ATSU-ASHS Physician Assistant program student says program lives the University’s missionPosted: June 15, 2023
In A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) Physician Assistant (PA) program, Abigail Elizabeth Lagergren, PA, ’24, found a place that prioritizes not only the things she was seeking in a health sciences program, but also an approach which aligns with her personal beliefs toward healthcare.
“I chose ATSU-ASHS because of the school’s dedication to its mission of helping the underserved. I was drawn to how the mission is incorporated into our program through didactic clinical experiences that provide us with exposure to these populations early on in our educational careers,” Lagergren said. “They also offer the opportunity to see how what we are learning in the classroom translates to real world practice before we enter our clinical year.”
Lagergren is originally from Mesa, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College with bachelor of science degrees in psychology and neuroscience. While there, she completed a thesis on the familial transmission of chronic pain and how various parenting behaviors can influence pediatric chronic pain.
As a student ambassador, Lagergren hopes her own experiences could help encourage future students.
“When I took a tour of the school for the first time, it was led by a student ambassador during an open house. She was so helpful in answering my questions and assuring me that it was possible to take on such a difficult program, and that it was possible to enter the program right out of undergrad, which was my goal,” Lagergren said. “She was my first introduction to the ATSU community and culture, and I wanted to be that point of contact for someone else. I am one of the youngest members of my class at 23 years old (I was 21 when I was accepted to the program) and enjoy being able to show others that it is possible to succeed in the program regardless of your age, whether it be older or younger than average.”
Lagergren enjoys many different aspects of the program, including the extensive training in ultrasound and opportunity to learn alongside students from other disciplines.
“The ATSU-ASHS PA program offered the unique opportunity to work with the dental faculty and clinic for us to learn how to give dental blocks,” she said.
Lagergren thoroughly enjoys working with faculty and staff, something she began to feel from the first moment she stepped onto the campus.
“I chose ATSU because of how I felt on campus and how welcomed I was by the faculty and staff when I interviewed for my program. Everyone I talked to seemed to be genuinely kind and interested in my well-being, both as a student and as a person, which was refreshing when going through the application process,” she said.
“The thing I enjoy most about being an ATSU student is how much access we have to faculty and how the faculty interact with us. The faculty are always willing to talk to us, regardless of if they are our assigned advisor. They are genuinely invested in us as people and as students, which means that they really look after our well-being. Food truck Thursdays are a real perk of student life, too!”
Lagergren hopes to take the skills learned today and put them to work in women’s health in an underserved community in the future.
“ATSU is helping prepare me for this by providing me with opportunities to work with these populations before entering the workforce. I will be completing my clinical year in Franklin, Louisiana, which is a very small town. That will give me good clinical experience in smaller areas with less resources,” Lagergren said.
“I also hope to teach one day and will begin the ATSU-ASHS Doctor of Medical Science program in October on the education track.”