As part of the Salus University student team at the 19th annual Physician Assistant (PA) Olympics, Alexandra Domaradsky, ‘22PA, had the opportunity to see first-hand her fellow classmates’ strengths.

“I learned that Brendan Nguyen, ‘22PA, is excellent at hula hooping, MacKenzie Sheetz, ‘22PA, knows the preamble by heart and Salus students can rap ‘My country tis of thee’ Hamilton-style,” said Domaradsky.

PA OlympicsThat’s what it was all about, getting out and having fun while raising some money.

Adam Moore, MHS, PA-C, ATC, assistant professor in the University’s PA program, described the event as a chance for PA students to have some camaraderie with fellow classmates and students from other local institutions, visit several historical sites in Philadelphia, take some time away from studying for a bit and be a little goofy all while raising money for a good cause.

“With all the stressors of the past year with the pandemic and the abundance of virtual learning, it was nice to be able to see the students face-to-face and have simple conversations with them,” said Moore. “It was a great instance where faculty and students could bridge a gap — the disconnect between students and faculty that many of us have felt over the past year.”

Salus students joined other PA students from Arcadia University, DeSales University, Drexel University, Jefferson University, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) and Temple University to participate in “The Amazing Race,” April 10, 2021, in Philadelphia.

PA OlympicsTeams would start at a Philly landmark — City Hall, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center, Chinatown, and Love Park among others — and perform tasks/challenges to receive clues for the next location. There were eight locations and it was a timed event. The team with the quickest time would win the event.

The event is the culmination of a fundraising effort, which has raised just more than $24,000 over the past two months, for the Krueger Hat Trick Foundation. 

“The event itself was so much fun, but I think my favorite part of the entire day was watching the Krueger Hat Trick Foundation accept the check,” said Lydia Gladfelter, ‘22PA. “The check presentation was overall very emotional and rewarding. I think the best part was seeing our efforts make a difference for the foundation and those in the community.” 

PA OlympicsThe foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to providing financial aid and hope for families inflicted by congenital heart defects/disease (CHD). Every year nearly 40,000 babies are born with CHD, which is nearly 110 children per day. Despite these numbers, CHDs are not widely known about and research is underfunded.

“After a lot of planning, the event was a huge success,” said Sara Dilly, ‘22PA, who added that the Salus station of the race included a cookie challenge and ranking bells hidden in tissue boxes from loudest to quietest.

Dilly said several faculty members attended the event and it was fun for the students to be able to talk with them outside of a school setting and get to know them a little better.

PA Olympics“Being able to meet PA students in nearby programs was helpful in discussing the different ways that each program is ensuring our education despite COVID-19 protocols,” said Dilly. “It also was a way to take a step back and realize the impact of healthcare and the importance in supporting our patients and their families, such as those with congenital heart defects as represented by the Krueger Hat Trick Foundation.”

Moore added that since everyone has been mostly sequestered over the past year, the fact that students from the different PA programs got a chance to interact was a tremendous benefit. 

“Many of the students in the same class did not really know each other, another disconnect associated with the virtual learning,” said Moore. “It brought the students together for a worthwhile philanthropic event while getting outside and enjoying some of the sites of Philadelphia.”