History was made on July 31 as 19 GA-PCOM students earned the MS in Health Sciences – Physician Assistant Studies degree.
On the last day of July 2018, history was made at Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) in Suwanee as 19 physician assistant (PA) graduates were hooded and symbolically moved their mortar board tassels at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. The students comprise the campus’ inaugural graduating class of PA students.
At the Awards Dinner for the graduates held the night before at The 1818 Club in Duluth, Robert Cuzzolino, EdD, vice president for graduate programs and planning at PCOM, called the graduates pioneers, quoting Alfred Sloan, the architect of the company that became General Motors. “There has to be this pioneer, the individual who has the courage, the ambition to overcome the obstacles that always develop when one tries to do something worthwhile, especially when it’s new and different.” He added, “There can only be one founding class and that is you.”
PCOM President and CEO Jay Feldstein, DO, addressed the graduates at the commencement ceremony. “You now join the ranks of the college’s proud physician assistant alumni–nearly 1,000–engaged in practice across the nation. We are so excited that, beginning with you, we are adding competent, caring physician assistants to the workforce with our southern communities’ best health interests at heart.”
Brian Maloney, MD, FACS, the founder of The Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery in Atlanta whose daughter graduated from the Philadelphia-based PA program in 2016, delivered the keynote address. He said, “As a physician assistant you will be assuming one of the greatest roles in the field of medicine. Some of you will be the first point of contact for patients and some may be the last. You will have the unique opportunity to see the whole spectrum of life.”
“Your learning has not ended today, but has just begun,” he said. “You are the one that charts your course... Congratulations on your great achievement and be all that you can be.”
Rebekah Thomas, PharmD, PA-C, the site director for the PA program at GA-PCOM, borrowed a line from Will Foster, the vice president of advertising and sales at Borden Cheese Company. She said, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
She added, “Today the faculty would like to congratulate you on the high level of quality you demonstrated throughout these past 26 months... You have made many people proud.”
At the Awards Dinner, two students were recognized. Anna Cauthen, PA, received the Provost Award which is given to one student in each program with the highest grade point average. She has accepted a position with an oncology group in Athens, Georgia. Alanna Viken, PA, received the Clinical Achievement Award which is given to a top performer during the clinical year. She has accepted a position in emergency medicine in the metro Atlanta area.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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