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December 12, 2012

ULM student and Monroe native accepted into “Perfusionist” program

Faraun Pruitt, a senior kinesiology major from Monroe, graduated with the fall 2012 class on Dec. 8.

He was also accepted into the prestigious perfusionist program at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston; he will begin his studies in January 2013.  

According to the Texas Heart Institute website, approximately 16 applicants are accepted each year.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs defines a perfusionist as a professional who operates external circulation and auto-transfusion equipment during any medical situation where it is necessary to support or temporarily replace a patient’s circulatory or respiratory function.

A perfusionist is responsible—in consultation with a physician—for selecting the appropriate equipment and techniques to be used.         

“I had some wonderful experiences while doing my internship at St. Francis Medical Center,” said Pruitt.

“The medical staff was very helpful in incorporating me into each procedure. This internship was probably the defining factor on my acceptance into the Texas Heart Institute.”

Advised by Dr. Lisa Cooper Colvin, professor of kinesiology at ULM, Pruitt spent 250 hours as an intern at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe and countless hours in the classroom and the lab.

“Faraun and I had several conversations through advising sessions in which we explored career opportunities,” said Colvin.

“We worked together to find his passion and make it a reality.  Faraun has opened the door to another exciting career choice for ULM Kinesiology Exercise Science students.  We couldn't be more proud!”

Perfusionists may be employed in hospitals, by surgeons, and as employees of a group practice.

According to the American Society of Extra-Corporeal Technology, the average base salary for a recently graduated perfusionist is $60,000 to $75,000; for a certified perfusionist with two to five years of experience, $70,000 to $90,000; six to 10 years of experience, $80,000 to $200,000; and perfusionist managers, over $100,000.

“My education at ULM really helped prepare me for what was in store,” Pruitt said.

“Anatomy and Physiology was definitely a key contributor in me learning the basics of this field. I really enjoyed my college career at ULM and would hope that maybe others will begin to look into becoming clinical perfusionists.”

Pruitt continued, “My career goals are to become a Certified Perfusion Technologist and practice for 20 years. During my final five years, I plan on teaching what I have learned.”

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