as the Chair of the Texas Medical Board’s Perfusionist Licensure Advisory Committee (a committee of seven with membership from across the state).

In a letter to Patel, Texas Medical Board President Michael Arambula, M.D., Pharm.D., stated, “as a valued member of this committee, your personal commitment and contribution will advance the Board’s mission to establish and maintain the standards of excellence for perfusionists and ensure quality health care for all the citizens of Texas.”  Patel was nominated for the position by Margaret McNeese, M.D., professor of pediatrics and vice dean of Admissions and Student Affairs.

The UTHealth Cardiovascular Perfusion Program has set goals to achieve accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as well as to convert the current certificate program into a master’s level program.

For more details on the program, please see the website.