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Please join us at the Class of 2016 graduation ceremony on Friday, August 5, 2016. It will be held in the Jensen Grand Concert Hall in the ISU Performing Arts Center on the Pocatello campus. The ceremony will begin at 1 PM.
by Michael Nelson
Academic Coordinator
The ISU PA Program utilizes an international rotation in Belize as an option for students' elective. Punta Gorda is a small town in the southern-most point of Belize, and what makes it awesome is that the ISU PA Program sends PA students there for a 4-week rotation, to be immersed in the practice of rural medicine. The rotations are in conjunction with Hillside Clinic, a non-profit medical organization providing free medical assistance to the people of southern Belize. Students have the opportunity to hone their medical skills at the Hillside Clinic as well as in rural Mayan villages where students treat those with limited access to medical care.

In April of this year, the PA Program had two students working alongside fourth-year medical students and volunteer physicians. The students provided medical care to a number of rural villages and provided service to many local schools as they taught health hygiene and reproductive education to local communities. This rotation required students to be resourceful and methodic as they diagnosed and treated many conditions without the aid of laboratory, imaging abilities, and limited pharmaceutical resources.

PA students on this rotation gain a healthy respect for individualizing care while recognizing the importance of education and public health initiatives. PA student confidence is boosted as they live and learn with fourth-year medical students and discover the intricate role they play in the healthcare system. Dr. Dick Anstett, Medical Director for the PA Program's Caldwell campus who specializes in international care, commented this year that he loves having PA students, saying, "They come with so much enthusiasm to learn and do, as well as the fourth-year medical students."

The Belize rotation is an opportunity of a lifetime. The experience and skills learned by being immersed in a culture lacking in healthcare resources and access, such as those served on this rotation, cannot be taught in the classroom and will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects for future patients of these PAs.
by Jennifer Forbes
Assistant Professor
The Pipeline to Diversity HRSA grant, awarded to the Program is 2015, awards travel stipends to faculty for them to attend a Spanish immersion course. I was granted the first opportunity to use this travel stipend and study Spanish abroad. Through my research, I learned that there are many schools around the world that offer Spanish immersion courses. I chose to attend the CPI Spanish Immersion School in Costa Rica. This school has three campuses, which are located in different areas of the country and offer different experiences. In addition to offering a rigorous Spanish language curriculum, students also have the chance to be immersed in the local culture by staying with a host family.

Wanting to learn as much as possible about the Costa Rican culture and experience different environments in the country, I chose the homestay program, attending both the CPI Flamingo and Monteverde campuses. The Flamingo campus is located next to a beach on the western side of the country and borders the Pacific Ocean while the Monteverde campus is in the mountains near the cloud forest. While the language was the same, the climate and culture were quite different.

In addition to enrolling in private Spanish classes, I enrolled in what CPI referred to as the “super-intensive course.” This name accurately described the course, although I may have called it the “what were you thinking – this is crazy” course.  My day consisted of 5½ hours of one-on-one class time with a professor. The professors insisted that students speak only in Spanish, and because I knew about ten Spanish words prior to starting the course, I found the first few days extremely challenging. I did not expect to leave school in the afternoon overwhelmingly exhausted. I’m not sure if that was due to the difficulty of learning a new language or that it had been over fifteen years since I last attended school. After spending so many hours in class, I was surprised to learn that there was homework to complete each night.

The curriculum and professors at CPI were excellent. The learning environment varied each day and consisted of oral, written, technology-based, and game-type activities. During my two-week course I worked with four different professors and learned about their lives in addition to the basics of the language. By the end of my two weeks, I was able to have a conversation in Spanish with one of my professors about her GERD symptoms and talk with her about the differences between the healthcare system of the U.S. and Costa Rica. I never thought that would have been possible during those first few days of class. I was expected to continue learning and practicing the language after completing the course. I was eager to continue my learning, but had a good laugh when my professor gave me homework to complete on my flight home.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Costa Rican culture from both my professors and host family. I found the people of Costa Rica to be warm and welcoming. They place great emphasis on family and very little emphasis on the acquisition of material things. The standard of living was quite different, but I found it to be a refreshing change. During my travels on this trip, I saw many different areas of the country, and it is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I am very grateful to have had this Spanish immersion opportunity. Although I am still a beginner, my Spanish language skills have significantly improved, and I have a greater understanding of the Costa Rican culture. I feel that this learning experience will be of great benefit to me in both my professional and personal life.

Two ISU PA Program faculty and one alumna were recognized at the 2016 IAPA CME Conference in Sun Valley.

Alan Mirly was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award. IAPA describes the award as "honor[ing] a PA who has demonstrated exemplary service providing high quality, safe, and accessible healthcare either internationally or to the medically underserved community in Idaho." The nominator acknowledged Alan's embodiment of the "service above self" motto that accompanies his time with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, as well as the work he has performed in multiple medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic. On those trips, he has used his expertise as an Otolaryngology PA to diagnose and treat ear, nose, throat, and most recently vision conditions.

"The PA of the Year is nominated by peers, physicians, students, patients, or colleagues," IAPA stated about the PA of the Year award, "who demonstrate exemplary service to his or her patients, the community, and the PA profession." Recipient Jared Papa was recognized for his steadfast and tireless work as Service Learning Coordinator for the Program, setting up opportunities for first-year students and faculty to perform community outreach to the medically underserved of Idaho.

Class of 2013 graduate Lauren Lyon (née Sherick) was named Newcomer of the Year. Additionally, Dr. Reese Verner (not pictured) received the Supervising Physician of the Year award. Congratulations to all!

Dr. Domenech Rodríguez is a Professor of Psychology at Utah State University and is actively engaged in programs of research in Oregon, Idaho, and St. Louis. She collaborates on the Pipeline to Diversity HRSA grant, seeking to increase recruitment and retention of ethnic, linguistically, and culturally diverse students into the Program. Dr. Domenech Rodríguez is president of the National Latina/o Psychological Association, chair of the Institutional Review Board and USU, and is a licensed psychologist in Utah, Idaho, and Puerto Rico. She joins the Program as a visiting professor and research coordinator for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Ms. Bernard has more than 15 years' healthcare experience, most recently serving 8 years as Manager of Provider Relations and Data Systems at Private Health, a concierge healthcare firm based in Los Angeles. Previously, she served as Program Manager of Biopharmaceutical Research and Development at the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Clinical Coordinator for two clinical research organizations. Kelly holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Information Systems from University of Phoenix. She joins the Program as administrative assistant in the Clinical Year.
Copyright © 2016 Idaho State University PA Program, All rights reserved.

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