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Equipment Donation will Lead to Better-Prepared Grads

Submitted by on July 21, 2014 – 4:35 pm

Thanks to the generosity of Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, MA, which recently donated a sophisticated piece of pulmonary testing equipment to Northern Essex Community College, graduates of Northern Essex’s Respiratory Care program will now be even better-prepared for careers in their fields.

Photos by Mike Dean

NECC Professor Chris Rowse (in white coat) demonstrates the college’s new body box for Gareth Morgan of Morgan Scientific (left) and Michael Cornelius, manager, noninvasive services, Merrimack Valley Hospital. NECC student Lenka Poliquin of Plaistow, NH is in the box.

The donation was facilitated by Morgan Scientific, a Haverhill-based company, which also provided resources to get the equipment up and running.

The plethysmograph or “body box” for short is housed in the college’s Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center, located at 414 Common Street in Lawrence.

The airtight Plexiglas box is the size of a small phone booth. When patients are seated in the box, it measures the volume and flow of air from their lungs, helping to differentiate and diagnose respiratory illnesses such as asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis, and others.

“Merrimack Valley Hospital is proud to make this donation. We have a strong relationship with Northern Essex Community College, which offers outstanding health and human services degree and certificate programs,” said Lester Schindel, president of Merrimack Valley Hospital. “This equipment will benefit students in the respiratory care program in particular, and that will better prepare them for employment in their field, including a community hospital like Merrimack Valley Hospital.”

Respiratory Care Professor Chris Rowse says that having familiarity with this equipment will benefit Northern Essex students. “This type of equipment is commonly seen in pulmonary function labs. Having this specialty training will make our graduates more desirable in the job market.”

Recently, when Merrimack Valley Hospital upgraded its pulmonary function testing equipment, Morgan Scientific, which distributes pulmonary function test software and hardware, suggested they donate it to the college. The value of the equipment is $30,000.

Northern Essex offers an Associate Degree in Respiratory Care. Respiratory therapists work closely with physicians and nurses to diagnose lung and breathing disorders, and evaluate and treat patients to help them recover lung function. The demand for health care jobs is continuing to grow, including jobs in respiratory care

For more information, visit the college’s website,

For more information on donating to the college, contact Jean Poth, vice president of institutional advancement, or 978 556-3624.