Master’s Projects

As we near the summer semester, second year students in the Class of 2019 are preparing to start their Master’s Projects. This opportunity allows them a choice to pursue a topic of interest to them. They may direct their own research and develop a paper based on a specific research question.

Students may also elect to complete a course within Augsburg University’s Master of Arts Leadership, Masters in Business Administration or Masters in Music Therapy departments. Our PA students also have the chance to participate in a range of experiential learning courses within  local and international communities. During the 2017 summer course, students could be seen in China, Nicaragua, local community clinics and at summer camps volunteering their time while learning about current healthcare issues.  Continue reading “Master’s Projects”

Excuse Our Mess

excuse our remodeling mess

The PA Program is excited to announce that our construction on new classrooms will begin soon! We are going to be holding regularly scheduled classes in Northwestern 230 for the week of February 5th. Starting February 12th, all scheduled classes will be held in Olson Campus Center. Please be sure to pay attention to signs so you know where to go!

Classroom Renovations Spring 2018

The Physician Assistants Studies program will begin renovations on two of our classroom spaces during the spring semester. We are excited about this opportunity to design and innovate new learning spaces for our students. The renovations will allow for greater room and flexibility to engage in cooperative group learning activities and discussions. This enlarged space will be especially helpful as we continue to welcome increased class sizes in the years ahead.

While the construction is taking place, staff and faculty will be remaining in their respective offices at Northwestern Hall. Students will be temporarily attending their classes in Olson Campus Center. Currently, the program’s exam room is located at Olson Campus Center. The specific start and end date of the construction is yet to be determined. Please pay attention to signs on campus directing visitors to appropriate meeting spaces. As more information is made public, we will keep the program page and Facebook page updated.

On behalf of faculty, staff and students, we appreciate your patience as work through this process. We can’t wait for you to see the finished project!

Year in Review

About this time every year, we all reflect back on all that has happened in the past year. We have had quite a few changes, additions and accomplishments in 2017! This year we would like to share our milestones with all of you:

The department faculty and staff grew! Vanessa Bester joined us in July as new Associate Director and Assistant Professor. Katelyn Waalen started in August as a clinical lead specialist. Amanda Perkins permanently took over pharmacotherapy this fall and Trent Whitcomb joined our faculty this fall.

We were also excited to welcome a new Dean of Professional Studies earlier this spring! Dean Monica Devers oversees the graduate, adult graduate and traditional undergraduate professional studies programs. Before deciding to come to Augsburg, Monica was the first dean at the School of Health and Human Services at St. Cloud State University. She is trained in speech-language pathology and has worked for the University of Minnesota as well as Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Program Director Alicia Quella won a fellowship through AAPA-PAEA for research on trends with new PA graduates and their job placements. This is the first year of the fellowship and we are excited about what her research will find! Watch the video where Director Quella talks more in-depth about her research.

Skye Peltier, an alumnae from class of 2005, won the CARE award from the American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network. With her award, Skye intends to use the power of real-world data in the ATHNdataset to further research in opioid use in hemophilia patients.

Every year our students participate in a wide-range of volunteering activities. Over the course of the year, we clocked 34.5 hours of service. Some of our favorite community partners are Ronald McDonald House, Feed My Starving Children, and Second Harvest Heartland! During PA Week alone, student volunteered almost every day of the week.

students at second harvest heartlandgroup at Ronald McDonald House

The PA program partnered with the Augsburg Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams for a stuffed animal toss. A total of 100 stuffed animals were donated to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.

Augsburg PA students secured the title of Challenge Bowl Champions as well as second place!

In December, the program held it’s twenty-first commencement ceremony at Hoversten Chapel on Augsburg main campus. Twenty-seven graduates completed their formal training and are now preparing for their certification exams. We can’t wait to see where they go!

We will shortly be under-going a remodel of our classrooms and are excited about the new learning environments for our current cohorts and the ones to come. Stay-tuned for more information about our upcoming remodel!

21st Master of Physician Assistant Studies Graduation

On Saturday, December 2nd, students of the twenty-first Master of Physician Assistant Studies class graduated at Hoversten Chapel. These are the first students to graduate under the new Augsburg University name. Our newest alumni join a network of over 500 peers who completed their graduate training at Augsburg.

Julia Curry spoke to her fellow graduates about their accomplishments so far and the learning that still lies ahead in their professional career. Lydia Bruenjes presented the Clinical Instructor of the Year award to Richard Burris, PA-C. Mr. Burris has been a long-time preceptor for our program. We are grateful for his many years of partnership and nurturing future PAs.

