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October 14, 2011
 

PA students provide care in medically underserved communities

WAUKESHA, WIS.—Carroll University students in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program are beginning to apply their knowledge in medically underserved communities. During the first academic year, students learn about the PA field and how cultural competency informs patient care through class lectures, simulations and workshop activities. They also have a practicum class taught by Clinical Assistant Professor Ann LeBaron, which provides opportunities to explore culture and diversity.

Students in this class have recently worked with the licensed alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) clinic at the United Community Center in Milwaukee, providing a series of health care education topics to male participants, then meeting for one-on-one sessions. The students also job shadowed physicians at St. Joseph's Medical and Dental Clinic, which supports the health of low-income and uninsured residents of Waukesha County.

These activities are among several supported by a five-year, $967,687 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "The grant helps prepare students to address racial and ethnic primary care needs in Wisconsin, and reduce disparities that exist among the medically underserved," said Jane Hopp, dean of the College of Natural Science, Health Science and Business.

"Our community partnerships provide excellent learning opportunities for our students, and allow the agencies to provide more education and care for their clients and patients," said Katie De Oliveira, program coordinator of Carroll's physician assistant grant.

Carroll is the fourth institution in Wisconsin to train physician assistants. Its inaugural class of 22 students began the program in June 2011. During the summer semester, they were challenged to explore self-awareness, their perceptions of others and gain understanding of their personal values. This fall, they are learning cultural concepts and beginning to apply their knowledge in the community. During the second year, students will have clinical practice rotations with medically underserved sites and populations, allowing for hands-on health care training and further application of how diversity relates to the PA field.

To learn more about Carroll's program, contact Tami Bartunek, graduate admission counselor, at tbartune@carrollu.edu or 262.524.7643.

 
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