Thirty-seven physician assistant (PA) students from the class of 2020 volunteered their time on Friday September 21st to participate in a service learning project at Garrett Elementary School in Mebane. The project “PA-rtnering for Healthy Habits” was developed from a grant awarded to Shaun Lynch, assistant professor of physician assistant studies and academic coordinator, and Dr. Diane Duffy, assistant professor of physician assistant studies and director of clinical education, from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Health Foundation.
The PA students provided pediatric “patient education” to approximately 115 5th grade students with a focus on age appropriate health education and promotion. The topics included nutrition, physical activity, oral health, safety, online safety/screen time, and germs/hand hygiene and delivered “health fair style” in short, actively engaging stations.
The project was mutually beneficial for both the PA program and elementary school. The PA students were able to raise awareness and reinforce important health related topics to the elementary students. It also exposed the children, teachers, school and local community to the PA profession and how they are an important part of the health care team.
Physician Assistants are licensed healthcare professionals authorized by law to practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. The Elon Physician Assistant Program is a 27-month graduate program that prepares students to deliver quality team-based healthcare in a variety of inpatient, outpatient, surgery, or emergency settings.