|Physician assistant program admits 'most diverse' group in its history|
Sixty-two health professionals have begun the clinical portion of their studies to earn the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. "This is the most diverse class we've ever had," said Mary Ann Laxen, director of the Physician Assistant Studies program, noting that some students are originally from Nigeria, Brazil, British Guyana, Vietnam, Laos and the Middle East. Various ethnic groups, such as American Indian, are also represented.
The program admits health professionals who have years of experience working as nurses, clinical laboratory scientists, paramedics, respiratory therapists, dietitians, military health care providers and related professions. The group averages 11 years of professional experience.
Enrolled students come from throughout the United States, "from Alaska to Florida, Rhode Island to Washinton," Laxen said. They range in age from 24 to 59 years, with an average age of 38, and include 33 men and 29 women.
The White Coat ceremony was Jan. 30. "The presentation of the white coat is symbolic of the new profession the students are entering," said Laxen. These coats will be worn by students through the clinical phase of their training.
Students spend their first four weeks in Grand Forks before returning to their home communities where most of their training will take place under the supervision of physician-preceptors. Over the next two years, they will return to UND for several weeks at different junctures for education and training.
For more information, please contact the PA program at 777-2344.