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Faculty spotlight: Bidwell Training Center Medical Programs Instructor Christine Saccamango

December 22, 2020 1:30 pm

As Medical Programs Instructor, Christine Saccamango gives her students a sense of purpose.

She encourages them to be critical thinkers, sets them up for success as citizens in our society

and especially, gives them a person to emulate.


Saccamango has worked for Bidwell Training Center for over 30 years and in those years,

she has changed the lives of many students. Her expertise in her field and her past professional

and personal experiences have helped her to become a hardworking, supportive and

empathetic teacher.


“BTC combines my love for teaching and medical coding,” says Saccamango, “I get to help

people just as people have helped me overcome challenges in my life.”


Taking the Road Less Traveled


When considering higher education, Saccamango wanted nothing more than to graduate from

college and become a teacher, but when her father lost his job, everything changed

for her family.


“Similarly to my students, I started down a path which was quickly changed by life circumstances,” says Saccamango, “When my dad lost his job, I went to work as a very young person and did my best to excel with the challenges I faced.”


Saccamango put her aspirations to become a teacher aside and began working in a family healthcare center. Although this was not the path Saccamango saw herself taking, she believed that the position gave her a great foundation to build on.


“I learned a lot about family practice medicine, dentistry and even the specialty of orthopedics, but the most important lesson that I learned was about working with people,” says Saccamango.


Saccamango also says that she learned how important it is to listen, address the needs and concerns of patients and be accountable for her actions.


“The position really helped support me as I entered college. Otherwise, I would not have been able to attend,” believes Saccamango.


Saccamango completed her Bachelor’s degree and became a Certified Coding Specialist. Still longing to teach, she began to look for opportunities in education and coding and she eventually secured a position with BTC.


“I emphasize to my students that there will always be a way to increase their skill set and they have to look for inspiration and engage themselves,” says Saccamango, “because when a person allows themself to change – they end up learning something new and all that they’re capable of.”


Pioneering BTC Programming


In recent years, the medical coding industry experienced a transition from the ICD-9-CM system to the ICD-10-CM/PCs coding system. The transition to the new system necessitated a complete re-vamp of BTC’s medical coder/biller program in order to prepare students for continued growth and job opportunities.


“It was at this point that I began work to create a hybrid program that would help our students achieve greater marketability,” says Saccamango.


Saccamango went on to design BTC’s customized medical claims training program with Highmark and a medical coding program with UPMC.


Teaching in a Pandemic


As BTC transitioned to virtual learning, Saccamango continued to work tirelessly for her students. In addition to helping them excel in their studies, she also provides them with resources and assistance for any social needs.


“It’s easy during these times to get into a slump but I’m a good motivator for my students. I tell them all the time that ‘I’m their best cheerleader’,” says Saccamango.


While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, Saccamango believes that remote instruction has inspired them to learn, grow and excel in a virtual world.


The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational institutions has also shown that teachers do more than just coach, guide or inspire their students. They look at them holistically, providing unwavering support and motivation.


“At BTC, we support the whole being,” says Saccamango, “The students often tell us that they experience a re-birth of themselves upon graduation. They make it a point to tell me how instrumental BTC was in kicking their life in gear.”

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