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SpecialtyCare Names Recipients of Annual Perfusion Scholarship

Cassandra Wuest (Photo: Business Wire) Multimedia Gallery URL


SpecialtyCare, the market leader in outsourced cardiac perfusion services, announced today that it has named Cassandra Nicole Wuest and Kyle Patrick Zelesnick as recipients of the 2017 Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarships.

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Ms. Wuest is a perfusion student at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. Previously, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical chemistry from Kansas Wesleyan University. Her work history includes time at Salina Regional Hospital as a telemetry technician / ICU specialty technician and as a pharmacy technician with Walgreen’s Pharmacy. Cassandra embodies the high-achieving student with a distinguished focus on promoting quality patient care and she shows an interest in a sustained career in perfusion and related research.

Mr. Zelesnick is a perfusion student at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He is also a certified pharmacy technician and autotransfusionist who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He co-authored work on cervical spine injury that appeared in the Journal of Neurosurgery and, as an undergraduate, was honored by The Scientific Research Society for demonstrated excellence. As a student and in his work, Kyle has shown a strong drive to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare.

SpecialtyCare’s perfusion scholarship program—honoring the leadership and legacies of Gary Brukardt and Jim Brown—was first announced in 2016 in conjunction with the launch of Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for Perfusion and Extracorporeal Technology Education, which SpecialtyCare also supports as part of its commitment to training and education that advances healthcare.

“Gary Brukardt and Jim Brown exemplified integrity, leadership, and unwavering dedication to patient care,” said SpecialtyCare CEO Melvin F. Hall, PhD. “The goal of our scholarship program is to assist students who share these same qualities, and we’re confident that we have found two such individuals in Cassandra and Kyle. Their academic and work histories reflect the personal and professional values needed to become exceptional clinicians and valuable advocates for the practice of perfusion.”

In addition to developing future healthcare leaders, the Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarships help raise awareness of the growing shortage of perfusionists required to support the 350,000 heart surgeries performed every year in the United States.

Sam Weinstein, MD, MBA, President and Chief Medical Officer at SpecialtyCare, said, “Healthcare is facing a serious shortage of perfusionists due to an aging workforce and a net decline in clinicians, but cardiac surgery continues to evolve and grow in complexity. Surgeons need a talented supply of expert professionals in this discipline and we’re hopeful that this scholarship program will help young people discover cardiovascular perfusion as a career.”

Additional information about Cassandra Wuest and Kyle Zelesnick can be found at the SpecialtyCare blog. The selection committee will begin accepting applications for the 2018 Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarships on December 1, 2017. Details are now available on the SpecialtyCare website.

About SpecialtyCare

More than 13,500 physicians at 1,300 hospitals trust SpecialtyCare to help them achieve exceptional care outcomes, regulatory compliance, and financial results. With over 1,800 associates supporting more than 380,000 procedures annually, we collect and analyze data in SCOPE™, the SpecialtyCare Operative Procedural Registry, and use it to define standards, determine benchmarks, disseminate best practices, and discover innovations that create increased medical and economic value for hospitals. We are accredited and certified by The Joint Commission. By developing expertise beyond industry requirements, our customers can be certain they have the best partner for clinical excellence in perfusion, intraoperative neuromonitoring, autotransfusion, sterile processing, surgical assist, and minimally invasive surgical support.

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