‘Working Class: Helping & Healing’ premieres March 21

Published 02.06.2019

Nursing & Health Sciences
Applied Health Studies
Physician Assistant
Natural Science
Individualized Programs of Study
School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications News
Emergency Management & Homeland Security

The latest episode of a locally produced, award-winning public television series emphasizes the importance of caring individuals who provide for the health and well-being of the community.

“Working Class: Helping & Healing,” produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media, premieres on WVIA-TV at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21 (with rebroadcasts at 1 p.m. Friday, March 22, and 11 a.m. Sunday, March 24). It highlights the importance of science, math, communication and hands-on experience in preparing students for success in health and human service careers.

The film features Penn College faculty, administrators and students who serve the community in helping and healing roles. Among them is Thomas A. Zimmerman, associate professor of psychology, who counseled area residents after the TWA Flight 800 crash in July 1996. He discusses the importance of people coming together to help one another and to heal in the wake of tragedy.

"Working Class"“If you are going to be able to live with this, find some way to make it meaningful,” he advises. Another faculty member, David B. Bjorkman – who began a career in law enforcement after 9/11 – discusses the role of emergency management in preparing and assisting communities during times of crisis.

“I firmly believe that a community’s resiliency is based upon their pre-disaster level of preparedness,” said Bjorkman, emergency management/social science instructor. “The better prepared and planned communities are prior to disasters impacts their resiliency.”

The documentary features video of local community organizations working together during mass casualty exercises conducted in downtown Williamsport. It also features Penn College physician assistant students and others who volunteer their services during the Little League Baseball World Series.

“The health science students at Penn College have an incredible opportunity. ... Our students get real-world experiences there that they wouldn’t otherwise get,” said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

Gilmour, who began her career in a health care profession, appears in the documentary and explains that science – a foundation for study in the health sciences – was her favorite academic subject.

“I loved science. I loved biology, anatomy, chemistry. … science was 100-percent me!” she said.

Health care is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing more than 18 million workers, according to the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that health care occupations will add 2.4 million new jobs – more than any other occupational group – over the next decade.

Labor market futurist, bestselling author and TedX speaker Ira S. Wolfe also appears in the film, which explores health care traditions and technologies. In addition to featuring traditional care providers, such as nurses, “Working Class: Helping & Healing” will share insight into the growing emphasis on health information technology.

John Kravitz, senior vice president and a chief information officer at Geisinger Health System, addresses the role of data in patient care.

“We look at technology at Geisinger as, how do we assist a care provider, a physician, a nurse, a therapist. … How do we make their lives a little bit better by serving up information to them where they can use it for decision-making purposes?”

Other professionals appearing in the documentary are Robert N. McCauley, professor of philosophy, psychology, religion and anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, who talks about the importance of science education; Philadelphia-based artist Kay Healy, who speaks about the healing power of art; and James W. Slotterback, manager of emergency preparedness for UPMC Susquehanna.

Other featured Penn College faculty and staff are Jessica L. Bower, nursing education simulation lab coordinator; Michele M. Budnovitch, instructor, business information/health information technology; Summer L. Bukeavich, business administration/management and marketing instructor; Dan K. Christopher, assistant professor, business information/health information technology; Joshua A. Bower, director of the college’s physician assistant program; Tina M. Evans, associate professor, applied health studies; Tushanna M. Habalar, nursing instructor; college police chief Chris E. Miller (who was chief in Montoursville at the time of the TWA crash); and Justin M. Ingram, assistant professor of biology.

“Working Class: Helping & Healing” is the fifth in a series of Telly Award-winning documentaries that connect career awareness and academic subjects. In addition to public television broadcast, series videos appear on YouTube and the website.