First Sleep Disorders Degree in State to be Located at Genesee Community College

Genesee Community College’s Board of Trustees on Monday evening approved a new Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Polysomnographic Technology, the first of its kind in any college or university in New York State. Polysomnographic Technology – the evaluation and diagnosis of more than 100 sleep disorders – is a fast growing health care profession.
With the Board’s approval, the program will now be submitted to the State University of New York for approval, and later, to the New York State Education Department. The College expects the program to begin this fall.

Full-time students can complete the intensive 66-credit program in four semesters. The College expects to enroll 35 students in the program, said Dr. Eunice Bellinger, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) examination. New York State is expected to soon require licensing of polysomnographic technologists, and Genesee graduates will be eligible for licensure.

Polysomnographic technologists work closely with physicians to diagnose sleep-related problems and provide support services to patients. They usually work in “sleep laboratories,” where patients with sleep problems spend one or more nights under intensive clinical observation. Technologists monitor patients’ breathing, blood oxygen levels, brain waves, eye movements, muscle tone, and other clinical variables. They use a variety of highly specialized clinical equipment, such as electroencephalograph, electrooculograph, electromyograph, and electrocardiograph machines to assist in diagnosis. Technologists also counsel patients in the use of respiratory and sleep devices that aid in sleep hygiene.

Courses include Anatomy and Physiology, Physiology of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Study Instrumentation, Sleep Disorders, Environmental Chemistry, General Psychology, as well as four courses in Polysomnography and general education courses. The academic program also includes two clinical practice courses giving students the opportunity practice their skills in a sleep lab.
Sleep disorders are getting increased attention throughout the medical community, Dr. Bellinger told trustees. “Sleep disorders are often associated with other medical conditions, such as obesity,” Dr. Bellinger said. “Medical technology has given us a variety of ways to assess and diagnose neurological, cardiac, and muscular problems during sleep and ultimately, help patients lead healthier lives. We are looking forward to adding this Polysomnographic Technology program to our academic offerings, and making valuable new contributions to the health of people in our local communities.”