Physician Assistant Program to present new class with white coats
January 11, 2016
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Thirty-three health professionals begin the clinical portion of their studies this week to earn the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
The White Coat Ceremony is at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, in the Reed T. Keller Auditorium at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Heidi Olson-Fitzgerald, P.A.-C., will present the keynote address, focusing on the role of the physician assistant in primary care. Olson-Fitzgerald, a UND P.A. alumna of the Class of 1997, is a practicing primary care physician assistant for Essentia Health in Moorhead, Minn. Welcome remarks will be given by SMHS Senior Associate Dean for Education Gwen W. Halaas, M.D., M.B.A.; SMHS Associate Dean for Health Sciences Tom Mohr, P.T., Ph.D.; and Interim Dean of the UND School of Graduate Studies Wayne Swisher, Ph.D. Closing remarks will be given by SMHS Associate Professor Eric Johnson, M.D., medical director for the SMHS Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
“The presentation of the white coat is symbolic of the new profession the students are entering,” said Department Chair Jeanie McHugo, Ph.D., P.A.-C.. The coats will be worn by students through the clinical phase of their training and denote their involvement with the Physician Assistant Program at UND.
The individuals in this class come from a wide variety of professional health-care disciplines, which through class interaction will strengthen each student’s ability to return to his or her rural clinical site as a well-rounded primary care provider.
The P.A. Program admits health professionals who have years of experience working as nurses, respiratory therapists, radiology technologists, paramedics, military health-care providers and related professions. This group averages nine years of previous professional health-care experience upon matriculation into the program.
Enrolled students come from throughout the United States, from Utah to Virginia, but this particular class is very regional, with 61 percent of the students from the tristate area of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Students range in age from 23 to 54 years, with an average age of 33; the class includes 11 men and 22 women.
Students have completed their first two semesters of basic sciences and now will spend their first four weeks in Grand Forks before returning to their home communities, where most of their training will take place under the supervision of physician and physician assistant preceptors. Over the next 18 months, they will return to UND for several weeks at different junctures for education and training.
Physician Assistant Class of 2017
Brian Adams, St. George, Utah
Jessica Anderson, Fargo, North Dakota
Vicki Andvik, Barnesville, Minnesota
Benjamin Beuchler, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
Travis Booke, Dickinson, North Dakota
Michael Butler, Cold Spring, Minnesota
Togan Cottrell, Du Quoin, Illinois
Alyson Dahl, Moorhead, Minnesota
Boris Davydov, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kathryn Dietz, Moberly, Missouri
Rebekah Dunn, West Branch, Michigan
Pamela Flavin-Lee, Williamsburg, Virginia
Leslee Graff, Bowdle, South Dakota
Rebecca Hoistad, Oakes, North Dakota
Annette Larson, Warroad, Minnesota
Mitchel Leers, Beulah, North Dakota
Nicole Lemieux, Rugby, North Dakota
Katherine McFarland, Boonville, Missouri
Katayoon Mohammadi, Garland, Texas
Elizabeth Morton, Fairmont, Minnesota
Tim Olsen, Sturgis, South Dakota
Agatha Ottem, Cavalier, North Dakota
Savannah Prodzinski, Jamestown, North Dakota
Matthew Ryba, Menomonie, Wisconsin
Angela Schuster, St. Cloud, Minnesota
Brian Steen, Sweet Springs, Missouri
Lisa Steers, Hugoton, Kansas
Dennis Stewart, Slocomb, Alabama
Brianna Strube, Oakes, North Dakota
Emil Trutwin, St. Cloud, Minnesota
Lindsay Venn, Idaho Falls, Idaho
Rachel Watson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Charlie Wood, Henderson, Texas
Denis F. MacLeod
Assistant Director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations
University of North Dakota
School of Medicine & Health Sciences
501 N Columbia Rd, Stop 9037 | Room 1106 | Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037
701.777.2733 direct | 218.779.3107 cell