MCSHS Physician Assistant program graduates first class

September 30, 2022

PHOTO CAPTION : Graduates include: Ella Beardsley, Victoria Boss, Carolyne Copley, Michael Dick, Alex Goettl, Karen Gomez Ruiz, Anna Gould, Macy Griffith, Rachel Masek, Faith Matheka, Michael McConnell, Naima Mohamed, Lauren Morrison, Melissa Mott, Mary Nguyen, Alex Pena, Anna Perrill, Emily Person, Anna Schmelzer, Arok Thon, Megan Toney, and Mark Urban

The Physician Assistant program at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences (MCSHS) in Rochester, Minnesota, first began in 2020. In July 2022, 22 students in the inaugural class celebrated their graduation. These graduates leave the program with a master of health sciences degree in physician assistant studies and a new set of skills and experiences. They will ease the physician assistant shortage at Mayo Clinic and beyond.

The MCSHS Physician Assistant (PA) program is a two-year program designed to provide knowledge and skills to medical professionals providing direct patient care.

For Michael Silber, M.B., Ch.B., who transitioned out of the role of dean of Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences in August, the graduation ceremony for the PA program marked his last official event as dean. As the ean who approved the PA program, he had this to say about the graduation of the program.

“This graduation is the culmination of more than six years planning and implementation of a new and innovative curriculum developed under the leadership of our inaugural program director, Dr. Michael Huckabee,” says Dr. Silber.

“This program is essential for providing physician assistants to meet the health care worker needs of Mayo Clinic, including our health system. I have been privileged to have the opportunity of leading the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences as dean for the last eight years. One of the achievements that I’m most proud of is the development of this exciting program.”

By the numbers, students in the PA program logged clinical rotation experiences providing patient care to more than 18,000 patients across Mayo Clinic Health System and more than 3,500 patients in Rochester.

“Our first class of students braved a brand-new curriculum designed to be progressive, innovative and like no other. These upcoming graduates are true trailblazers for the way they jumped into brand new learning activities, provided feedback at every turn, and found successful paths in our curricular strategies,” says Dr. Huckabee. “These meaningful learning experiences under the guidance of our expert Mayo Clinic staff assures their preparedness to serve at a high level anywhere across the Midwest Mayo Clinic and beyond.” Dr. Huckabee saw his time at Mayo Clinic as the pinnacle of his career. “Our team in the School of Health Sciences was given the charge to develop an exceptional PA program,” says Dr. Huckabee. “We were supported at every turn with amazing people around us to make sure we got there. And with this first graduating class, they assuredly succeeded.”

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