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New club helps PAs map path to career

On January 22, 2013

A group of friends who are students in the UDM Pre-Physician Assistant program have found a successful solution to their previous years of troubles in obtaining information about the PA profession and applying to graduate school.  

They created a club.

Brett Schulte is a biology major and current president of the Pre-PA Club. He had the idea to create a club just for Pre-PA students.

"It was a lengthy process to be sanctioned by the university but the club was much needed," he said.

Schulte and other students involved in the creation of the club shared the same difficulties in obtaining the information they needed for PA school.

"It was so hard to try and figure out what classes and other things we needed to meet the pre-requisites for applying," said biology major Fatima Abdallah.

Added club secretary and biology major Jamie Farrugia: "With everyone rushing emails, texts and having scheduled meetings with Dr. (Gregory) Grabowski, we all felt like we were always bugging him with the same questions."

"Pre-PA club made it much more convenient for everyone," Schulte said.

The club's mission is to make sure students in the Pre- PA program are familiar with the Physician Assistant profession and the admission process.

"The club will make students prepared for taking the next steps towards being accepted to PA school," Schulte said.

Club members have the opportunities to attend seminars, listen to guest speakers and keep in touch with their professors.

"The club also advocates fundraising and service-learning projects," Abdallah said.

After being recipients of a UDM mission micro-grant, club members last semester reached out to the Gesu Elementary School across McNichols Road to spend the day with the kids and teach them the proper way to wash their hands and stay healthy during the cold and flu season.

"All the kids were very smart," Farrugia said. "They were very happy to have us there and were excited to learn. ... The children didn't want the club members to leave. A little girl got so upset when we were getting ready to go. She wanted to know when we'd be back."

All the kids were left with their own personal hand sanitizers at the end of the day.

Another project the club is engaged in involves Vice President Reema Sutariya and her charity, which assists the RMS Hospital in Dhandhuka, India. The hospital was built in memory of Sutariya's late uncle and another family member.

"This hospital was designed to help the neighboring 400 villages in a rural part of India," Sutariya said. "Every year there is a health camp to provide care for ten days. Due to the large amount of health-care needs in the area, a lot of people come and the basic materials lack such as gloves, alcohol pads and Band-Aids."

The Pre-PA Club has assisted Sutariya's charity by donating money and supplies.

"With such a small school, it is a huge deal when a charity is done internationally and this is something that is helping thousands," Sutariya said. "Many residents, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, doctors, and dentists go to India during this camp to provide their services."

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