GAINESVILLE, Florida — The University of Florida physician assistant class of 2016 received the Outstanding Student Society award from the American Academy of Physician Assistants during its annual meeting in San Antonio last week. The UF PA class was one of three schools out of 227 physician assistant programs nationwide honored for its exceptional service to the PA profession.
The Student Academy Board of Directors evaluated nominees in several areas, including public education and advocacy, public service and outreach, promotion of diversity and professional involvement.
The 60 PA students from the class that will graduate June 18 have served nearly 1,700 community service hours since July 2014, while also engaged in the rigorous PA graduate program.
“The awarding of this honor is a testament to the students’ commitment to community service — most notably Hollie Rudolph’s, the service chair for the class,” said Ralph Rice, director of the UF School of Physician Assistant Studies. “Hollie was instrumental in finding ways in which her classmates could serve the Gainesville and Alachua County communities. She also located opportunities in the cities where they were training during their clinical rotation year — sending each student a list of organizations at which they could volunteer.”
Each student in the UF PA program serves at least 12 hours at the College of Medicine’s student-run free community health care clinic, the Equal Access Clinic Network. Students from the graduating class also participated in international health outreach trips to Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, raised awareness and funds for various medical charities, provided medical care to migrant farmworkers, collected more than 150 pounds of food for area food banks, provided homemade food to veterans and their families, and served hot meals to more than 600 homeless and working poor.
The class received the E.T. York Work of Heart Award in 2015, recognizing the students’ service to the area.
The UF School of Physician Assistant Studies holds the distinction of being legislatively mandated in recognition of the need for mid-level health practitioners in the state and in the nation. PAs are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who practice medicine on health care teams with physicians and other providers. Please visit the UF School of Physician Assistant Studies website at pap.med.ufl.edu.