Certified Office Assistant Carries on Dad’s Work at UConn Health

“I love it here at UConn Health,” says COA Maria Colan. Find out why and the special reason she’s “always wanted to work here since a little girl.”

Meet Maria Colan, a certified office assistant at UConn Health (Photo by Lauren Woods).

Maria Colan, 33, of Hartford works as a certified office assistant (COA) at UConn Health’s Outpatient Pavilion and its Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. She’s been in the role for three years.

“I love it here at UConn Health,” exclaims Colan. “I always wanted to work here since a little girl. My Dad worked here for decades as a janitor before retiring. My Dad is very proud that I work here at UConn Health too.”

Colan recalled, “My Dad picked me up at work for the first time and was amazed by how big and beautiful the UConn Health campus has become.”

Her Dad, Romulo Colan, often reminisces about his interview for his UConn Health job and how he was so sure he wouldn’t be hired because he did not know a word of English.

“Yet, he was hired on the spot,” says Colan. “UConn took a chance on him.”

In her COA role, Colan works daily directly with patients checking them in and scheduling their appointments and imaging tests, and organizing their patient referral needs to specialists. She specifically assists with meeting the needs of Endocrine Neoplasia and Bone Health patients.

Colan, who was born in Peru, came to the United States at just age one.

“I’ve lived here in Connecticut my whole life,” shared Colan who is also very proud of her Hispanic heritage which also helps her and her patients additionally in her front-desk role in the clinic as a COA at UConn Health.

“I know Spanish, as we spoke it in our household,” said Colan. “My Peruvian family is very close knit and we keep our traditions going strong. Soccer brings us together, especially whenever our National Peru soccer team is playing on TV. World Cup is always very special for us and insane.”

“I love working with people,” says Colan. “UConn is different. It’s its own special community. The providers are awesome. I love the nurses. I also love my co-workers who are great.”

Colan recommends UConn Health as a great employer.

“I recommend working for UConn Health in any job here. UConn is full of possibilities for sure. You never know what can happen for your career growth here,” stresses Colan. “A career here in health care and at UConn Health is definitely rewarding.”

Everyday Colan loves helping her patients and also reducing their stress levels.

“For our patients we try to get them in for appointments as soon as possible,” said Colan. “I like witnessing how happy they are when we can meet their health care needs, are able to put them more at ease, or even reassure them that we will call them if we have an earlier appointment opening or a cancellation making one available.”

Colan concludes: “It makes me happy to make our patients happy.”

“Maria is an outstanding COA in the Neag Cancer Center working within the Endocrine Neoplasia clinic,” says Caryl Ryan, RN, chief operating officer for UConn John Dempsey Hospital and chief nursing officer for UConn Health. “We are so fortunate to have her and our other hard working and passionate COAs as part of the team at UConn Health.”

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