When Maria Santiago founded the Home Health Aide Training Institute (HHATI), she could not have imagined that the school would have successfully taught and launched the careers of over 3,000 students. Fast forward six years later, the school director, who herself was a seasoned home home health aide, now has more than 25 years of experience in the industry and continues to help people find success in the medical field, while also doing what they can for patients.
Santiago has always been helping people, which she has been doing since she was a child, lending a hand here and there to her hometown neighbors. She has an innate joy in doing what is in her power to help improve the lives of those around her.
Additionally, she is a volunteer in her local community, serves at events and is also active in the Go Fund Me realm, serving as an advocate for people who may be hurting, struggling or suffering from conditions outside of their control.
“If we get a call for someone who is sick or suffering and they can’t afford care, we will try to send a volunteer to help,” she stated. “We will typically offer our students the opportunity for real-world experiences and volunteerism to go care for the patient, but of course never placing them in a situation where they are not qualified to do so.”
HHATI is a nationally-recognized school that is licensed and approved by the New York State Education Department. The students that attend range from 17 years old and up to 65 and even over, which further speaks to the notion that it is never too late to get started on a passion.
At HHATI, the curriculum includes five unique, signature programs, including Personal Care Assistance (PCA), Home Health Aide (HHA), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and coordinator and infection control training. Each program has its own respective roadmap to success, while each requires a different amount of time to complete. The PCA course is 40 hours of education and training, coordinators put in 50 hours, while HHA is 83 hours, and CNA stands at 125 hours.
The ultimate goal for Santiago and her staff is to help guide students to graduate, find employment in their respective fields and serve patients with care and dignity.
“Everyone has a journey. No one comes into our lives by chance,” said Santiago. “We train our dedicated student body to provide home and nursing care all across the country, whether professionals want to travel to another place or practice in the state where they already live.”
Presidential Tribute of Excellence Award
A highlight of Santiago’s year was being awarded the Presidential Tribute of Excellence Award for her continued efforts and top-tier contributions to the healthcare industry. The accolade was delivered with an accompanying call by President Joe Biden as well. The cherry on top!
“It was a great honor to receive this award and so surprising to receive a call from the president,” said Santiago. “We just try to offer our students the best educational courses and healthcare training that we can so we can help them fulfill their aspirations and realize their dreams.”
Celebrating Six Years in Operation
Capping off a stellar 2022 campaign, HHATI, is also celebrating its sixth year anniversary. Santiago has maintained the same passion for helping others, but also has never wavered from her mentality that one must take pride in what they do and find joy in helping others.
“If I was the designated driver, I would never feel as if people come into my path by chance,” said Santiago. “There is no designation. If you’re designated to meet me and I can help you in some way that helps improve your life, whether you are a student that studies with us or a patient that receives treatment from one of our graduates, then I did my part.”
About Maria Santiago
Maria Santiago is the CEO and Director of Home Health Aide Training Institute (HHATI), which trains certified nursing assistants and-certified home health aides. She recently won the Presidential Tribute of Excellence Award and her team has taught over 3,000 students to date. For more information about getting involved in home healthcare, please visit www.hhati.com