|Jack Roche, outside the future home of NEIMT.|
The New England Institute of Medical Technology hasn’t opened yet, but officials are hoping it will be an economic spark for the area.By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY — When the Downtown Derry Committee was looking to bring an educational institution to town, resident Jack Roche was ready with an idea in his back pocket, right where it had been for the past three years.
“I have a habit of doing that,” said Roche of Derry. “I write business plans and just put them away. Then all of a sudden, something happens and I can whip it out and go right to it.”
So while Roche had already named his hypothetical school — the New England Institute of Medical Technology — and written out the curriculum and business plan, it wasn’t until the downtown committee expressed interest in the project that he decided the timing was right.
“They feel that it’s going to be a boon to the economy in this downtown area,” he said. “They’re even calling the college an anchor to build up the town, and I have to admit, when you’re sitting here and all of a sudden you see people walking around outside with lab coats on, it adds a certain aura.”
The yearlong program will prepare students for the Certifi ed Surgical Technologist exam, which certifies people to assist surgeons in operating rooms.
Full-time students would spend the first six months in traditional classes at the school’s 6 West Broadway location, followed by three months of classroom laboratory instruction and a final three months at an internship at Parkland Medical Center in Derry.
“At first they are observing,” Roche said. “They’ll be standing sometimes outside the sterile areas, and as time goes on they’ll be allowed inside the sterile areas and then before they graduate they’ll be handing the surgeons the instruments and actually doing it.”
Roche said he plans to accept no more than 24 students to each “cohort,” with cohorts of full-time students meeting during the day and part-time students meeting at night. Programs will begin each January and July.
Roche’s background is in human resources, both as a professional and college professor and dean. But he became interested in surgical technology in 2000 when his wife Valerie left a career in finance to become a surgical technologist.
While teaching human resources classes at Long Island University in New York, Roche later opened training programs in surgical technology, acupuncture and forensic studies at the school.
“The surgical technology was my favorite because of what they do and seeing what my wife did,” he said. “It’s so fulfilling because you know at the end of the day you were involved in the well being of many people, some of them very serious.”
Roche plans to open doors to students in January, but there’s a lot of work to be done between now and then, he says.
Roche has applied for private grant funding to purchase laboratory equipment and cover first-year operating expenses. The school is a registered nonprofit and just received its tax-exempt status last month, he said.
So far, Roche said he has two part-time faculty members on board and is set to move in to the ground-level vacant space at 6 West Broadway in downtown Derry this fall. Derry Planning Director George Sioras said the Downtown Derry Committee could not be more pleased.
“To (Roche’s) credit, he just took this on, and we couldn’t have asked for a better gift,” Sioras said. “People will now say, hey, there’s a hopefully great medical college in Derry, New Hampshire, and that gives us some good publicity and puts us on the map a little bit.”
Roche has also gathered a seven-member group of school trustees from the local community, including local residents and business owners with ties to the downtown area.
“I wanted the people who are kind of overseeing the governance of the college to be local people who really have a tremendous interest in Derry like I do,” Roche said.
For more information about the New England Institute of Medical Technology, contact NEIMT@got-hr.com.
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