Jackie Kazik oversees PA students as they practice eye exams in the new health professions lab.

Two Physician Assistant faculty members and seven Concordia University Wisconsin alumni have played a role in readying a Covid-19 alternative care medical facility at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin that is expected to open in the next several days.

Assistant professors Tiffany Frazier and Michael Toppe recently completed training at the multi-million dollar facility built inside the 200,000 square foot Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center in mid-April to ease potential overcrowding of area hospitals due to this worldwide pandemic. As of yesterday afternoon, Milwaukee County reported 2,815 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the largest by far of any of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and over 43% of all state cases.

Also taking part in the training were physician assistant alumni Brittani Strege, Austin Damaschke, Eric Boehm, Stephanie Odell and Jordy Pendergast, along with Megan Crow and Maggie Sonnemann, graduates of Concordia’s nurse practitioner program for experienced registered nurses. cuw.edu/nursepractitioner

The facility able to accommodate 754 patients was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was designed as an oxygen step-down unit for Covid-19 patients discharged from area hospitals who are too ill to return home, or have an oxygen requirement and do not have home availability to oxygen, according to Frazier. Similar makeshift hospitals have been built in Chicago and Detroit.

“It was amazing to see the expo center transformed into a hospital in a little over nine days,” said Frazier, who started teaching at Concordia in 2016 and has traveled on mission trips to South America and Borneo, among other countries. cbs58.com/news/alternate-care-facility-to-open-this-week-at-state-fair-park “This whole Covid-19 pandemic is entirely overwhelming, but it’s what we’ve trained for and we’re happy to be involved and have a chance to give back to the community,” added Frazier, whose first 12-hour call shift at the temporary hospital is next Monday.

Concordia’s Physician Assistant program launched in 2014 and graduates consistently achieve high test scores on the national certifying exam required to practice in the field. The program has been directed by Jacqueline Kazik, MA, PA-C, since June, 2017. For further details, visit cuw.edu/physicianassistant


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