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by Christine Hall
Clinical Assistant Professor for the ISU PA Program

I had the good fortune of joining the Idaho Condor humanitarian mission to Perú this spring. Idaho Condor is a non-profit organization that makes an annual trip to offer Peruvians medical and dental services, free of cost. I was one of three Physician Assistants attending, along with Jared Papa, ISU Clinical Assistant Professor and Service Learning Coordinator, and Ileana Esquivel from Portland, OR, who joined the trip from her present residence in Ecuador. This year the group was comprised of dentists/oral surgeons, dental hygienists, physicians, audiologists, and three PAs. Students from ISU, new grads and family members rounded out the group, providing amazing support in our efforts.

It was a wonderful whirlwind of an experience. Our home base was Cusco, a beautiful city that is home to about 350,000 people. On each of six days we boarded buses and drove to smaller, outlying towns anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours away. On arrival, we would set up clinics wherever the municipality found space for us. Patients had formed long lines with the knowledge of our intended visit, sometimes with their entire families, interested in the services we could provide.

Both the medical and dental teams
were incredibly busy; the dental team provided extraction after extraction. The medical team found that most people seeking care had musculoskeletal or abdominal concerns, but as in any clinic setting, complaints varied. The team additionally gave out 150 pairs of reader glasses. The Incan language Quechua was the first language of many of the patients, so we often required the services of interpreters despite several of the providers and students being proficient in the area’s second language, Spanish. The people I interacted with were gracious, kind, and thankful for the care that we offered them. One community known for its bread gave each one of us a large loaf in gratitude. Services were somewhat limited: though we had a pharmacy, we did not have any diagnostic tests or x-ray machines available. We did have the support of a few Peruvian physicians, including OB/GYN specialty, and could consult them or refer patients to them when needed.
When our sixth clinical day came to a close, some of us had to sigh (the time had passed so quickly), and our group started travelling by train and then bus to awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, the ancient city of the Incans, built in approximately 1450 BCE. Many of us hiked to the top of Montaña Machu Picchu, hopeful for the bird’s eye view of this mystical site. We ascended stone steps, placed by hand over 500 years ago. Our tour guide told us that the city had about 1,000 residents. Yes, for those of you who have Peru or Machu Picchu on your bucket list, happily and with thanks, I have achieved that. As long as Idaho Condor continues to make this annual journey, I am sure that I will have future opportunities to refill my bucket. My trip was made possible through funds from the HRSA Pipeline to Diversity Grant.

Idaho Condor is always looking for more licensed physicians to accompany them on their expeditions. For more info visit their website:

Greetings from the Clinical Team. We are busy scheduling rotations for next year and appreciate all who have signed up to precept next year. We are 94% filled for next year! Currently, our biggest needs are in pediatrics and internal medicine. If you are interested in precepting in these areas or any other field of medicine, please feel free to contact a member of the clinical team.
Anntara Smith, Clinical Coordinator,
Vicki Allen, Clinical Site Developer,
Jennifer Forbes, Clinical Assistant Professor,

"For your tremendous dedication to students of color and for all the hard work you do. We feel that you are a strong staff member that stands with us in times of need and has always helped us."

On Saturday, April 2nd, Dr. Cathleen Tarp received the César Chávez Faculty Advocate Award for her dedication to students of color. The event, hosted by the Latina sorority Lambda Theta Alpha, honored César Chávez, labor leader and civil rights activist. Dr. Tarp works with the PA Program to support the efforts of the Pipeline to Diversity grant that seeks to engage and assist minority students to become Physician Assistants to fill the need in under-served communities. The Program is proud of the work it is able to accomplish alongside such passionate advocates as Dr. Tarp.
Lindsay Helm, Class of 2017, won the ISU's Got Talent contest hosted in the Pond Student Union building on Friday, April 15th. She beat out eight other contestants for the $500 grand prize. Lindsay attends the PA Program at the Pocatello campus.

With over 25 years of experience in education television production, Dawn Lewis joins the PA Program as the Media Equipment Specialist for the Meridian campus. Dawn graduated from Montana State University with a BS in Film & Television Production and received her Master’s degree in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University. Her career started with production in public television and expanded to running a 35-site, fully interactive distance learning system called NAU-Net at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff Arizona. Dawn trained operators across Arizona to operate the control rooms/classrooms, and she scheduled engineering personnel to maintain each of the rooms. In her spare time she has her own production business, and she enjoys spending time with family, gardening, cross-stitching and crocheting. Dawn loves to be busy and is constantly updating her knowledge base with new technologies.
Copyright © 2016 Idaho State University PA Program, All rights reserved.

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