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ATSU-ASHS celebrates Physician Assistant program commencement

Graduates stand and applaud during the ATSU-ASHS residential Physician Assistant program commencement ceremony.

Nearly 70 students earned master of science in physician assistant studies degrees during A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) commencement ceremony Sept. 10, 2021.

ATSU-ASHS Dean and Associate Professor Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MS, MPH, told the 69 graduates their talents and compassion were in need in today’s challenging healthcare environment. 

“I would like to suggest to you all that you are quite possibly entering one of the most vibrant, exhilarating times of your life, where your skills and humanity have never been more needed in communities across the country,” Dr. Burch said.

“We celebrate your graduation from ATSU today as you exemplify all that we believe in – whole person healthcare, commitment to the underserved, educational excellence, and community.”

ATSU-ASHS Dean and Associate Professor Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MS, MPH, congratulates a graduate during the commencement ceremony.

Albert Simon, DHSc, PA, director, advanced Physician Assistant Studies, and professor and associate director, Doctor of Medical Science, delivered the commencement address and marveled at the profession’s growth over the last 50 years.

“The profession has grown to a point that would have been difficult to imagine in the 1970s,” Dr. Simon said. “You’ve done very well by entering it. The profession will provide you with opportunities to help people, to be secured by making a good living, and to always have pathways for growth.”

He challenged graduates to never lose sight of the most fundamental piece of patient care – communication – as advanced technologies have become standard across all levels of patient care.

“These elements make it more challenging for you as a provider to build that therapeutic relationship that’s the basis for whole person care,” Dr. Simon said. “Overcoming those barriers is a distinct skillset to refine and put into practice to be an effective clinician.” 

Albert Simon, DHSc, PA, director, advanced Physician Assistant Studies, and professor and associate director, Doctor of Medical Science, delivers the commencement address.

In closing, ATSU Senior Vice President – Academic Affairs Norman Gevits, PhD, said graduates should draw confidence from what they’ve accomplished as they enter their professional careers.

“The degree you just received is not just a credential,” Dr. Gevitz said. “It is a testament to your proficiency and competency in mastering a range of difficult subjects.”

Click this link to watch the commencement ceremony in its entirety. 

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