2021 NC PA Program Update | Campbell University
by Rita Fontaine, PA-S1, NCAPA Student Representative, Campbell University
In 2011, Campbell University added the Masters of Physician Assistant Practice to their already robust list of Health Sciences programs. With a program mission that was “built on the tenets of faith, learning and service, Campbell’s PA Program prepares servant-leaders to practice compassionate, competent, team-based health care.” While the inaugural class had 34 members, today the flourishing program has grown to a class size of 54. Originally a 28-month program, it is now 24 months, and continues to have PANCE pass rates above the national average, including several consecutive years of 100% first-time pass rates. Campbell University is home to the Wallace Student Society, named for the fourth President of Campbell, Jerry M. Wallace. He was a philanthropist, theologian, ordained minister, and academic administrator, who served at the time of the PA program’s development. All of Campbell’s physician assistant students, both in their first and second year, remain dedicated to philanthropy and community service through a number of avenues of health promotion and prevention.
In the fall of 2020, students helped coordinate and carry out a blood drive hosted by The Blood Connection. Other service projects this academic year have included campus cleanup, grounds keeping and cleanup at Raven Rock State Park, multiple food drives, companionship correspondence letters to seniors at Oak Hill Assisted Living facility, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, Beacon Rescue Mission work, a campus-wide Ronald McDonald House pop-tab collection in memory of one of our own student’s daughter, and continued stewardship of our Adopt-A- Highway stretch near campus. Some upcoming service events include a virtual 5k benefitting the Special Olympics and our annual Make A Wish Golf Tournament. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our students have persevered in continuing the mission of the Wallace Student Society and Campbell University’s dedication to community.
Thanks to the national strategy rolled out by the Biden administration, many graduate students from the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences answered the call to volunteer at several rural Covid-19 vaccination clinics, carried out through Harnett Health. This collaborative effort from multiple healthcare agencies and area schools has administered nearly 26,000 vaccines throughout Harnett County to date, and is carrying out mobile vaccine clinics on an ongoing basis. In addition to the vaccination effort, the Wallace Student Society continues weekly volunteering with underserved populations at the no-cost Community Care Clinic through First Choice Community Health Center in Lillington. It is a wonderful way to collaborate with other budding professionals from Campbell’s Doctor of Pharmacy program and the School of Osteopathic Medicine under expert supervision and guidance. It provides a pre-clinical year opportunity to practice nearly all aspects of care, from intake and history, to physical exam, postulating an assessment and plan, and presenting to preceptors. There really is nothing quite like it prior to official rotations, which will soon begin for the first-year students in July.
The Interprofessional Education (IPE) department in the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences is an integral part of the Campbell University Physician Assistant program, as students participate in IPE events during every block of didactic year. Through its mission to “catalyze the team-based care movement to transform the rural healthcare landscape,” students glean experience and knowledge shared by the other graduate and professional healthcare disciplines. IPE allows us to learn how to collaborate for the best interest of all of our future patients, and advance a superior healthcare model in the immediate future. Events include interactive case studies, interdisciplinary presentations, and even OSCE’s.
The Campbell PA program has managed to facilitate numerous in-person OSCE’s, clinical skills days, ultrasound labs, officer’s meetings, fundraisers, service opportunities, student ACLS certification, and ongoing world-class education in a hybrid format. For the first time, Wallace Student Society elected its own Diversity & Inclusion officer, and the students have enjoyed the book clubs, guest speakers, and lunch-and-learns held on pivotal topics of our time, both in healthcare and humanity. As we all adjust to numerous adaptations on our journey, the current students have a well-established buddy system, being mentored by someone ahead of them and having the opportunity to mentor those who are incoming. Students are active ambassadors for undergraduate Pre-PA Club, PA school Applicant Open House panels and tours, and participate in Accepted Student Days, routinely connecting in ongoing friendship and encouragement with those on their way in. In the hybrid learning format, we may not see each other as often as we would like, but we remain connected.
During PA week in the fall, CUPA officers displayed a Mandalorian-clad skeleton declaring that “This is the way” in the student union, as part of the professional awareness campaign.
The Campbell program has added new staff members and professors, all of whom are driven both academically and in servant-leadership. Chileatha Wynn, DMSc-S, MPAS, PAC, is a Primary Care Champions Fellow with the Campbell University School of Medicine and was WakeMed Preceptor of the Year in 2019, as well as being a member of the NCAPA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. She states, “My goal is to help advance the future of the PA profession through work as a clinician, leader, preceptor, trainer, and professor,” and is currently instructing students in their didactic year. Our newest assistant professor in didactic curriculum, Kimberly Stabingas, MS, PA-C is also a Primary Care Champions Fellow, is currently working towards her Masters in Health Profession Education, and teaching didactic year students and performing academic advisor duties as well. We feel very fortunate.
Chileatha Wynn, DMSc-S, MPAS, PA-C Kimberly Stabingas, MS, PA-C
In light of the abrupt changes that the pandemic forced upon PA programs all over the country, students at Campbell owe the faculty, staff, administrators, professors, and support staff a tremendous debt of gratitude for adapting quickly to the changing clinical education model while ensuring the safety of our entire class. There have been unprecedented extenuating circumstances, and Campbell’s PA students are fortunate to have their success ensured without sacrificing love and dedication to family and friends in this trying season.
Last but certainly not least, at the recent AAPA Virtual Leadership and Advocacy Summit, Campbell PA program representatives participated in the push for federal legislation so that PAs in North Carolina can provide optimal care for their patients. Two written requests were submitted, recommending that Congress support the Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act when the legislation is reintroduced in the 117th Congress, and advocating for PAs to certify a patient’s need for diabetic shoes by supporting S.800.
While we at Campbell are all a little saddened that the annual AAPA Conference is to be virtual this year, the Wallace Student Society was able to raise enough funds to cover registration for all who interested in participating. As the Class of 2022 NCAPA representative, I am proud of my cohort and will continue advocating for students as well as the PA profession. I eagerly await our White Coat Wednesday, albeit virtual, so that together we rise.
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