Physician Assistant Long White Coat Group Photo

For the first time, the Physician Assistant Studies (PA) Long White Coat Ceremony was held in conjunction with the presentation of the PA Alumna of the Year Celebration on the evening of Wednesday, October 10. 

Starting at 5 p.m., a reception was held with food and drinks for attendees in the Hafter Student Center’s Bennett Lounge. The crowd then moved to the gymnasium in time for the start of the ceremonies.

PA Long White Coat CeremonyThe Long White Coat Ceremony is a special time for PA students  when they receive their professional white coats just prior to graduation at the culmination of their academic career.

Donna Agnew, MSPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, director, Physician Assistant Program, addressed the Class of 2018 with humorous memories specific to individuals and the class as a whole in addition to providing  the graduates with some astonishing numbers of what they have already accomplished.

In their clinical year, the cohort collectively already cared for more than 60,890 patients in a variety of settings, and provided access to care to over 8,000 underserved patients.
“My message to you is to remain humble as you have a lot of learning ahead of you,” Agnew said.

University president Michael Mittelman also addressed the cohort with words of congratulations and encouraged them to stay in contact and reach out to mentors if needed. “We’re mother home for you, and I don’t want you to forget that,” he said.

The ceremony then switched gears to present Jennifer Heibel, MMS’15, PA-C the Physician Assistant Alumna of the Year Award. Heibelis currently a member of the palliative medicine team at the Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS) in Mankato, Minn.

The award, created in 2016, is presented annually to an alum who after having completed the Salus Physician’s Assistant Studies Program has gone on to not only create a distinguished career for themselves in the profession, but perfectly exemplify the University’s  ethics and values.
The University’s Alumni Association selected Heibel this year because of her notable works in the profession along with her kindhearted and passionate disposition when handling patients. Last year she founded the non-profit, “ReMEmber,” pronounced “remember me,” which provides its members with guidance in composing letters and other personalized projects in a means to “capture an unwavering expression of love that lasts beyond the final breath.”

Remarking on Heibel’s impressive bio, Dr. Mittelman said, “She has set the bar high for what a PA should be doing.”

Just three years after graduating Salus, Heibel is well-known for continually going beyond her obligation as a PA to lend a helping hand to her patients and their families. “As PAs, we constantly provide compassionate care to our patients,” Heibel said. “For sustainability we must find ways to keep our ‘energy tanks’ fueled.”

Whilst contemplating on being selected for the Alumna award, Heibel commented on how she views it not only as an encouragement that she is on the right path, but how the accomplishment excites her to see what else she can accomplish on her professional journey.
The night ended with the newly cloaked graduates reminiscing while watching a slideshow of their time spent at Salus with undoubtedly forever friendships, and gathered one last time as a cohort for a group photo to add to those lasting memories. 

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