Union's physician assistant program receives federal
LINCOLN—This summer the Union College Physician Assistant Program was
awarded a $663,000 grant by the Human Resources and Services
Administration of the United States Federal Government. This is the third
consecutive federal grant that the program has received, totaling nearly
This grant will be allocated over
three years and will provide support for enhancements in the program’s
curriculum that will strengthen students’ ability to meet critical primary
health care needs of targeted underserved populations.
“This new grant will help our
students gain new skills to reach populations in Nebraska that right now
are not receiving the care they deserve,” said Michael Huckabee, director
of the physician assistant program.
This federal grant is part of the
“Walk the Talk Project,” which emphasizes the application of knowledge,
skills and attitudes in the areas of cultural competency. After enhanced
instruction in cultural sensitivity, including a medical Spanish language
course, physician assistant students will participate in a wide variety of
service-learning projects such as health promotion projects through the
Lincoln Hispanic Community Center. Clinical rotations will place students
in rural and Hispanic populations across the Midwest.
Childhood obesity prevention is also
emphasized in this grant project. Physician assistant students will be
helping with a family-oriented childhood obesity prevention program
sponsored by the Lincoln Pediatric Group, led by Douglas Ebers, MD.
This most recent grant also helps
continue the ongoing service initiatives of Union’s physician assistant
program. Along with Union’s nursing students, the future physician
assistants will continue their partnership with local shelters to provide
hygiene and foot care to Lincoln’s homeless population. For the last seven
years, all physician assistant students have been helping teach
responsible sexual health care in the Lincoln public schools. This new
grant continues to support these activities.
The Union College Physician Assistant
Program recently converted its baccalaureate degree into a Master of
Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS). Union proposed the MPAS to meet the
growing national trend of graduate-level physician assistant studies.
“One of our goals in the physician
assistant program is clinical relevance,” Huckabee said. “For us to remain
relevant in health care, we need to be sure our students represent the
highest level of training. This degree takes us to that level.”
Since its inception in 1999, the
vision of Union’s physician assistant program has centered on service,
especially to underserved communities, such as inner city and rural areas.