Three of the six physician assistant studies (PA) students chosen as Paul Ambrose Scholars this year are from Shenandoah University.
Pamela Audrey Lee, Catherine Mahon, and Melissa Rabinek were selected for the scholars program, which is planned and implemented by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR).
According to its website, APTR “is the professional organization representing accredited and emerging graduate public health programs, medical and health professions faculty, and students dedicated to interprofessional prevention education and research.”
Up to 40 students are selected for the program annually. Those selected must show an interest in integrating public health into their future clinical practice. Students come from graduate nursing, dentistry, graduate physician assistant, MD/DO, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and public health programs across the nation.
Those chosen for the program work on a community-based project assessing health promotion or disease prevention within their communities. They have one year to report project outcomes.
Lee’s project is to “create video training materials and resources materials and resources targeted for obstetricians, pediatricians, and primary care providers, to help identify high-risk NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) parents.”
Lee is also the mother of three prematurely born children.
As for Mahon, who is a dual PA and Master of Public Health student, her “aim is to increase access and awareness of the importance of Hepatitis C screening in high-risk populations of homeless and intravenous drug users (IDU) in Winchester, Virginia — an area hard-hit by poverty and the current opioid crisis.”
Mahon’s project is “oriented towards connecting these at-risk populations with formal health services, screening, education, and disease management.”
Rabinek’s project is “to confront mental health disparities in the Winchester community through the utilization of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).” She plans to work with the Sinclair Health Clinic, a free medical clinic in Winchester.
The clinic is the ideal partner for this project, Rabinek said. “Their mission is to deliver low-cost, community-based health services to local individuals in need.” Rabinek also hopes to expand Sinclair’s utilization of DBT to reach more patient populations.
A Strong Class And Academic Partnership
Shenandoah Distinguished Professor and Director of Physician Assistant Studies Anthony A. Miller, M.Ed., PA-C, credits the excellent students in the PA class of 2018, notably Lee, Mahon and Rabinek, as well a strong relationship with the new Shenandoah public health program, for such high Shenandoah PA representation in the Paul Ambrose Scholars Program.
Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Leocadia Conlon, PA-C, M.P.H., and Director of Graduate Public Health Programs Michelle Gamber, Dr.P.H., are serving as these students’ mentors throughout their time in this program.
“We both guided these students through the application process, and will also continue to mentor them and play an active role throughout their research process,” Dr. Gamber said.