Robert H Carlson, PA-C, was the guest speaker for the twenty-first commencement ceremony. Carlson noted that it was fitting to be speaking at this ceremony as he was chosen as the student speaker for the inaugural commencement ceremony in 1997. He is an alumnus of our program and had wise-words to share with the class. In addition to the MPA students will have at the end of their name, he urged them to add this acronym as well: POEM. P stands for passion, O for open, E for empathy and M for mentor.

The staff and faculty congratulate the class of 2017 on this milestone! We are excited to call you a peer. We wish you the best of luck as you prepare for your final certifications and your new chapter as a Physician Assistant.

Adjunct Faculty Wins CARE Award

Skye Peltier MPH, PA-C, has been awarded $50,000 to research opioid use in hemophilia patients. The award comes from The American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network (ATHN) which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by bleeding and clotting disorders. ATHN’s mission is to use technology to secure data, advance knowledge, and transform care. This organization presents research opportunities to nurses, social workers and other members of the hemophilia treatment center interdisciplinary care team by way of the CARE award. Upon winning the CARE Award, Skye will be able to have the opportunity to use the power of real-world data in the ATHNdataset to further her research.

Skye is an alumnae from our 2005 graduating class of Physician Assistant Studies. She returned to Augsburg ten years later to join our faculty and help educate the next generation of PAs. Currently working for both Children’s Minnesota Hematology Oncology and the Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders at the University of Minnesota, Skye has the unique role of assisting young adults transition their care.

Congratulations to Skye on her award!


MAPA President’s Perspective

Erin Rysavy is an alumnae from the 2001 Augsburg PA Program. Prior to that, she completed a B.A. in Biology at the College of St. Benedict. Erin received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. She is the current president of the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants. Currently, she works for St. Cloud Orthopedic Associates. The following article appeared in the newest edition of MAPA’s newsletter, imPAct.

I was recently given the honor to speak at Augsburg University’s White Coat Ceremony. It gave me a chance to reflect on what the white coat means to me, and what a key role humanism plays in medicine!  Although I am a graduate of the Augsburg PA program, they did not have this ceremony as part of the process when I was there.  So I did a little Google research.  Interestingly I found that the history of the white coat stems from the 19th century.  At that time, there was great respect for certainty, in contrast to the quackery of medicine. During that time doctors mostly wore black garbs, representing formality, solemnity, and death. The white lab coat came to emphasize the more scientific approach to modern medicine, thanks especially to Joseph Lister, whose reproducible results helped researchers better understand how to prevent bacterial contamination. This color change also represented the “pureness”, and the dream that Lister had that bacteria could be successfully overcome; that pneumonia, appendicitis, or an infected blister no longer had to result in death.  Today, many people, including Dr. Gold suggest that the white coat is viewed as a symbol of compassion and responsibility to not only take care of patients, but to care for patients.

Continue reading “MAPA President’s Perspective”

Augsburg University PA Program: Looking Forward

Jenny Kluznik (MPH, PA-C), assistant professor for the Augsburg Physician Assistant Program, and Kaylie LaPlante, a first year PA student, collaborated on an article featured in this month’s Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants newsletter, imPAct. Kaylie is the MAPA student representative for the Augsburg PA Program. 

The Augsburg Physician Assistant (PA) Program was established in 1995, and was the first PA program in the state of Minnesota. Since the launch of the program, over 500 PAs have graduated from the program and are providing care for patients in Minnesota and around the world. Building on the strong foundations in the program, we have seen many exciting changes in recent years including a new location, a new curriculum, and new community partnerships. In the fall of 2015, the PA program relocated from the main Augsburg University campus to a space on the Luther Seminary campus in St. Paul. This has offered an opportunity for the PA program to continue to develop and grow community partnerships and classroom/lab spaces for our students. This fall the PA program launched a new curriculum which emphasizes active learning and practical application of medical knowledge to patient cases. The cornerstone of this curriculum is a case-based small group course run throughout the academic phase which integrates material from the other courses. The curriculum also explores concepts and skills in cultural competency, working in various medical settings and with other health professions, and building clinical-decision making skills which are all crucial skills for new graduates.

What has remained constant at Augsburg University PA Program is our commitment and dedication to our students and our mission – which includes a deep dedication to training primary care PAs with a commitment to providing care in underserved areas. We would like to share some stories from our graduates and current students on their experience at the Augsburg PA Program including why they choose this program and how their training at Augsburg has shaped their careers.

Continue reading “Augsburg University PA Program: Looking Forward”