Nationally Certified Medical Assistant Tawnya Luppino Returns to Southcentral Foundation

Tawnya Luppino, certified medical assistant, works at the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center. She was among the first interns to work for SCF in the 90s and has returned as a CMA.

Former Southcentral Foundation RAISE intern Tawnya Luppino worked for SCF in 1995. Back then, SCF didn’t have a formal internship program — in place was a pilot project to help students learn about career opportunities. Luppino learned to file documents and prepare for employee and board meetings.

SCF’s RAISE Program became an official internship program when SCF moved to the Alaska Native Health Campus in the late 1990s. The SCF RAISE Program develops leadership skills and provides on-the-job work experience for Alaska Native and American Indian youth who are between the ages of 14 and 19. RAISE offers three separate sessions per year: summer, winter, and graduate programs, each one exposing participants to health-related careers and relationship-based, customer-owner centric approaches. Without the program, Luppino wouldn’t have most of the professional skills that she utilizes today. Throughout her career and education, she has received compliments about her remarkable work ethic. Thanks to the RAISE Program, she learned to meet and exceed expectations in the workplace.

Wanting a career in the health field, Luppino decided to become a certified medical assistant; after researching schools she found Alaska Career College. ACC offers a medical assisting training program, with a 160 hour externship requirement, which encourages students to learn on-the-job prior to graduation. After learning about the externship opportunities offered at SCF, she applied. Luppino completed her externship at the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center and graduated from ACC in July as a National Certified Medical Assistant. After gaining certification, her externship supervisor encouraged her to apply for a full-time CMA position at the VNPCC.

Luppino often shares the benefits of the RAISE Program and how it affects her life. The lessons she learned during her time with the RAISE Program made an impact on her professional life and career choices. She was encouraged to further her education after high school. During her enrollment in ACC, she was on the dean’s list, the fastest 10-key and keyboard typist in the class, and had perfect attendance. Following graduation, she enrolled in Matanuska-Susitna College as a pre-nursing major.

To this day, she loves working with Alaska Native people, especially when it involves the opportunity to serve Elders.

by Connie Irrigoo

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