FREDERICKSBURG FREE LANCE-STAR, ADELE UPHAUS
The federal omnibus spending bill signed last week by President Joe Biden includes $1.1 million for Germanna Community College’s cybersecurity and nursing programs and to establish a free clinic at its Locust Grove campus.
Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner secured $870,000 for Germanna’s James R. Clapper Center for Innovation in Cybersecurity and Rep. Abigail Spanberger secured $251,000 to purchase equipment for the Robert C. O’Neill Wellness clinic.
Construction on the clinic, which will be part of the new Frank and Nancy Turnage Health Sciences Building at the Locust Grove campus, is expected to begin soon, according to a press release from Germanna.
The clinic will provide free health care to uninsured or underinsured members of the community, many of whom live in rural areas without easy access to such services. Screenings, referrals, dental care, physical therapy, wellness evaluations and healthy living classes will be provided by students from Germanna’s nursing and health technologies program, enabling them to receive clinic hours necessary for graduation.
Eileen Dohmann, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Mary Washington Health Care, said the clinic is a good investment “that will fill a critical need for primary care services in our community.”
“The Wellness Clinic will also offer a great learning experience for our Germanna nursing and health care students,” she said in the press release. “Our community needs the Germanna Wellness Clinic.”
Funding for the Clapper Center will go toward growing the college’s cybersecurity degree and credential programs.
Germanna’s president Janet Gullickson said the community college, which has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, is “committed to ramping up educated professionals in [the cybersecurity] field.”
“We understand, as Sen. Kaine and Sen. Warner do, how vital cybersecurity is to our national security, and how great the need is for skilled cyber professionals here in our service area,” Gullickson said.