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Week honors physician assistants

By Danielle Adamkiewicz
On October 10, 2013

Seton Hall University is highlighting the physician assistant program and its students.

"Physician Assistant Week is a time to celebrate PAs for all that they do as a valuable member of the healthcare team," Elizabeth Davison, president of the PASSSHU organization and third-year PA student said. The week began Oct. 6 with the annual White Coat ceremony.

"The faculty really appreciates this ceremony because it marks the important transition from first-year book work to field experience," said Christopher Hanifin, instructor and chairman of the PA program.

A physician assistant is a highly trained healthcare provider whose responsibilities range from diagnosing illnesses and interpreting tests assisting in surgeries and prescribing treatments.

The three-year program has trained hundreds of students with a board exam pass rate of 100 percent.

Throughout the week, the students of the program were outside of the cafeteria during lunch providing information on preventative methods that college students can relate to. Tuesday's table focused on vitamin D, calcium and bone health. On Wednesday students could learn the basics of nutrition.

Thursday, the focus will be smoking and alcohol education. The week will close with Friday's information session on hypertension that will give students the opportunity to get a free blood pressure screening.

Faculty and students said they have high hopes for the week. "We hope to raise awareness for this profession," Hanifin said. "We want people to know we are here advocating for the health of the general population."

Davidson said part of the success of the PA program is attributed to how new the profession is, and this week is about showcasing the importance of the people in this field.

"My hope for this PA Week is that more people, especially with- in the Seton Hall community, will take a few moments of their time to learn about physician assistants and the contributions they make to healthcare," Davison said.

Danielle Adamkiewicz can be reached at danielle.adamkiewicz@

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