Three first-year students in Feinberg’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program have been awarded scholarships from The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program.
The program, supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, awards academic scholarships to students pursuing primary healthcare training who commit to a minimum of two years of full-time service in geographic areas or healthcare facilities in the U.S. with limited access to healthcare services.
The awardees are first-year PA students Aidan Ex-Willey, Angela Kim and Carlos Sian. This is the first time three students from Feinberg’s PA Program have been selected to be part of the program in a single application cycle.
“The staff and faculty of our PA Program are thrilled to have three current students selected to be a part of this competitive program. We admire their commitment to providing primary care within our communities of greatest need,” said Mike MacLean, MS, PA-C, director of the PA Program and assistant professor of Medical Education.
Program applicants are evaluated based on their demonstrated interest in providing primary care and their commitment to serving underserved populations. Ex-Willey said she is excited to educate and build trust with patients who are underserved and who may have distrust in the healthcare system.
“This scholarship will allow me to start my career in a setting that promotes equity in healthcare and works to reverse the systemic inequality that many individuals face. I feel extremely lucky to come full circle and be able to work as a provider in the same setting that kickstarted my professional journey. I look forward to building relationships and trust with my future patients, and to be able to provide patient centered care,” Ex-Willey said.
Kim said she hopes to tackle barriers that underserved communities often face in healthcare, such as health literacy and language barriers, by incorporating culturally competent and patient-centered care into her practice as a PA.
“The scholarship is an opportunity for me to represent everyone who has helped me get to where I am today and give the care and assistance I’ve received back to the communities that need the most medical attention. It really takes a village to facilitate accessibility to healthcare, and it will be so meaningful for me to act as a resource for our underserved populations and work towards closing the prominent gap of health disparities found among communities of different socioeconomic classes,” Kim said.
Sian said that being an NHSC scholar will help him represent the Latinx population in medicine and serve as a role model for younger generations in his community who aspire to work in the medical profession.
“As a first-generation immigrant from Guatemala and now NHSC scholar, I hope to empower both my patients and the Latinx community to take control of their health, seek preventative services, and confide in me, while also serving as a mentor for pre-PA Latinx students,” Sian said. “I believe that access to care is just as important as receiving medical care and as a medical leader within communities of color, I will ensure that my patients never put off their health because of language roadblocks, transportation issues, or a prejudiced medical system’s violation of their cultural traditions and socioeconomic conditions.”