The OHSU Physician Assistant Program graduated its 13th class on Saturday, August 15. The program graduated 36 students of which two-thirds plan to stay in Oregon to practice. At the time of graduation one third of the class was already employed – about half in primary care. "These new physician assistants are a very important element of Oregon's health care future, and will provide significant new access to primary care," said Dean Mark Richardson.
The commencement address was delivered by Bill Leinweber, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Mr. Leinweber spoke to the students about being an advocate for both their profession and their patients and the role that PAs can play in health care reform.
Awards were presented to students and faculty. Graduates Ian Penner and Casey Evans were presented with the award for Academic Achievement while Christina Joseph was recognized for Excellence in the Clinical Year and Kristin Dunlap was given an award citing her professionalism. Pat Kenney-Moore, MS, PA-C, and Greg Larsen, MD, of OHSU, received the Excellence in Teaching in the Academic Year award. Charles Versteeg, MD, of Southern Oregon Orthopedics in Medford and Jana Van Amburg, MD, of Advanced Specialty General Surgery in Bend, received the Excellence in Clinical Teaching award. The day culminated with a reception of family and friends.