NSCC Receives $1.765M to Create The Bertolon Simulation Health Care Center of Excellence


Donna and Henry Bertolon formal picture

An unprecedented $1.765 million gift to North Shore Community College will create The Bertolon Simulation Health Care Center of Excellence in the Health Professions building on the College's Danvers campus. The gift comes thanks to Beverly residents Henry and Donna Bertolon (NSCC Class of 1972) and their children.

The gift, the largest in the college’s history, will support the to-be-established Bertolon Center dedicated to the provision of enhanced state-of-the-art simulation labs and advanced technology for electronic medical records software training to enhance the curricula for the inter- and intraprofessional health care, human services,  and emergency response training programs at the College.

The donation will touch a myriad of college programs, including: Nurse Education, Practical Nursing; Emergency Response Technician; Respiratory Therapy; Surgical Technology; Radiologic Technology; Medical Assistant; Substance Addiction; Criminal Justice; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Human Services; Physical Therapist Assistant; and Fire and Safety Protection. The gift is intended to, for the above mentioned programs,: increase the number of full-time and adjunct faculty certified in simulation education; to increase enrollment, demand and retention; to increase the percentage of students completing their designated degree or credential; and to achieve higher job placement rates for students completing their designated program of study.

“The Bertolon Center will enable our students to be trained on state-of-the-art simulation equipment; a transformed inter- and intradisciplinary curriculum based on a minimum of two simulations annually; increased virtual simulation to build additional practices in common health conditions; and, updated educational electronic patient medical records software.  All of this would yield differentiated educational experience that would provide our learners the skills needed to be successful in the health care field today,” said Dr. Karen Hynick, NSCC’s Vice President of Academic Affairs

She noted that NSCC has already invested in a strong simulation laboratory setting at its Health Professions Building on the Danvers Campus.  Annually, the college spends over $5 million dollars for its health care, human services and emergency response programs.

 “Although our college typically replaces one simulation patient annually due to an end-of-life cycle, to build the Bertolon Center of Excellence will require additional investment in simulation equipment, funding to transform our curriculum, embed educational electronic medical records, and ongoing professional development.  The technology to operate the simulation labs and the electronic educational patient medical records software programs that accompany the simulation often times needs to be refreshed or updated on a three- to five-year cycle,” Hynick added.

In order to upgrade the existing simulation labs and build on the patient viewpoint-team approach, NSCC will, over a five-year period: expand simulation equipment; embed simulated health care records into the health care curriculum across all of our health programs; and develop 10 team-centered patient health care scenarios.

Over the last decade, hands-on education through clinical placement for health-related occupations has become increasingly more competitive to secure and is often more restricted at the associate degree and certificate levels.  As a result, NSCC has actively been transforming its health education model to more heavily rely on simulation education to prepare its students for the workforce.  Cutting across all of NSCC’s eight externally accredited health care fields, simulation lab activities allow students to apply theory and skills to real-life situations without endangering a patient or requiring a clinical placement.  Research studies show that interprofessional simulations benefit the learners by increasing their understanding of their field’s role in the health care team and strengthen their understanding of particular health conditions and appropriate treatment plans.

In addition, over the last decade, health care providers have moved from paper patient medical records to electronic patient medical records.  As a result, health-related education programs have needed to embed simulated electronic patient medical records and charting into their curriculum to meet industry standards and prepare the health care workforce of tomorrow.  Understanding how to track and input patient data and information through electronic record systems is a fundamental technology skill set needed to work in most health care-related facilities.

In addition, the Bertolon Center will provide new opportunities to train incumbent workers through continuing education units to utilize the facilities in the evenings and weekends through partnerships with industry.

“Henry and I believe in the community college system.  I attended NSCC many years ago before going to Northeastern University.  My experience at the College was extremely positive.  I had great professors and learned numerous practical skills that gave me a definite advantage in securing employment,” said Donna Bertolon.

“Practical skills and graduating qualified job candidates are the reasons we decided to help North Shore Community College, with the goal of increasing student access to their already impressive Simulation Lab.  The expanded Lab at the Bertolon Center will allow more students the opportunity to get the hands-on training that will allow them to better compete in the job marketplace. With our gift, we hope to encourage other individuals and organizations to come join us and help make a difference by supporting NSCC, which we all know is a very important resource for so many young people in our community,” she added.

“On behalf of the North Shore Community College Foundation, I would like to thank the Bertolon Family Foundation for your exemplary leadership and generosity in establishing the Bertolon Center of Excellence at North Shore Community College,” said NSCC President Dr. Patricia A. Gentile. “Thanks to your initial contribution, NSCC is already underway with implementing this exciting and innovative educational advancement to our Allied Health programs, which will transform the academic experience and career-training for NSCC students pursuing health care, human services and emergency response careers.”

NSCC and the NSCC Foundation look forward to the official public launch of The Bertolon Center this fall which will bring together students, alumni, faculty, business and community leaders, and residents of the greater North Shore community to celebrate this exciting endeavor and the Bertolon family’s incredible vision, commitment and generosity. 

The Bertolon Family will also be honored at the NSCC Foundation’s 3rd annual Champions for North Shore Community College Recognition Breakfast in October.  


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