More than a decade after earn­ing her bachelor’s degree in health administration, Laurie Lee Domiano, CMA (AAMA), landed her dream job.

“I started off a little backwards,” she says. “After getting my bachelor’s in 2008 during the recession, I found it hard to be hired where my degree could be [used]. I went back to [my] local community college to get my associate degree in medical assisting.”

Domiano immediately obtained her CMA (AAMA)® certification and began working at a primary care practice while also teaching in the medical assisting program at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland.

“It was very fulfilling,” she says. “I loved getting to meet students and help them navigate and prepare for the field.”

Her teaching experience also prepared Domiano for her most gratifying position: medical assisting training and development manager at ChristianaCare. “Teaching at the community college and having adult learners was a great experience and helped to build up my skill set for my current role,” explains Domiano.

At ChristianaCare, she focuses on ways to improve medical assistant retention, recruitment, and career development. During her two years in this role, she has established a medical assistant practice council, whose pri­mary purpose is to provide opportunities to share information, provide practice insights, improve care delivery and outcomes, and make recommendations to leadership on decisions that impact medical assistants’ work across The Medical Group, which is comprised of community-based primary care physicians and specialty-care practices at ChristianaCare.

Domiano also put in place a medical assistant star award that is given to a deserving medical assistant by the counsel. Additionally, she has led career development and leadership classes for medical assistants.

Most recently, Domiano helped initiate the health system’s Medical Assistant University program, which is a partnership between ChristianaCare and Delaware Technical Community College. The program encourages current employees within the health system to obtain their medical assisting education at the college, complete their practicum in an ambulatory setting within the health system, partake in a certification prep course, and then take the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam after graduation. Once they are certified, participants are lined up with an interview for a medical assisting job opening.

“Having the certification will help you move into a role as a medical assistant,” says Domiano.

She says the program offers medical assis­tants an immersive learning opportunity to work in one of the nation’s most dynamic health care systems.

“You graduate already having a net­work of resources and people on your side,” explains Domiano. “[Those who complete the practicum] get to understand the beliefs and values of ChristianaCare and get to know who they are going to be working with in our team-based environment. The university experience offers more than just learning medical assistant skills; it also teaches them the team dynamic and what it feels like being in a team environment.”

Tuition, certification, and recertification are all paid for by ChristianaCare.

“[It’s] very exciting to be part of a health system that is investing so much in medical assistants,” says Domiano. “ChristianaCare believes that medical assistants are the back­bone of practices and that we need to grow and get benefits out to medical assistants.” About 350 medical assistants currently work for ChristianaCare clinics through­out Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

In addition to the Medical Assistant University, Domiano helps recruit medical assistants by working with four local schools to place graduates with practicums and hire them if they are a good fit.

“Being a medical assistant is such an exciting role,” says Domiano. “We get to perform meaningful work in people’s lives. Helping medical assistants know that they are valued and helping them find a job that suits them is a big reason I love the work I do.”