Deciding to be a PA
I began my journey in healthcare as a medical scribe in the ER. Working and living in an urban, underserved community that was stricken with poverty, drug addiction, and patients without health insurance, I saw firsthand the impact that healthcare providers have. I worked with physicians, nurses, EMTs, and other members of the healthcare team. Still, it was a PA that showed me the importance of being an expert in medicine and how to treat patients in any situation compassionately. I knew that I had wanted to work in medicine, but this interaction sparked the fire in me wanting to be a PA.
In 2017, I studied abroad in Cuba to learn about their nationalized healthcare system. Cuba focuses on disease prevention and primary care medicine. In addition to working in local clinics, primary care providers complete house visits to every family member. The house visits allow them to know their patients inside and out to manage their illnesses and diseases efficiently. Seeing this type of hands-on, proactive care inspired me to be a family medicine PA. Although home visits are rare in the U.S., I still want to treat my patients holistically, emphasizing health promotion, and disease prevention.
I feel my purpose as a human and future PA is to be an advocate for disenfranchised people. I believe the PA profession has a unique role in enacting significant changes within healthcare and other structural systems that negatively affect social determinants of health. In my future, as a practicing PA, I plan to get involved in changing healthcare policies that will help dismantle these oppressive systems and bring quality healthcare to all communities.
Choosing Mount Union
Out of all the reasons I liked Mount, the number one reason I chose this program is because of the faculty and staff. PA programs all over can boast about their stats, the equipment they have, and their partnerships with clinical sites but none of that matters if the people running the show aren't just as exceptional. Thankfully, Mount had all these things. My first interview was with Professor Kunes. I was extremely nervous, as I had gotten denied from another program a few days before and this was my second cycle applying to Mount. Professor Kunes recognized my nerves, made eye contact that made it feel like he was looking into my soul, and said "It's okay to be nervous, we understand. Just remember that we are here to get to know you, but you are also here to get to know us." In that moment, I felt seen. I was more than my GPA, GRE score, and patient care experience. I could trust that Professor Kunes and the rest of my interviewers wanted to know me as a human being. One of the most impactful aspects of Mount Union's program is their value in teaching us how to create therapeutic relationships with our future patients. I've learned that it's not just enough to know medicine, we also have to practice how to empathetically and warmly communicate. This constant practice in our classes reminds me that it's okay to show sensitivity, vulnerability, and humility and will stay with me as I progress throughout my career.
Since being a PA student, I have had the opportunity to be in multiple leadership positions. I am currently an AAPA student delegate, my cohorts Student Diversity Committee Representative, and Founder & Co-Chair of a national PA student organization named Physician Assistant Students for Leadership, Equity, Anti-Racism, and Diversity (PA-S LEAD). We hope to create positive change within PA academia and support underrepresented minority students.