NC PA Program Highlight | Gardner-Webb University
by Jacqueline Moreda, PA-S, Gardner-Webb University Class of 2020
Gardner-Webb University’s Physician Assistant Program matriculated its first cohort in January of 2013 and recently welcomed its 6th cohort. Gardner-Webb’s most recent class, the class of 2018, had a 100% first-time PANCE pass rate shortly after their graduation in May of 2018. Though the program is relatively new, there is an abundance of dedication, academic knowledge, and clinical experience among the faculty and students that contribute to the program’s core values, mission, and newfound legacy.
The Gardner-Webb PA program is 28 months long, including 16 months of didactic (classroom) coursework and 12 months of clinical rotations. Each cohort consists of 36 students total, which provides an enhanced, customized learning environment that empowers students to develop professional relationships with fellow classmates and faculty. The program faculty consists of Ami R. Steele, MMSc, PA-C (PA program director), eight full-time faculty members, and a few adjunct professors with experiences in general surgery, women’s health, cardiothoracic surgery, dermatology, pediatrics, orthopedics, family practice, and pharmacology.
Throughout the Health Sciences building, there are two student lecture rooms and several study rooms, all featuring apple TV’s and large projection screens. The program offers three Anatomage Virtual Cadaver tables to enhance visualization of anatomical structures as well as CTs and MRIs. We also have two simulation labs that include manikins with authentic heart sounds, breath sounds, and bowel sounds. The manikins allow students to take blood pressures, perform CPR, intubate, and insert IVs and central lines. We have six fully-equipped exam rooms enabled with video recording in which students perform OSCE’s, practice with standardized patients, and perform clinical skills.
The program’s mission is to promote and craft competent primary care PAs that embrace high-quality, patient-centered care. In particular, our program fosters healthcare in medically under-served areas-most of which happen to be minutes away from Garner-Webb’s campus! Students are able to take advantage of the rural communities that surround our campus and attend monthly soup kitchens in which students provide blood pressure screenings, vision exams, and skin exams while advocating for health maintenance. Each month, students donate sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottles, and feminine hygiene products to soup kitchen attendees.
The class of 2020 has collaborated with the Healthcare Foundation of Cleveland County and plans to volunteer and operate the Phantom Gala, which is a fundraiser event that raises awareness for health and disease prevention in Shelby, NC. Students worked closely with a program called Bulldog Backpacks, in which the students provided healthy food and sustenance for fifty under-served children in the local community. Students also attended a Senior Health Fair in which they were able to advocate for healthy lifestyle habits and provide blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI checks. The class of 2020 donated canned goods, flash lights, non-perishable foods, water, baby diapers/wipes to the various cities within NC/SC to aid Hurricane Florence Relief and raised over $1000 for the “Movemeber Movement” which supports prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health research.
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