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Inaugural Physician Assistant Studies Celebration Held at Mount Union College

September 18, 2009

An inaugural physician assistant studies celebration was held at Mount Union College on Thursday, September 17.

The celebration provided an opportunity for the program’s first 19 students to join with generous donors, Physician Assistant Advisory Board members and future clinical preceptors that have and continue to make this program possible.

“Our graduate students are bright and motivated individuals who are extremely dedicated to providing quality patient care in the future,” said Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “We are so grateful to have them as part of our campus community.”

Individuals and foundations that made the renovations to Bracy Hall possible and provided equipment needed for the program were recognized. Those donors include Dr. and Mrs. Robert Kunkel, Dr. Brad Carman, Dr. Ed Farnham, the Greater Alliance Foundation and the Foundation of Rachel B. Lang.

Dr. Robert Kunkel is a member of the Class of 1955 and has served as a Mount Union trustee for 34 years. He has co-chaired Mount Union’s Physician Assistant Advisory Board since its inception early last year, lending much-needed assistance in the development of the program. The Kunkel Conference Room has been named in honor of him and his wife Brenda.

Dr. Bradley Carman is a 1984 graduate of Mount Union and is also a member of the Physician Assistant Advisory Board. He generously made a gift to provide surgical tables in the facilities.

Another member of the Physician Assistant Advisory Board, Dr. Ed Farnham, and his wife Helen were recognized. Ed graduated from Mount Union in 1954 and Helen is a member of the Class of 1953. The office of Sharon Luke, director and associate professor of physician assistant studies, has been named in their honor. 

The Foundation of Rachel B. Lang also made significant contributions in support of the program. Mrs. Rachel Boyce Lang served as a trustee of the College from 1975 until shortly before her death in 2003. Her son Charles and daughter Mary Sue were there on her behalf. The examination suite has been named in memory of their mother.

During the celebration, Luke discussed the program’s accreditation, the inaugural class, what classes the students have been taken thus far, SimMan and the tremendous support the program has received both internally and externally.

The physician assistant facilities in Bracy Science Hall include six exam rooms, a model operating room, a standardized patient room, a patient simulation room, a conference room and faculty offices. To compliment the facilities, SimMan, a portable and advanced patient simulator for class training, will add vital hands-on experience for the students. The purchase of SimMan was made possible through the generosity of the Greater Alliance Foundation.

“SimMan is a computerized ‘patient simulator’ that provides feedback for students as they practice a variety of medical procedures,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the Mount Union College, during the celebration. “On behalf of Sharon Luke, her faculty and the students, thank you for providing the program with an essential teaching tool.”

Those in attendance from the Greater Alliance Foundation were Jack Peters, a trustee of the foundation and a longstanding trustee of Mount Union College and his wife Madge; Dave Rodman, a graduate of the Class of 1978 who also serves as a trustee of the Greater Alliance Foundation; Doug Schwarz, the foundation’s executive director and his wife Kyle; and Dr. Bob White, whose interest in community health care led to his support for the School of Practical Nursing, a major initiative of the Greater Alliance Foundation.

“Each of us recognizes and appreciates that the opportunities and facilities provided are going to prepare us well for the future,” said Jamie Serenko, a physician assistant studies graduate student from Boardman, OH. “We are fortunate to not only have state-of-the-art facilities and technology, but also a dedicated and knowledgeable staff and faculty.”

Members of Mount Union’s Physician Assistant Advisory Board include Dr. Seth W. Brown, Dr. Bradley D. Carman, Dr. Richard L. Drake, Dr. Edward L. Farnham, Dr. Jan Hedin, Dr. Robert S. Kunkel, Jr., Dr. Leonard Kuretu, Dr. James Magisano, Dr. Thomas D. Robinson, Dr. Thomas N. Salmon, Dr. Louis G. Shaheen and Ms. Natalie L. Talboo.

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