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PA program holds symposium on helping the underserved

Graduate students in Physician Assistant Studies heard Dec. 11, 2013, from several Elon University professors who shared best practices for making a difference in the world by assisting the disadvantaged.

Dr. Andrew Lamb, medical director of Physician Assistant Studies

Elon University’s inaugural class of students in the Physician Assistant Studies master's program took part Wednesday in a daylong symposium that introduced them to various perspectives and ideas for aiding underserved populations both locally and abroad.

The Dec. 11, 2013, event in the McBride Gathering Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion included presentations from Elon University faculty members representing several disciplines.

Dr. Andrew Lamb, medical director of the Physician Assistant Studies program, delivered keynote remarks to open the symposium. In his half-hour talk, Lamb tackled not only the "how" of treating the needy - volunteering time and resources, for instance, with organizations like Doctors Without Borders - but also the "why."

"You may be the only person who has shown love or care or compassion to a person for weeks, or months, or even forever," Lamb said of the "intanglble" role healthcare professionals play in their practice of medicine. "By doing so you will live a life that makes a difference ... and all of us would like to think that one day we will have made a difference in the world."

And how do you change the world? “One life at a time,” he said. “It’s the only way you can it. If you look at the big picture, it will overwhelm you. If you do it one life at a time, that makes a difference.”

The symposium featured presentations from:

Professor Tom Mould, Elon University’s 2013-14 Distinguished University Scholar, who addressed perceptions of welfare and healthcare through his work documenting the history of underserved populations.

Professor Cynthia “Cindy” Fair, a faculty member in the Department of Human Service Studies, who provided perspectives on serving young people born with HIV/AIDS.

Associate Professor Angela Owusu-Ansah, associate dean of the School of Education, who spoke of education and the underserved with a specific focus on reading in Alamance County.

Assistant Professor Alexis Moore welcomes students to the inaugural Underserved Populations Symposium.

“Our Underserved Populations course and symposium are structured to encourage reflective practice and written reflection in medicine by exploring perspectives through the disciplines of education, medicine, anthropology, and public health,” said Assistant Professor Alexis Moore, director of the Underserved Populations program. “The symposium encompasses three important educational missions at Elon: engaged learning, interdisciplinary scholarship, and writing across the curriculum.”

The university enrolled its inaugural class for Physician Assistant Studies in January 2013. The 27-month program engages students through an innovative systems-based curriculum that in addition to large group discussion utilizes small group discussion, hands-on clinical skills labs, simulated patient experiences, lecture and patient scenario discussions.

The PA program shares facilites with the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in the Francis Center on East Haggard Avenue, home to Elon University's School of Health Sciences.

Eric Townsend,
12/11/2013 4:40 PM