Now that the dust has settled from our annual Education Forum, we wanted to take a look at what some of our member programs did to celebrate PA Week. From service project to celebrity sightings, there was a little bit of everything!
Students in the Division of Physician Assistant Studies at the Keck School of Medicine of USC used PA Week as an opportunity to give back to their community. “Many of us have worked with the homeless population through volunteer work at shelters and clinics. With these experiences, we thought that making care packages would help meet some of their basic needs,” said Sarah Wilder, PA-S. They selected the Union Station Adult Center in Pasadena, California — a 56-bed adult center that provides support services and meals for the local homeless population — to receive the care packages. Each care bag included basic necessities such as dental supplies, wet wipes, socks, and soap, along with a handwritten note. Back at the school, the staff also celebrated the PA faculty with cake and a signed photo of the group.
Several students in the didactic phase of the PA program at King‘s College volunteered at the college’s annual public health fair. The students provided blood pressure and macular degeneration screenings for the college and local community, as well as distributed general health information related to weight management, eye care, osteoporosis, and nutrition. Academic Director Lorraine Novinger, MS, PA-C, said, “The students had a wonderful time serving and interacting with the people of Wilkes-Barre, and we look forward to our next opportunity to give back to the community that has been supporting us.”
First-year MCPHS University PA students, along with assistant professor Patricia Cerreto, MS, PA-C, visited pre-med students at a local college and gave a presentation on the PA profession. “It gave them the opportunity to practice composing and delivering a presentation,” said Cerreto. “And in preparation for the presentation, they gained further knowledge about the PA profession. It was a great way for them to gain confidence and to feel proud of their future profession.”
At Lenoir-Rhyne University, this year’s PA week was a special one, since it coincided with their inaugural PA class. Their celebrations included an information booth about the PA profession in the student center, a student-run clinic for medically underserved patients, and a food drive. To cap off a great week, the program hosted an open house that featured a tour of their state-of-the-art facility and health screenings performed by PA students. “The entire faculty was impressed by the initiative the students took in planning and implementing this important historical celebration of our profession,” said Dr. Richard Ball, program director and practicing PA for more than 35 years. “As a graduate of one of the first classes of physician assistants, I feel it’s important for the next generation to recognize those who have paved the way for them.”
Every year for the past three years, the Duke PA Program has kicked off National PA Week with a “Day of Service.” This year, more than 90 Duke PA students, staff, and faculty volunteers participated in service projects across the Durham, North Carolina, community. Their community partners this year were: Urban Ministries of Durham, Diaper Bank of North Carolina, Book Harvest, Habitat for Humanity, Keep Durham Beautiful, Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), and the Intensive Care/Special Care Nurseries of Duke Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital. There were over 250 volunteer hours logged for the day!
At Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOL), the class of 2018 kicked off PA week by hosting a jambalaya fundraiser. Students served over 400 plates, raising $2,000 for OLOL Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Five student leaders also got to meet with Governor John Bel Edwards, who proclaimed October 6-12 PA Week in Louisiana.
Members of the 2018 PA class at SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s College of Health Related Professions and students from Hofstra’s PA Studies Program took a trip to Times Square for “PAs on the Plaza,” and got to meet host Hoda Kotb! Several students and faculty from Hofstra also attended the New York State Society of Physician Assistants annual meeting, where they participated in Medical Jeopardy, making it to the semi-final round.
Shenandoah University (SU) PA students celebrated the week with several service projects. One project was the Daniel Morgan Middle School Youth Health Care Career Exploration in Winchester, Virginia, an annual event for local fifth graders planned in conjunction with Valley Health (a local hospital system) to educate youth about career options in health care. The SU PA division brought along first- and third-year PA students who provided education on what a PA is and does in the clinic. SU students also taught fifth graders suturing skills on pigs’ feet, as well as how to write a prescription.
In an attempt to spread the word about PAs and celebrate PA Week, the didactic year students at Missouri State University organized a health care symposium. The audience included more than 100 undergraduate and high school students who were anxious to learn more about career opportunities in health care. PA students recruited health care personnel from fields including physician assistant, athletic training, nurse practitioner, dietician, nurse anesthesia, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and radiology to share information on their professions. Attendees learned about the educational requirements, job responsibilities, salary, and pros and cons for each of those professions.
At the University of New Mexico, PA students and faculty focused on spreading awareness of the PA profession. They submitted a newsletter article to the local Department of Family and Community Medicine, and distributed packets of information about PAs to leadership of their School of Medicine and University Hospital. They also gave out buttons and informational flyers at a table in the hospital to greet staff and patients. The program also created a banner to display on campus.