Augsburg PA Graduate, Tracy Keizer, Featured on AAPA Website

Tracy Keizer
Tracy Keizer

Tracy Keizer, PA-C, earned a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Augsburg College in 2007.  Today, Keizer works in behavioral health at Regions Hospital, both in clinical practice and as director of a psychiatric fellowship program for PAs and NPs — a fellowship that she herself completed earlier in her career.

Recently, Keizer was featured on the American Academy of PAs website in an article about PAs in the mental health field.

To learn more, read the article on

Augsburg PA Students are the 2017 MAPA Challenge Bowl Champs

PA students at challenge bowlAs part of the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants Spring CME conference, students from PA programs across the state competed in the annual state Challenge Bowl. Four teams consisting of academic and clinical phase PA students from Augsburg competed on Friday, March 17th.

The Augsburg team named the Myoclonic Jerks consisting of PA students Jessica Puchalski (Class of 2017), Claire Maccani (Class of 2018), and Zachary Stevens (Class of 2018) won in the final round of competition. Another Augsburg team, the Palpable Thrills took second place in the competition consisting of Fran Fairfield (Class of 2017), Clinton Billhorn (Class of 2018), and Peter Seebart (Class of 2018).

A special thank you to MAPA (and the Student Relations Committee) for hosting this event.

Augsburg PA Program teams included:
Palpable Thrills (Fran Fairfield, Clinton Billhorn, Peter Seebart)
Myoclonic Jerks (Jessica Puchalski, Claire Maccani, Zach Stevens)
Lord have MRSA (Claire Pfleiderer, Justine Commerford, Cole Kriett)
Septic Shockers (Nadia Commers, Ellen Motley, Ashley Gross)

Augsburg College at PA Day on the Hill

On Tuesday, February 21, thirty Augsburg College Physician Assistant students participated in advocacy events at the Minnesota State Capitol.  The Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA) organizes these opportunities for MN-based PAs to meet with their legislators and discuss the importance of the Physician Assistant in Minnesota’s healthcare community.

photo collage of PA students at the capitol

Auggies Outside the Classroom

Emma Hermes ’18, Haley Johnson ’18, and Clinton Billhorn ’18 visit the Ronald McDonald House
[L to R] Emma Hermes ’18, Haley Johnson ’18, and Clinton Billhorn ’18 visit the Ronald McDonald House
Throughout the year, Augsburg PA students participate in and organize a variety of volunteer experiences in the Twin Cities community. Here are three examples of their work:

  • Participating in Project Access at Edison High School and other area high schools. As part of the Physician Assistant Education Association’s (PAEA) annual forum, several first and second year PA students along with practicing PAs, share information about the PA profession and how to start preparing for a career in medicine. For more information,
  • Raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House with the annual student society 5K run/walk in September.
  • Participating in a PA student panel for the pre-PA club at the University of Minnesota.

Augsburg Announces Twentieth Class of Physician Assistant Studies Graduates

On December 10, 2016, twenty-three students completed commencement exercises to receive a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

During the ceremony, Brady Griffith ’16 spoke on behalf of his fellow classmates as the class representative.

Dr. Keith Wenda, OB/GYN and long-standing preceptor for the program, delivered the commencement address.  The start of his gradual retirement in 2017 will be truly bittersweet for the Augsburg PA Program, as Dr. Wenda has mentored over 180 PA students since 1995.

Carissa Carlson, PA-C received the Clinical Instructor of the Year Award, as voted upon by the graduates.  Carissa is also an Auggie alumna, graduating from the PA Program in 2009.

The faculty and staff of the program congratulate these twenty-three men and women on their achievements.  We wish them well as they prepare to sit for the national certifying exam in the upcoming weeks and months.

The class of 2016 is the twentieth class to graduate from Augsburg’s PA Program since its founding in 1995.

2016 graduates

Second year students attend national kidney foundation conference

Kaitlyn Brunes ’17, Jessica Puchalski ’17, Omar Fernandes ’17, Kristina Moburg ’17, Fran Fairfield ’17, Carmen Lezpona ’17
[L to R] Kaitlyn Brunes ’17, Jessica Puchalski ’17, Omar Fernandes ’17, Kristina Moburg ’17, Fran Fairfield ’17, Carmen Lezpona ’17
Augsburg PA students attended the National Kidney Foundation conference on Saturday, December 3rd.  Participating students had the opportunity to hear from local nephrologists, primary care doctors, and even a patient who had received a kidney transplant. The conference focused on prevention and screening of chronic kidney disease, especially among the population of patients with Type II Diabetes.

Visit for more information about kidney disease prevention and screening.

Augsburg PA Program organizes Winter coat drive

The Augsburg PA Program held a Winter Coat Drive that received twenty winter coats for those in need.  Students also collected and donated cinch bags that will serve as backpacks to help protect belongings from the elements.

It is expected that the number of people who require shelter still surpasses the amount of available space in shelters.  By supplying them with warm attire, Augsburg PA students are hoping to help prevent frostbite and illness that will only further their displacement and struggle.

Items were donated to ACCESS Homeless Outreach and Joseph’s Coats.

Class of 2018 participates in white coat ceremony

PA students in white coatsOn September 26, the Class of 2018 participated in the annual White Coat Ceremony held by the Augsburg College Physician Assistant (PA) Program. The White Coat Ceremony joins the symbol of the white coat with the principles of humanism in medicine which include professionalism, altruism, responsibility, respect, and compassion. Thirty PA students, faculty and staff from the program were joined by nearly 100 friends and family members at the event. The White Coat Ceremony is held early in the academic phase of the Augsburg PA Program, and is an opportunity for students to share their commitment to the study and practice of medicine. In addition, each student received a Keeping Healthcare Human pin provided as a gift from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, initiators of the first White Coat Ceremony in 1993 as a visible reminder of the key principles of humanism in medicine.

Augsburg College health and wellness fair

Emma Hermes ’18, Clinton Billhorn ’18, Jessica Puchalski ’17
[L to R] Emma Hermes ’18, Clinton Billhorn ’18, Jessica Puchalski ’17
The Augsburg PA Student Society recently hosted a booth at the College Health and Wellness Fair. The Student Society distributed handouts about the process of getting into a PA program, as well as information about the role of a Physician Assistant within the healthcare system. Many undergraduate students and community members stopped by the booth to ask current PA students about their experiences and recommendations for the PA school admissions process. A current Augsburg PA student stated “We wish everyone luck in reaching their goals and hope that some prospective students learned more about the responsibilities and skills that PAs possess.”

Physician Assistant students volunteer at Community Meals over Labor Day Weekend

Claire Maccani ’18, Clinton Billhorn ’18, Emma Hermes ’18, Erin Ness ’18
[L to R] Claire Maccani ’18, Clinton Billhorn ’18, Emma Hermes ’18, Erin Ness ’18
A first year student said “we volunteered this weekend at Community Meals and once again had a positive experience.  Many of the guests had stories about how Augsburg has helped them.  They were very excited to see us, and the other volunteers were especially kind.”

The student volunteer went on to say that the guests engaged them in many good conversations about the students’ future healthcare careers.

There have plans in place to continue volunteering at Community Meals as the fall semester continues.