Oct. 11, 2022 — Advocating for patients using a broad base of medical knowledge and training, physician assistants are essential to health care teams in every specialty. During National PA Week, held annually from Oct. 6-12, the UF College of Medicine honors its PA faculty, staff, students and alumni, who provide humanistic care for all patients.
At UF, students celebrated PA Week by participating in a community service project, listening to discussions from professionals and learning about the history of PAs from a traveling exhibition created by the National Library of Medicine.
“National PA Week is a way for us to honor and pay tribute to our colleagues and to celebrate the profession,” said Nina Multak, Ph.D., MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, the associate dean and Randolph B. Mahoney director of the UF School of PA Studies. “We’re looking forward to a bright future as our program continues to enhance through new opportunities with technology and training.”
Julia Adams, a first-year PA student and president of the class of 2024, said recognizing PA Week makes her feel appreciated in her chosen profession.
“It’s a way to honor the PAs who came before us and gets us excited to be PAs as well,” she said. “And it allows us to educate the community because many have an incorrect idea on what a PA does because of what they think when you say the word ‘assistant.’ PAs are so important to health care teams and patients.”
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the UF School of PA Studies. The program began as an affiliation with the College of Medicine in 1972, when it enrolled its first cohort in an associate degree program at Santa Fe College. It later relocated solely to the College of Medicine, offering a Bachelor of Science degree, before changing to a graduate-level program in 1996. UF has graduated nearly 2,000 PAs during the school’s history.
About three dozen alumni gathered during a PA reception as part of the College of Medicine Alumni Weekend in the middle of PA Week. Graduates from states such as Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina came together to reminisce about their training.
“After our Saturday morning exams, all 30 of us would head to Lake Wauburg to have a party and celebrate being done,” said Rick Davis, PA ’82, of his time at the School of PA Studies. “It was hard work, but we had fun as well.”
Amanda Prine, MPAS ’12, said that when she returns to campus as a preceptor to teach the next generation of UF PA students, she is amazed by the program’s growth.
“Most of our classes were in the basement of Communicore,” she said. “It’s great to see that the students have even more resources available to them now.”