By Elise O’Neill-Eckman ’20
Second-year physician assistant (PA) students Christina Wojnarwsky and Lyudmila (Mila) Likhonina, members of the class of 2018, received the prestigious Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Student Health Policy Fellowship in August.
They joined 12 other PA students who were selected nationwide to participate in PAEA’s 2017 fellowship class centering on professional advocacy and leadership in the health care field. Kendall Mealy, director of leadership and diversity for PAEA, said in both their acceptance letters, “We received applications from well-qualified candidates across the country and were impressed with the caliber of your application; we believe you would be a great asset to PAEA’s 2017 fellowship class.” Both participated in the PAEA fellowship program held at the association’s fall conference in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 9 through Sept. 13.
“The faculty and I were extremely excited and honored that among the 14 students representing programs across the country, two of our Shenandoah University PA students were selected for the PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship,” said Director of the Division of Physician Assistant Studies Anthony Miller, M.Ed., PA-C. “Leadership and advocacy for patients and the profession are key to advancing quality and accessible health care for all. Mila and Chrissy will begin their personal journeys as leaders in the PA profession through the skills and and knowledge they will acquire through this fellowship.”
According to the association’s website, the PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship is “designed to enhance students’ understanding of political processes and health policy in order to inspire and prepare fellows for grassroots advocacy. It also helps them to see the role that the PA profession serves as an integral part of the health care system.”
Likhonina became interested in the legislative and advocacy side of health care after a class she took on campus this past summer. “While taking the class, I thought ‘this is really interesting, but there is so much information.’ So when this fellowship popped up, I thought what better way to learn than to go to the source and have someone help me understand it better.”
PAEA Fellows engage with the legislative process at the federal and state levels, cultivating their skills on how to become powerful advocates for health care and the PA profession. According to the PAEA website, fellows also “build and refine the skills necessary to organize and lead others in advancing health policy issues at the local, state and national level.”
Wojnarwsky has been interested in the government side of healthcare since attending World Health Organization (WHO) conference in Geneva this summer. “WHO is on a global scale, but this fellowship allows me to see what I can do here, closer to home, to make an impact on the health care field,” she said. For more information about the PAEA Fellowship, visit www.paeaonline.org.
Featured photo by Elise O’Neill-Eckman: Second-year PA students Lyudmila (Mila) Likhonina (left) and Christina Wojnarwsky (right).