We are so happy to announce that Megan Knoll, of the Class of 2022, has recently awarded the AAPA Rural Health Caucus Scholarship – her second scholarship win this year. Megan is one of 26 PA students to be awarded a scholarship through the PA Foundation in 2021. She had this to say, regarding her award: “As I enter the clinical phase of my education, I could not be more thrilled to receive this scholarship supporting my mission to become a rural primary care provider. I am eager to raise my family in a small town and fight for the cause of increasing access to quality health care in underserved farming/ranching communities of South Dakota.”
Yesterday, after a year of demanding academic work, the PA Program’s Class of 2022 celebrated their transition to the clinical phase of the program with the presentation of their white coats. The ceremony was recorded and is archived on the Augsburg Physician Assistant Facebook page. Resiliency, equity, and humility were common themes in speeches from Professor Kristen Lindvall, President Paul Pribbenow, Dr Kurt DeVine, and the Class of 2022. In addition to a rigorous academic program, navigating the challenges of COVID-19, civil unrest, and ongoing racialized trauma and reckoning in Minnesota have forced our students to develop and demonstrate the kind of grit and determination required of healthcare professionals. It is with great pride that we offer our congratulations to the Augsburg PA Class of 2022!
Summer has just begun and many students are enjoying a break from classes. Meanwhile, here at the Augsburg PA Program, our incoming class has begun a rigorous first semester! Last Monday marked the first day of the term for our incoming class. We have been so excited to meet them, and to bring them all together for the life-changing experience of PA school.
To ensure everyone’s safety, we maintained our COVID-19 safety plan. For the time being, we are still requiring mask usage in classrooms and regular COVID-19 testing. For contact tracing purposes, we assign students to small groups, and recommend students utilize physical distancing precautions with peers outside of their assigned groups. With these measures, prescribed by Dr. Alicia Quella, the program has been successful at navigating the COVID-19 pandemic with zero cases of intra-class transmission amongst our students, staff, and faculty.
The students got to know each other through a distanced icebreaker activity, to develop a sense of community amongst the cohort. They got to meet all of our staff and faculty, as well as their faculty advisors. We rounded out the day with a mask-less outdoor group photo, in accordance with the Governor’s mandate which warrants outdoor gatherings for fully-vaccinated individuals. Here’s to a safe, challenging, incredible adventure for this phenomenal cohort of healthcare providers!
Augsburg University and the PA Program attract faculty who are the best in their field. And we’ve got the receipts to prove it! Dr. Kurt DeVine, MD, the program’s Medical Director, is a Family Physician of the Year finalist through the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP). Dr. DeVine is a multi-disciplined family medicine physician, practicing family medicine and addiction medicine. Over the past two years, Dr. DeVine, along with his associate Dr. Healther Bell, MD, has provided a unique learning opportunity for our students through his ECHO Substance Use Disorder curriculum. The Augsburg PA Program is honored to have Dr. Kurt DeVine on the team! We would like to congratulate him on this prestigious recognition, and extend our thanks for taking on this critical work and for representing the Augsburg University PA Program!
Augsburg annually recognizes teaching faculty that have made exemplary contributions to creating an engaging academic learning environment. The PA Program would like to join Augsburg in congratulating Dr. Katie Clark, Nursing Associate Professor, who has been recognized for her distinguished contributions in service for the community as Executive Director of Augsburg’s Health Commons. Many of those served by the Health Commons are living on the streets of Minneapolis or are marginally housed. Katie figured out a way to continue to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic — she started seeing visitors outside, continuing to distribute hygiene kits and delivering food to encampments and to those who tested positive for COVID and were not allowed into the shelters. You can read more about Dr. Katie Clark’s leadership of the Health Commons over the course of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Augsburg Now. Congratulations, Dr. Katie Clark, and thank you for your continued service to the communities of Minneapolis!
Augsburg can count it’s lucky stars to have an in-house epidemiologist in Dr. Alicia Quella (right), the Director of the PA Program. Along with Dr. Katie Clark (left), Executive Director of Health Commons and Nursing Associate Professor, Dr. Alicia Quella has been working to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Augsburg students, faculty and staff through the People’s Center. Recently, Dr. Quella was interviewed for Augsburg Now, our university’s semi-annual publication and blog. Find out how Dr. Quella has sought to keep Augsburg safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic at Augsburg Now.
The Augsburg PA Program is proud to recognize four winners of this year’s Alne-Swensen Scholarship! Megan Knoll, Class of 2022, and Merari Morales Rosales, Nicholas Becker, and Taneasha Muonio, Class of 2021 all won awards. The scholarship fund was established in 1992 to encourage promising health care students and to honor the memory of Trine Swensen.
