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Year in Review

academic lecture room with rectangular desks, two projection screens in background, couch in foregroundDuring 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. groups of students sit working collaboratively around room

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.

group of five students with Sandy who is holding a cakeIn 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.

Head shot of Emily  Headshot of Sherrie Luetgers  head shot of Ryane wearing blouse

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!

Hoshmand Las – Living the Mission

The blog has recently featured anniversary stories from alumni and we are starting a new series focusing on alumni that are living out the Augsburg PA mission of providing medical care to underserved populations. Hoshmand Las, PA-C has been practicing for 5 years since graduating from the Augsburg PA Program in 2014. He currently works for Advanced Practice Solutions, a contract staffing agency of several local correctional and government facilities including, Ramsey County’s workhouse, juvenile detention center, jail, and prison. A few times a week he also provides primary and urgent care services in North Minneapolis at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center where the patient population is characterized as mostly refugee and immigrant.

alum Hoshmand Las, PA-C sits in his white coat and scrubs in his office

Hoshmand knew he always wanted to pursue a career in medicine because he is fascinated with how the body functions. The PA profession was first introduced to him during high school. As he pursued an undergraduate degree at Metropolitan State University, he enrolled in core science courses to prepare for PA school. “I leaned toward the PA route because it allowed me to practice medicine but also have a work/life balance.”  

There was no gap in between high school, undergraduate and graduate school for Hoshmand. He applied to ten schools during his last year at Metropolitan State University. A program in Pennsylvania accepted him but a week later he received an invitation to participate in a phone interview with Augsburg. Augsburg accepted him shortly thereafter! He was excited that his first choice extended an offer and he could stay in Minnesota.

The highlight of the didactic phase for Hoshmand was the hands-on skills workshops including casting and suturing. He recalls, “You were around a bunch of other adults, but yet we had the chance to act like kids again because we were all learning something new.” He remembers it being so interesting as it was a glimpse of his future. A challenging moment came during his first rotation where the political side of medicine was exposed. Hoshmand learned that sometimes you need to take out the umbrella in order to weather the storm. Throughout rotations, he remembered to always stay humble and really focus on the true reason he went into medicine.

After graduation, Hoshmand and two other classmates applied and were accepted at Emergency Physicians Professional Association (EPPA). EPPA was hiring new PA graduates so that they could train them in the EPPA model. Essentially, the first 7 months was a fellowship where Hoshmand worked directly under a physician and staffed every patient. Hoshmand recalls that he learned so much during his time there; “It was the best decision I could have made after graduate school because it made me more confident.”   Continue reading “Hoshmand Las – Living the Mission”