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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Visalia campus celebrates military vets who become Physician Assistants

December 8, 2014

SJVC Physician Assistant students honor veteransVeterans from WWII, Vietnam and Afghanistan-Iraq conflicts were present as SJVC’s Physician Assistant (PA) program presented “Honoring Veterans to Physician Assistant Celebration.” The event took place in the Visalia campus’ auditorium on Nov. 14th from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and included lunch.

Speakers included PA senior, John Hoang, who in his youth had been rescued from Vietnam and brought to the U.S, where he eventually joined the military. “It is my turn to give back to the United States of America and SJVC for helping me make my dreams come true by being the best PA I can be,” said John.

The packed auditorium also heard from Vietnam veteran, Mike Chamberlain, who thanked all of the veterans in the audience who came before him and after him, for their service. “This type of celebration has been a long time coming,” he said. “As a Vietnam veteran, I didn’t come home to celebrations like this,” said Mike. “It is nice to know that Americans can separate the soldier from the conflict, and I am very moved by all this today.”

In the mid 1960’s, it was evident that there was a shortage of physicians and other well-trained medical professionals to provide affordable and accessible medical care, especially to inner city and rural areas. Experienced battlefield medics and corpsmen returning from Vietnam were an ideal workforce to train as Physician Assistants.

Since then, PAs have become a recognized and important member of the health care delivery team. “Today our community’s health care will be enhanced by returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq to continue within the conduct set forth by their brothers and sisters in uniform from previous theaters of engagement,” reads a Certificate of Recognition honoring Veterans as Physician Assistants given to SJVC’s PA program by Assemblywoman Connie Conway’s office last year.  “We celebrate the service of our men and women in uniform who remain committed to keeping the health, welfare and safety of our country, as a Physician Assistant.”

This celebration of Visalia campus PA vets was orchestrated by the PA Student Society Chairs: Mike Rodriguez (HOR delegate) and Ashley Parish (PA Class Vice President), with Student Society Advisor, Monica Urmson. The Criminal Justice Corrections program Color Guard, under the direction of Sharon Brown (CJC Program Director) performed.

Jed Grant, PA Program Director and Master of Ceremonies said, “It is important for PAs to understand the contributions made by veterans to the profession. Our profession would not exist were it not for the corpsmen and medics who gained so much medical experience in the military, and then built on that experience by adding formal medical education and training. From that first class of 4 veterans, there are over 95,000 PAs in the US today, working in every medical specialty.”

SJVC is proud to have contributed so many talented and successful medical practitioners to that esteemed profession.

SJVC’s Physician Assistant program will close in the Fall of 2015, after its last cohort of students completes the program. The College is not enrolling any future cohorts of students for its PA program. Click for more information.

If you are interested in finding institutions that are enrolling students in a Physician Assistant program accredited by ARC-PA, please visit the ARC-PA website.


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