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ATSU celebrates ASHS graduation

MESA, Ariz. – A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) held its spring commencement ceremony for six online programs March 5 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Approximately 222 students earned a master of science or doctoral degree at the ceremony.

Graduates received degrees in human movement, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, audiology, doctor of health sciences, and physical therapy. This was the first time most students had met each other in person, as they all acquired their degrees through online courses.

“These graduates demonstrated their commitment to their profession and to life-long learning,” said ASHS Dean Barbara Maxwell, PT, D.P.T., M.Sc., Cert. THE, ’06. “As working healthcare professionals their learning has greater impact as it transcends immediately to the clinical setting and directly to patient care.”

Founded in 1995, ATSU-ASHS is committed to educating and preparing its students to practice at the forefront of a rapidly growing healthcare system.

During the commencement ceremony, a keynote address was given by Ellen Owens-Summo, M.Ed., DTR, director of health education, professional development at the Greater Valley Area Health Education Center (GVAHEC).

During her address, Owens-Summo spoke highly of the importance of mentoring in the healthcare career pipeline. “Mentoring is not always about giving advice, it is also about taking time to listen, provide words of encouragement, and being willing to advocate on the behalf of others,” she said. “Without mentors, we would be less likely to take risks, strive to do a better job, and lack accountability for reaching our goals.”

Owens-Summo holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition from Ball State University in nutrition and dietetics. She is a member of the National Wellness Institute and assisted in the development of the Arizona Living Well Institute. She is a member of the American Public Health Association, and currently serves as president of the Arizona Public Health Association.

GVAHEC focuses its work around three overarching goals, which have been determined by the state Area Health Education Center office. They are: recruitment into health careers, interdisciplinary and inter-professional community-based training for health professions students, and promoting the delivery of quality healthcare for Arizona’s rural and urban medically-underserved communities, including health promotion and prevention programs.

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