On December 18, 2015, thirty students completed commencement exercises to receive a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.
During the ceremony, Shelby Winzent ’15 spoke on behalf of her fellow classmates as the class representative. Dr. Dave Dvorak, emergency medicine physician and long-standing lecturer for the program, delivered the commencement address. Dr. Joseph McRaith received the Clinical Instructor of the Year Award, as voted upon by the graduates [see story dated December 7, below].
The faculty and staff of the program congratulate these 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 2015 is the nineteenth class to graduate from Augsburg’s PA Program since its founding in 1995.
Students from the Class of 2015 and Class of 2017 took part in the annual Fall Challenge Bowl at the Augsburg College PA Program. The Fall Challenge Bowl is an opportunity for students to review material prior to final exams and to participate in a friendly competition. In addition, this is a unique, innovative opportunity for Augsburg PA students from the graduating class and the first year cohort to interact and network. The winning team this fall was Team Scoliosis comprised of Tess Lauer ’17, Meagan McGovern ’15, Abigail Zagar ’15, Lisa Hanson ’17, and Cynthia Matthees ’15.
The Fall Challenge Bowl is modeled after the National Medical Challenge Bowl which is held annually at the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) annual conference. The competition is slightly modified to help meet the needs of Augsburg PA student as they prepare for final and comprehensive exams each semester.
Each year, Augsburg PA students nominate and vote on their favorite preceptor from the clinical year. The award is given at graduation to demonstrate our appreciation for the preceptors in our community. This year, we are happy to announce Dr. Joseph McRaith as the winner!
Dr. McRaith specializes in internal medicine and practices as a hospitalist under Rotilie, Toman, & McRaith, LLC. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School, he completed his residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. McRaith is affiliated with HealthEast Care System and Allina Health in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is a valued clinical instructor at Augsburg College and has precepted many classes of physician assistant students.
A graduating student who nominated Dr. McRaith had the following to say about his excellence as a provider and preceptor:
“While I was on the medicine service with Dr. McRaith, he let me learn at my own pace while seeing my own patients. At the same time, he supervised me and made sure that I understood the rationale behind each treatment plan. He pushed me to my full potential and helped me realize my passion for inpatient internal medicine. During the whole rotation, I felt like my opinions mattered and that I was actually treated as more than just a ‘student’. All of my classmates who have rotated with Dr. McRaith and his group have nothing but good things to say, even those who are not interested in internal medicine.”
Augsburg PA student Megan McGovern recently participated in the inaugural Future Educator Fellowship developed by the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). She was selected through a competitive application process and was one of 25 PA students from across the country to participate in the two day fellowship experience at the PAEA Education Forum in Washington, D.C. on November 13-14, 2015. The fellowship was developed for PA students pursing a career in medical education and to assist students to begin building skills for transitioning into teaching roles. Fellows took part in sessions around issues of health education research, advocacy, and leadership. Megan will be graduating from the Augsburg PA Program in December 2015, and is interested in practicing in Pediatric Endocrinology.
As part of the Future Educator Fellowship, Megan and Jenny Kluznik, MPH, PA-C (Assistant Professor in the Augsburg PA Program) took part in Hill Day, a large-scale advocacy event for PA education. Megan and Professor Kluznik met with legislative staff from Congressman Keith Ellison’s and Senator Al Franken’s office to discuss two new pieces of legislation that were recently introduced before the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation seeks to increase resources of PA program and students, address issues such as student debt and loans, and overall aims to increase quality health care in underserved areas.