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The Division of Physician Assistant Studies held its annual graduation ceremony on December 9, 2022 and awarded 19 Master of Health Sciences degrees.

The class of 2022 and their guests were welcomed by Chileatha Wynn, Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor.

Dr. Jonathon Heath, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, served as the guest speaker for the ceremony. He shared three pieces of advice with the group. First, show kindness, empathy and grace in all you do. Second, you can be serious and silly simultaneously – laughter is often the best medicine and bringing your personality to your patients can help build empathy. Third, never lose your drive to learn – you grow by pushing yourself.

Devin Dukes, a graduate and PA Program Student Society President, reflected on his time in the program and shared memories of his classmates including the blood drive they hosted, participating in the department talent show and volunteering with SHAC – the Student Health Action Coalition. “Excelling can sometimes feel impossible, but this program taught us to persevere, try hard, be humble, and be the best version of ourselves,” said Dukes.

Following the speakers, awards were distributed and degrees were awarded. Student and faculty awards included:

  • Honors with Distinction:  Mattie Price, Elise Kidder, Katharine Franz, Audrey Howarth, Stephanie Dawson
  • “Making a Difference” Award:  Madison Jacobson
  • Inaugural Evidence Based Medicine Award:  James Forest Griffin
  • Excellence in Education Award:    Kunal Patel, MD
  • Preceptor of the Year Award:   Aaron Peterson, PA-C

Jason Hrdina, Director of Evaluation and Assessment and Associate Professor, gave closing remarks and encouraged the class of 2022 to not be afraid of failure and to always keep learning.