Bryant Physician Assistant students launch diabetes clinic
This summer, students enrolled in Bryant's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program expanded their portfolio of volunteer work by partnering with two Providence clinics that treat Rhode Island's underserved populations.
The newest partnership is with the nonprofit Rhode Island Free Clinic, which provides free health care to low-income uninsured adults and serves as a training site for aspiring healthcare professionals.
In July, thanks to a Physician Assistant Foundation IMPACT grant of $9,797, Bryant PA students launched a bimonthly clinic day to serve diabetic patients who use free medical care at Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic (CEHC). The grant proposal was submitted by Joseph Desrosiers II and Megan Macomber, second-year students in Bryant’s Physician Assistant Program. It is the first patient-centered grant received by Bryant’s PA program. The grant pays for supplies to monitor blood sugar levels, hemoglobin A1C and lipid levels.
Bryant's MSPAS degree is a rigorous 27-month program of classroom work, laboratory training, and clinical rotations. It takes extra drive to add volunteer work into the mix, said PA Program Director Robert Jay Amrien, MPAS, PA-C. "This shows the magnitude of our students' character and initiative," as well as their dedication to experiencing medicine from the perspective of underserved communities, he said.
"This shows the magnitude of our students' character and initiative."
At the CEHC, three or four second-year PA students serve as lead volunteers for each cohort of patients, with several first-year students also volunteering, said Desrosiers. That way, he noted, "we have consistency of care and build a patient-provider level of comfort." In all instances, PA students are supervised by a licensed PA from Bryant or CEHC.
Macomber believes the CEHC experience provides several valuable lessons for Bryant PA students, including serving as part of a team that helps people who can’t afford to pay for their health care.