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Letter: Appreciation for physician assistants

King's College Physician Assistant major Zachary Lagrue takes a COVID-19, sample from Lydia Edejesus, Thursday, Sept 3, 2020, in Wilkes-Barre Pa. at the CATE Mobile Response Unit at the YMCA parking area. (Mark Moran/The Citizens' Voice via AP)

Health care has an entirely different meaning this year. It is needless to say that this global pandemic has changed the lives of many, in countless ways. Those working on the frontlines risking their health and of their loved ones are the true MVPs. Every year from Oct. 6 to 12, National Physician Assistant week is celebrated to recognize the PA profession and its contributions to healthcare.

The University of Utah Physician Assistant Program class 51 would like to express our utmost gratitude to UPAP faculty for their unyielding support and encouragement since we matriculated in May 2020. Overcoming the challenges of distance learning, computer fatigue, technology and isolation would not be conceivable without them. Health care is evolving incessantly and likewise, class 51 is in a constant state of change adapting to new circumstances. We believe that this will only prepare us that much more as we enter the real world as certified physician assistants within the next 22 months.

We would especially like to thank our peers Pete Castillo, Sam Osimitz, Jenna Whippen and Lily Kiely, who have taken on the responsibility as student directors for the Maliheh Free Clinic in South Salt Lake. Additionally, we have had peers volunteering their time to fulfill the clinic needs and get some practice under their belt. They are the true definition of sacrifice and selfless service. Part of UPAP’s identity is community service and these trying times have only made us that much more creative and resilient. We will not let COVID-19 stand in the way of our determination to succeed in PA school or our drive to serve our local communities.

Denise Diaz-Robles, physician assistant student, University of Utah

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