During the end of the year, and especially at the closing of a decade, the PA program looks back on 2019! One of the most significant changes occurred this past fall as the program relocated back to Augsburg main campus. A newly remodeled space in Riverside Plaza is the heart of the program. While faculty and administrative offices occupy the fifth floor, the lower level is home base for our students. The academic lecture hall was designed for our growing cohort size and the expanded footprint of the clinical skills lab now holds 15 exam bays, including 2 inpatient bays.
In 2019, we launched two new blog series to shine a light on the great work our alumni do. We celebrated anniversaries of being in the PA profession: Omar Fernandes’ one-year, Joy Adams’ and Kelsey McFarlane’s five years, Miranda Schoenecker’s ten-year and Peter Lindbloom’s twenty-two-years. Scroll through the blog feed and look for the “Alumni Anniversary Series” heading in order to read more. More recently, we started the “Living the Mission” series that highlights alumni working to provide medical care to underserved populations.
In November, we celebrated Sandy Fevig’s fifteen plus years of service to Augsburg. Sandy always looked after the students’ every need and was a friendly face to all department guests. We wish her well in her future endeavors! November also marked the program’s 23rd commencement for the Class of 2019. Clinical preceptor Vinh Dang, PA-C delivered the keynote speaker address, Nathan Kleppe gave the Student Commencement Speaker and Dr. Farhiyo Abdulle was honored as the Clinical Preceptor of the Year.
At the beginning of December, the program welcomed two new staff members: Emily Gomez and Sherrie Luetgers. Emily will lead the administrative team and work with department leadership as the program manager. She has a history of working in program management in several healthcare realms including hospice, epilepsy and oral health. Sherrie joins the team as another administrative assistant. She is no stranger to the world of healthcare after working for 18 years in roles as an HUC, EKG tech, and ER Tech. Ryane Lester comes to the PA department as another faculty member. Ryane practices clinically at Twin Cities Orthopedics. She is looking forward to contributing to the excellence of the Augsburg PA program and its students to help them gain a foundation to become confident clinicians.
Several of our students were recognized with scholarships of their own. For the second year running, an Augsburg PA student was selected as part of the Health Professional Scholarship Program through Veterans Affairs. Brandon Cottrell knew about the scholarship prior to PA school admission from his medical professional acquaintances while in the army. After graduating from Augsburg, he will work for at least 2 years at a VA healthcare center. The CVS Health Foundation Advance Practice Nurse and Physician Assistant Scholarship Program selected Augsburg as one of its grant recipients. The Augsburg PA Program was then able to award Miranda Lacroix, PA-S1, Taneasha Muonio, PA-S1, and Kamini bose Sundar bose, PA-S2, with $1,000.00 scholarships.
This past spring, the Augsburg PA Program was awarded a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) grant. Through the grant, our program is committed to expanding rural and urban underserved primary care clinical education sites, partnering with clinics like the People’s Center Clinics and Services, who focus on team-based practice and community health care. Through this grant, our students will also receive substance use and opiate addiction training, through a ground-breaking program with CHI-St. Gabriel/Little Falls, MN tele-ECHO program. This training prepares Augsburg PA students for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) certification waiver through the DEA, making Augsburg PA students even more practice-ready upon graduation. We are excited that MDH has funded our efforts to continuously develop clinical education partnerships and improve PA training throughout Minnesota.
We look forward to the New Year and the next decade!