Georgia Health Sciences University PA Program

Written by Amanda Ness, PA-S, Amanda Brehm, PA-S, and Kathy Dexter, PA-C

Spring semester is in full swing for us at Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU). While the class of 2013 is in the middle of their third semester of didactic year, the class of 2012 is eagerly rounding out their year of rotations. First-year students are fine-tuning their history and note-taking skills by transitioning to seeing patients in hospitals and clinics. This interaction with patients is giving the second-year students the confidence to apply everything we have been learning over the past year!

The class of 2013 has expanded their community health outreach to a second location in Augusta. In addition to the Christ Church clinic, a second clinic is now to carrying out the same purposes of providing basic health screening and education to a greater area of the medically underserved in the community. This new clinic was developed in conjunction with Mercy Ministries in Augusta, an organization that provides the homeless with resources necessary for daily living. For the first time ever, students administered free flu shots to patients at both clinics. It is extremely gratifying that we had the opportunity to offer flu vaccinations to people who otherwise may not have access to this important preventative measure.

Jennifer Chapman, the student director of both clinics, expressed the need for such a service in the community by saying, “These patients don’t have money to fill prescriptions, they don’t have money for clothes, and they don’t have money for food, so the last thing they are going to do is spend money on a flu shot.”

Another first for our program at GHSU was our first annual 5K Resolution Run, held on January 21, 2012, at the North Augusta Greenway. This event was organized to raise money for the aforementioned clinics. There were over 90 participants who braved the cold to kick-start their New Year’s Resolutions! The success of the event leaves us with hope to make the Resolution Run an annual tradition for our PA program.

Across the globe in Cuzco, Peru, three members of the class of 2012 participated in a campaign to screen indigenous women for cervical cancer as part of their OB/GYN rotation. Peru has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world. Assistant Professor Kathy Dexter accompanied PA students Emily Berry, Kimberly Walker, and Christie Wells. Daron Ferris, MD, of GHSU, led the group into the Andes Mountains surrounding Cuzco to set up temporary clinics to screen local women with the Papanicolaou test. It proved to be an incredible experience for all.

Our volunteer work serves as an excellent distraction from our coursework, while also adding meaning to what we are striving to become as PAs. Outside of the classroom, the students remain active on campus by participating in soccer and softball intramurals this spring. The girls’ soccer team won their championship! Despite the vigorous coursework, these activities help to keep our days as students balanced. In the meantime, we are all looking forward to GAPA’s summer conference.

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