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CPD ‘Live’ Department

The Mental Health First Aid course took place August 11 and 12, 2017 in the Training Room of Upstate AHEC in Greenville, South Carolina. Twenty healthcare professionals attended the course.

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour training course designed to give participants key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as CPR training helps a layperson without medical training assist an individual experiencing a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aid helps participants know that mental illnesses are real, common and treatable and that it is OK to seek help. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of this program to improve knowledge of mental disorders and substance use, remove fear and misunderstanding, and enable those trained to offer concrete assistance.


Participant comments:

“The course manual was valuable during the sessions and will be very resourceful in my practice. Also, I purchased an extra manual to share. The instructor Kathy Chamblee’s expertise in this subject was evidenced by both didactic and experiential methods of teaching. I recommend this course be offered at all AHEC campuses and in community colleges, in human services, nursing and psychology courses. It would be a good prerequisite for all First Responders, too! (Train the Trainer course of the manual would facilitate state-wide training of professionals to teach in their communities in the 46 SC counties.)”

“Great course, would recommend to anyone! I learned a lot.”
Rebecca Rogers, PHR, SHRM-CP, a Human Resources professional at Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville, attended the course and stated that this course helped her assist her employees by empowering her to identify issues, and provided tools to have a conversation.

Upstate AHEC Advances with Excellence in Occupational and Physical Therapy Education

Greenville, South Carolina – Upstate Area Health Education Center (AHEC) has achieved provider status with both the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) Approved Provider Program and ProCert, through the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

AOTA’s Approved Provider Program (APP) is designed to promote the quality and relevance of continuing education (CE) activities offered to practitioners within the realm of occupational therapy. FSBPT’s ProCert is a comprehensive continuing competence activity certification program, which uses set standards to evaluate and award certification to CE programs offering credit for physical therapy practitioners.

“Our continuing education staff at Upstate AHEC is exceptional in terms of their passion for healthcare education and the quality of programs they provide,” said Nita Donald, Executive Director of Upstate AHEC. “These new levels of distinction for Upstate AHEC programs will help offer a wider array of opportunities for occupational and physical therapists in both the local area and beyond. When choosing Upstate AHEC for their continuing education needs, these professionals can be confident in knowing the programs they attend are held to the highest industry standards.”

Upstate AHEC plans to certify CE programs that are offered both in-person and online for occupational and physical therapy professionals. For more information about Upstate AHEC or upcoming programs, please visit

Deneatrice L. Donald (aka Nita) named the new Executive Director of Upstate AHEC

The Board of Directors of Upstate AHEC is pleased to announce Deneatrice L. Donald (aka Nita) has been named the new Executive Director, effective September 5.
Nita brings a wealth of experience to her new role with over nineteen years of experience in the non-profit and state government sectors.
Nita began her tenure with Upstate AHEC in 2013 and will be transitioning from her current role as the Health Careers Program Coordinator.
The Board of Directors conducted a local search in June which generated several applicants. After an extensive interview process with a number of highly qualified candidates, the Board and staff stood unanimously behind Nita. Her experience, knowledge of the organization, and vision for the future made her the ideal choice to take Upstate AHEC to the next level.




Greenville, South Carolina-Upstate AHEC is pleased to announce it achieved accreditation by American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

ANCC Accreditation distinguishes organizations that demonstrate quality and excellence in the curriculum design and delivery of continuing nursing education (CNE).  Accreditation organizations, like Upstate AHEC meet comprehensive, evidence-based criteria to ensure CNE activities are effectively planned, implemented and evaluated.  Nurses in the market served by Upstate AHEC now gain access to the highest caliber of education to meet certification or licensure requirements, which in turn contributes to improved health care outcomes.

“We are proud to be recognized by ANCC for our commitment to continuous improvement and highest quality and integrity of continuing education for nurses, “says Jennifer Walker, Director of Distance Education and Lead Nurse Planner at Upstate AHEC.  “ANCC accreditation gives nurses assurance that by choosing Upstate AHEC, they will receive the best CNE available.”

ANCC accreditation is a voluntary, peer review process intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of continuing nursing education, making it worthy of public confidence. Accrediting organizations, like ANCC, assess providers of continuing nursing education to ensure they meet rigorous global standards established by ANCC.

UPSTATE AHEC is a federally and state funded 501 (c)3 non-profit organization committed to the improvement of healthcare through education.  The mission of Upstate AHEC is to be the leader in health professions through education by linking students to health careers, health professions students to communities, the healthcare workforce to continuing education and our communities to better health.  The core values of Upstate AHEC include service, integrity, dedication and excellence.

THE AMERICAN NURSES CREDENTIALING CENTER (ANCC), is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), provides individuals and organizations throughout the nursing profession with the resources they need to achieve practice excellence. ANCC’s internally renowned credentialing programs certify nurses in specialty practice areas; recognize healthcare organizations for promoting safe, positive work environments; and accredit  providers and approvers of continuing nursing education. In addition, ANCC provides leading-edge information and education services and products to support its core credentialing programs. Learn more at

Upstate AHEC Selects 2015 Upstate AHEC Outstanding Educator Award Recipient

John Paguntalan, RN, MS, CCRN-A, APRN-BC has been selected as the 2015 Upstate AHEC Outstanding Educator. The Outstanding Educator is selected based on their ability to present content in a practical, useful format that will meet the needs and expectations of program participants, while communicating material enthusiastically.  Educators must also successfully adapt presentations to address multiple learning styles.

Mr. Paguntalan has served as an exceptional professional trainer for Upstate AHEC for 10 + years. Always confident before an audience, John exhibits great enthusiasm for his topic and a passion for teaching others very complex clinical topics and skills. He is a well-respected and recognized educator for continuing education programs at Upstate AHEC.  He consistently received high marks and excellent ratings on his program evaluations.

Mr. Paguntalan has more than 10 years of critical care nursing experience.  He has taught heart rhythms and 12 lead ECG courses for almost 10 years to various audiences including staff nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, EMT’s and allied health staff.  He developed educational modules on a multitude of topics for the graduate nurse residency program, for multi-disciplinary continuing education and critical care competency in a hospital setting.  His diverse experience as a cardiac care nurse, nurse practitioner, and clinical nurse specialist, provide solid foundation in presenting health-related topics including the management of patients with atrial fibrillation, and heart failure.  His current research interest as a PhD candidate at the Medical University of South Carolina is in the role of physical activity in preventing coronary heart disease among high-risk population.  His research, “Integrative review of self-report instruments to measure physical activity among high-risk African American women: A coronary heart disease perspective,” was recently published at the Journal of Black Studies.

John lives in Greenwood, South Carolina and currently practices as a Nurse Practitioner/Nursing Quality Outcomes Specialist, at Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood, South Carolina.

Photo: John Paguntalan, RN, MS, CCRN-A, APRN-BC and Continuing Education Consultant, Bennie Pettit, BS, MS

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