Congratulations PA Class of 2015!

A riverside ceremony marks the completion of graduate school for 39 new physician assistants

August 18, 2015

The Class of 2015The OHSU School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program graduated its 19th class on Saturday, Aug. 15. The celebration was held for the first time in the Collaborative Life Sciences Building on the South Waterfront. The PA Class of 2015 included 39 graduates – all of whom were in attendance to receive their degrees after completing the 26-month program.

The day was shared and enjoyed with family, friends, faculty and clinical preceptors from the community. Dean Mark  Richardson, M.D., MBA., and his wife Ellen, as well as George Mejicano, M.D., MS, senior associate dean of education, attended as representatives of the School of Medicine.

William Cameron, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral neuroscience, OHSU School of Medicine, received the Excellence in Academic Teaching award from the graduates. Lea D.M. Vanlue, MPAS '10, PA-C, a PA with the Family Medical Group of Silverton and Molalla (Oregon), received the Excellence in Clinical Teaching award.

Benjamin Schneider, M.D., outgoing medical director of the PA Program, assistant dean for student affairs and assistant professor of family medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, delivered the commencement address. Dr. Schneider shared meaningful words of advice and encouragement with the graduates as they begin their clinical careers. He noted the valuable contribution they will make as PAs to the care of their patients and acknowledged the important role they will play in the changing landscape of health care delivery in the United States.

Student awards went to Laura Marie Bolt and Skye Nehs for outstanding academic achievement and Bridget Elizabeth Barnhart for excellence in the clinical year. Alexander John Nydahl received the award for professionalism, chosen by the faculty for demonstrating a high level of professionalism throughout the program. The program also recognized Andrea Aneke Kuchler and Emily Kay Smith for their community service contributions.

The ceremony concluded with remarks from Joseph M. Buck, chosen as class spokesperson by the graduates. Immediately following the ceremony, a river view reception was held in the CLSB atrium and outdoor terrace; graduates, families and friends enjoyed the lovely summer afternoon.

At the time of graduation, 77 percent of the class had already secured a position working as a PA, and 68 percent have accepted positions in Oregon.

Given the cyclical nature of academia, the PA Program welcomed 42 new students on June 29. Sixty-seven percent of the Class of 2016 are female, and 55 percent are Oregonians with an average age of 28.5. The average GPA for entering students is 3.52. Several new students will be sharing their experiences as graduate students in the PA Program on the OHSU StudentSpeak blog.