Megan Knoll, Class of 2022, came to Augsburg with prior healthcare experience in rural South Dakota, where she plans to work again after graduation. She attributes her drive to pursue a PA education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to her joy for medicine. “To say PA school is stressful is an understatement, but even on the toughest of weeks I can pull out my joy for medicine from the endless heap of lecture slides, exams, and student loans. I get to learn and grow and adapt every single day in a field that consistently advances for the good of humanity.” Thank you for sharing your joy Megan, and congratulations!
Meraro Morales Rosales, Class of 2021, immigrated to the US at 18 years old. The experience of adapting to a new country and culture – all on his own – fostered in Merari “the grit and discipline [to] succeed as a student.” This experience will surely inform Merari’s practice as a PA, and benefit his future patients. We are proud to recognize Merari with the Alne-Swensen Scholarship, and with the Dahlberg and Peterson Family Scholarship as well. Congratulations, Merari!
Nicholas Becker, Class of 2021, is a first-generation college student nearing the end of his Physician Assistant studies. Through his health care career as a CNA, Nicholas has demonstrated his willingness to go above and beyond the expectations of his role, to ensure the residents of the nursing home he worked at received quality care. Nicholas is excited to work as a PA because of “the opportunity [PA’s have] to collaborate with both healthcare professionals and the patients themselves when it comes to making decisions about their health.” We want to congratulate Nicholas on receiving this award, and for nearing the end of PA graduate school as a first-generation college student!
Taneasha Muonio, Class of 2021, completed her undergrad in Biopsychology at Augsburg before enrolling in the graduate PA program. She brings a wealth of vital social work experience to her health care studies. “Providing high quality health care to all is a part of our oath as PA’s. That means mastering the medical material we are learning, but also broadening our knowledge of diverse populations, cultures, and experiences.” Taneasha is passionate about lessening the documented disparities in treatment and outcomes for patients of color, and we are proud to celebrate her and her mission with this scholarship.
Thank you, family of Ernet and Helen Alne, for supporting our students and honoring the memory of Trine Swenson with this scholarship fund.
We wish to congratulate Drew McNamara, Class of 2022, for being awarded the Dr. Kristofer and Mrs. Bertha E. Hagen Scholarship! This award was established to support students who plan to volunteer or practice in medically underserved communities throughout the world and within the United States. Prior to starting at Augsburg, Drew had the opportunity to explore his passion for serving the underserved in Honduras and here in Minneapolis. His passion to help others led him to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant. Following graduation, Drew hopes to work at health professional shortage areas for the National Health Service Corps. Drew exemplifies the community service mission of the scholarship and of Augsburg University and the PA Program. Congratulations, Drew, and thank you, Dr. Kristofer and Mrs. Bertha E. Hagen!
Congratulations to Merari Morales Rosales, Class of 2021, for winning the Dahlberg and Peterson Family Scholarship! The families established this scholarship to support a student in their final years of the Physician Assistant program, with special consideration given to students who plan to work with multicultural populations. Merari previously worked as a medical interpreter where he served as a culture broker and advocate between patients and providers. Merari was moved to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant because “every time I encounter someone from an underserved population in need of medical care, I see a reflection of my own family in them.” We are proud to have Merari in our 2021 cohort, and we appreciate the Dahlberg and Peterson families for offering this award to help support Merari in his studies!
The Augsburg Physician Assistant students were able to engage in a Live Ultrasound Seminar for their History & Physical Exam course. An ultrasound scan is a medical test that utilizes high-frequency soundwaves to capture live images inside the human body, thus allowing medical professionals to observe tissues, organs, and vessels without making an incision.
For the Live Ultrasound Seminar, students were broken up into small groups and rotated to various stations. A number of the stations had simulated patients and were proctored by two of the leading Ultra-Sound professionals in the state, Peter Lindbloom, PA-C and Tom Pahl, PA-C. (Be sure to check out an earlier blog post with alum Peter).
Students were able to get hands-on experience while following social distancing protocols. The stations were broken up into two separate rooms including the 13-exam bay clinical skills lab which offered ample space for the student to engage with the stations safely.
Students and the preceptors also wore masks and face shields, gloves, and KN-95 masks that were provided for our live models. The faculty members who organized this seminar, Eric Van Hecke, PA-C and Ryane Lester, PA-C were engaged with students at their stations or working behind the scenes to make sure everything was going smoothly and the workshops stayed on schedule.
The experience was a resounding success which greatly benefits our student’s overall professional development while maintaining their safety. With the changing face of higher education, the faculty and staff at the Augsburg PA program adapt to continually provide students with an engaging learning environment.