Verizon Foundation Awards $20,000 to PA Program
March 19, 2013 | The Physician Assistant program in the UAMS College of Health Professions recently received $20,000 from the Verizon Foundation to equip students in the new program with skills to recognize and care for victims of domestic violence.
The Verizon Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to the PA program in February. Shown here at the check presentation are (from left) Stacie Smith, PA program director of clinical education; Sheree Williams, account manager for Verizon Wireless; Patricia Kelly, Ph.D., PA program director and department chair; David Russell, vice president for external affairs for Verizon; and Tom Zimmerman, associate director – government for Verizon.
The Verizon Foundation awarded the $20,000 grant to the program in February to develop curriculum materials on domestic violence awareness and prevention. The PA program will partner with local nonprofit agency Safe Places to develop the domestic violence curriculum.
“We are thankful for the support of the Verizon Foundation. This grant will allow us to better prepare our students on handling situations in which a patient is a victim of domestic violence,” Patricia Kelly, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “When you add the assistance of Safe Places and the support of Verizon, this really represents a wonderful example of teamwork to enhance our program.”
The PA program is hoping to receive word in March of its accreditation status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. With approval, the first group of 26 PA students will begin classes in May.
“The Verizon Foundation has long supported programs that improve health care as well as those focused on domestic violence prevention and victim relief — all elements of this initiative by UAMS and its Physician Assistant program,” said David Russell, vice president for external affairs for Verizon.
The Verizon grant followed $117,000 awarded in December by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas. That grant will support efforts to raise awareness of physician assistants and the new program among Arkansas physicians and prepare physicians to host PA students while they gain further clinical experience.
The PA program will be a full-time, 28-month master's degree program where students will receive classroom instruction and experience treating actual patients in clinics and hospitals. Next year the program plans to admit 30 first-year students. The year after that the program may expand to include 34 first-year students.
Physician assistants elicit medical histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose, order diagnostic tests, write prescriptions and manage acute illness and chronic disease with the supervision of a physician.