Physician Assistant Students celebrate National PA Week with Service to the Community

Service to others is one of the hallmark traditions in the physician assistant profession. During this year’s National PA Week, students from Pacific University’s Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2017 celebrated their profession and the country’s approximately 104,000 PAs by participating in multiple service events throughout the week.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the Class of 2017 volunteered at the Special Olympics Oregon Youth Games and MedFest, an Oregon Team Wellness Healthy Athletes event. The event took place at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, where PA students and faculty volunteered as part of an interprofessional team to provide free sports physicals to the athletes. 

Working alongside nursing and medical students, our volunteers obtained medical histories and vital signs, and measured the height/weight of the athletes as they moved through the free health screening. The opportunity to serve these amazing athletes and families, as well as work alongside other professionals in training at this event was something for which our PA students eagerly volunteered. 

PA students also put their skills to work at Hillsboro High School on Sunday, Oct. 4 as part of the Oregon Binational Health fair sponsored by the Mexican Consulate.  Binational Health Week is the largest mobilization efforts in the Americas to improve the health and well-being of the underserved Latino population living in the United States and Canada. Pacific PA and Optometry students worked side-by-side taking medical histories and performing blood pressure screenings. Many of the health fair patients had not been to see a healthcare provider in years, while others came in for their yearly check-up. 

The Pacific volunteers enjoyed spending time outside of the classroom interacting with real patients. Local high school students were on hand as translators when needed, but as PA student Brady Barnes noted, “It was a great opportunity to hone my skills and to practice my Spanish.”  

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, Pacific’s PA students were back at it again, volunteering their time at the Oregon Food Bank to celebrate National PA week in a joint venture with Oregon Health & Science University’s PA program. 

The Pacific Class of 2017 spent the afternoon at the Oregon Food Bank sorting, bagging, and packing roughly 17 tons (34,000 pounds) of pears for distribution to people in need through this cooperative statewide network of hunger-relief agencies.

Students noted that the opportunity to meet other students striving towards the same profession, while being able to make a difference in the community, made for an unforgettable afternoon.

The PA profession has always been one of service and collaboration. The dedicated students in the Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies are working hard, both in and out of the classroom, so that they can get out into the community and do what they love, helping others. 

Oct. 15, 2015