Arcadia University recently announced that the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has awarded highly competitive scholarships to three students in its Physician Assistant program.
Hayden Blanchard from Arcadia’s Glenside campus and Olivia Honert and Joly Wu from the Christiana, Del., campus have each received a full-ride scholarship in exchange for their commitment upon graduation in May 2024 of providing at least two years of primary care health services in an underserved Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
Only about 10 percent of NHSC scholarship applicants receive the award. Applicants must demonstrate their commitment to primary care and to delivering it in underserved communities.
Blanchard studied Physiology, Developmental Biology, and German Studies at Brigham Young University. The Las Flores, Calif., native previously served as a Spanish medical interpreter and plans to continue that work in an underserved community after completing the PA program.
“I feel excited about working in primary care with underserved patients because I feel like they have a lot of unaddressed needs, and my thought is that it will be a good way to start and see a breadth of conditions,” Blanchard said.
Wu will earn a Master of Public Health and Physician Assistant dual degree, having completed most of the MPH requirements in May 2022. She earned a bachelor’s in Accounting and Finance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and worked as a CPA for five years but felt unfulfilled.
“One of the biggest hindrances to changing careers and pursuing an advanced degree, especially in medicine, is the financial burden,” Wu said. “But I took my chances on chasing my dream of becoming a PA and took on student loans along the way this time. I’m so glad that I did pursue this path. I feel so much more passionate and motivated in this new career trajectory!”
This will be Honert’s second degree from Arcadia; she earned a bachelor’s in Biology in May 2022. Upon graduation in 2024, she plans to return to her hometown of Lancaster, Pa., and work in family medicine, noting that this is the practice that needs the most practitioners.
“I can be these individuals’ PCP and continually see them to provide preventative and chronic illness care that they both need and deserve, but often don’t have access to due to lack of practitioners and affordable access to healthcare,” Honert said. “I can also guide patients to other medical resources, as well as to resources that can help with hardships, such as housing, education, and food security, that underserved populations face.”
Arcadia University’s Physician Assistant Program
Arcadia’s Physician Assistant (PA) program is nationally-ranked and fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The program boasts an overall exceptional pass rate on the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) board examinations, with a five-year, first-time taker average pass rate for the program of 98%. Arcadia PA students spend their first three semesters taking didactic and laboratory coursework in the basic and clinical sciences on one of two campuses in Glenside, Pa., and Christiana, Del. The clinical phase consists of eleven rotations. Service and global opportunities are available to students during the didactic and clinical phases of the program.
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