We Will Jump In: 2019 PA Graduates Make Leap to Clinical World

The 2019 graduates outside 670 Albany Street

“Today we celebrate the accomplishments of 28 highly successful individuals who comprise the Class of 2019,” said Program Director Susan White, MD, as she opened the fourth commencement exercises for the Physician Assistant Program held Aug. 15 in the 670 Albany Street auditorium.

The newly conferred graduates now join the 131,000 practicing physician assistants across the U.S. The graduation ceremony marks the end a two-and-a-half year journey through an intensive course of study, including an integrated pathophysiology and pharmacology course alongside second-year medical students. In addition to classroom work, students also complete 14 months of clinical rotations and a thesis project.

“I hope you will choose to lead, and you see leadership as a frame of mind, not simply as a title or a position,” said David Coleman, MD, Wade Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at BUSM. “Remember the three Ms: Find meaning in your work. Constantly pursue a sense of mastery. Embrace and enjoy this remarkable profession – and always feel like a member of the BUSM community.”

Howard Straker, PhD, PA-C, addresses the crowd.

Joseph Gibson, PA-S III, President of the Carl Toney Society, welcomed this year’s commencement speaker, Howard Straker, PhD, PA-C. Dr. Straker currently serves as president-elect of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) and will take over as president in 2020. He is an assistant professor of Physician Assistant Studies at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the School of Public Health; and director of the joint degree PA/MPH program.

“You’re coming out of your shell today. You’re entering at a time where you can shape the future. Your voice can influence a team, your voice can make a difference and your voice belongs at the table. This is leadership, and leadership is influence,” he told the graduates and their families and friends.

Dr. Straker encouraged them to use their new voices in a call and response to various scenarios in the Physician Assistant field, answering with “We will jump in.”

Following Dr. Straker’s keynote address, the Class of 2019 presented awards to the following faculty:

  • Robert Lowe, MD | Didactic Instruction Award
    For his dedication and excellence in teaching the PA class during the didactic phase of the Program
  • Juman Hijab, MD | Clinical Preceptor Award
    For her dedication and excellence in teaching the PA class during the clinical phase of the Program
  • Mary L. Warner, MMSc, PA-C | Carl Toney Society Award
    For her significant contributions in support of the Physician Assistant profession

Students were presented their degrees by faculty members of the PA program.

See photos from the day on the Facebook album.