18 PCOM Georgia graduates will go on to serve as physician assistants in the fields of family medicine, surgery and more.
The Grand Ballroom of the Infinite Energy Forum in Duluth was the setting for a commencement ceremony celebrating 18 PCOM Georgia graduates who earned the Master of Science in Health Sciences in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies degree. Held on July 30, 2019, the students, who were selected more than two years ago from an applicant pool of over 1,000, were cheered on by family members and friends. An audience of about 300, some on walkers, others pushing strollers, many clutching bouquets of flowers, applauded as the graduates were hooded and turned the tassels on their mortarboards.
Retired Chair and Program Director of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s PA Studies department, John M. Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA, addressed the graduates giving them a history of the profession and congratulating them for “making the best choice of (their) professional lives so far.”
To date, many of the graduates have secured their first positions as PAs in the fields of family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, surgery and critical care. Some of the students have chosen to practice in rural parts of Georgia including Vidalia and Bremen.
Dr. Cavenagh told the students that they were selected to be members of the Class of 2019 by faculty members “because they knew you were up to the challenge of helping other people lead the best quality of lives that they can.”
Two of the graduates received awards at the dinner-dance held the evening before at the Embassy Suites in Duluth. Class member Eric Eck received the Provost Award, while Sabrina Toles was recognized by faculty members for Outstanding Clinical Achievement.
PCOM President and CEO Jay S. Feldstein, DO, spoke to the graduating class. “I hope you feel a profound sense of awe – identifying that you have entered a noble profession that makes you a vital member of the integrated medical team.”
He said, “In your daily work – from the emergency room to the operating room – I hope that you will realize the fulfillment of ethical practice, a lifelong search for knowledge, and dedication to collaboration with your peers.”
“Above all, I hope you will know the gratification that comes from taking an active role in caring and advocating for your patients,” he added.
Rebekah Thomas, PharmD, PA-C, BCPS, the assistant director of the PA Studies program in Georgia, commended the students for “making wise choices and forgoing short-lived pleasures to pursue and attain a greater goal.”
As the ceremony concluded, all joined in to sing “America the Beautiful.” PCOM Georgia’s Mace and Baton, two symbolic staffs made of bronze, gold and mahogany carried in by faculty marshals and present at all College commencement ceremonies, sparkled from the stage as the graduates and audience members sang - “From sea to shining sea.”
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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