2020 NC PA Program Update | Wingate University
by Caity Serva, PA-S, Wingate University
Wingate University is located in the town of Wingate, North Carolina, and has a satellite campus in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The Hendersonville campus uses synchronous learning to connect live with lecturers on the main campus. The Wingate Physician Assistant program began in 2008 and expanded to the Hendersonville campus in 2013. Over the past twelve years, the class size in the Wingate PA program has grown from 18 students in the class of 2010 to 54 students in the class of 2020. This year, we celebrate the tenth class to graduate from the Wingate campus!
The Wingate University PA Program is a 27-month long program. Wingate students spend their first year learning didactic material then head to clinical rotations in a variety of clinical specialties. Two of these clinical specialties are electives chosen by each student. At the end of clinical rotations, each student presents a Capstone research assignment, combining didactic knowledge with clinical experience. Currently, the second-year students are in their third clinical rotation. The third-year students are finishing up their PANCE preparations and getting ready to graduate on December 18th. Wingate University seeks to create knowledgeable graduates with wide-ranging clinical experience and strong skills in practicing evidence-based medicine.
This year, COVID-19 has changed every PA program in the country. Luckily, Wingate University was prepared. Last year, Professor Taylor Fischer moved much of the instruction of the Medical Procedures course into video to maximize in-class productivity. Fischer had also developed and molded his own prosthetic models using glycerin, gelatin, and eye shadow. At first, they were designed to reduce costs of pricier medical models, but they have been invaluable to students learning during the pandemic. Every student was sent a box with materials including an “arm” to place IV lines, prosthetic fingers and toes, and suturing kits, which allowed students to practice procedures at home. With premade online videos and procedure kits, students were able to transition to remote learning as seamlessly as possible. Thanks to innovation from the faculty, all classes of Wingate’s PA program are on track to graduate on time.
Wingate faculty is diverse in their healthcare experience, with much of the faculty still practicing. This year, Wingate University welcomed two new faculty members.
Dr. David Weil joined the Wingate University PA Program in August of 2020 as Program Director, following the retirement of Rosalind Becker. He was most recently the Associate Program Director and Director of Didactic Education for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine PA Program and has been a practicing PA for over 15 years. Dr. Weil attended the PA Program at NOVA Southeastern University and later obtained his Doctor of Medical Science from the University of Lynchburg, with a concentration in PA education. He is excited to be back in North Carolina and joining the program in which he previously served as an Emergency Medicine Preceptor for many years. Dr. Weil brings with him a passion for student-centered learning and faculty development. While the COVID pandemic has made the transition to Wingate more challenging than anticipated, he looks forward to building on the program’s decade of success.
In October of 2020, Dr. Olabisi Badmus joined Wingate University PA-Studies and Public Health Program as the Director of Medical and Community Partnerships. Olabisi Badmus, MD, MPH also serves as the Medical Director of the PA program. Prior to joining Wingate University, Dr. Badmus was an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Badmus has experience in Pediatrics, Occupational Medicine, Graduate Medical Education as a former Preventive Medicine Residency Program Director, and serving as a Public Health Medical Epidemiologist. Dr. Badmus completed her medical and clinical training at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, University of Chicago, and Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Her special interests are clinical preventive medicine, population health, addressing health disparities and social determinants of health, and graduate medical education.
In January and February, Wingate’s current second-year PA class, along with Wingate students from other graduate medical specialties, volunteered on a mobile medical bus doing mental health screening and education for the local community. The first-year class organized a food-and-clothing drive to benefit local shelters for Thanksgiving. The current Wingate Student Government Association hopes that they will be able to do many more socially distanced events to help the community in the coming semesters.
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