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ATSU-CHC mission to serve underserved made program perfect for physician assistant student

A.T. Still University-College for Healthy Communities’ (ATSU-CHC) Central Coast Physician Assistant (CCPA) program student Mariana Alamillo, PA, ‘24, knew her path toward becoming a PA went through the University’s Santa Maria, California, campus after learning about its mission statement.

“I chose ATSU-CHC because the mission statement and program values strongly align with my beliefs and determination in providing medical care to underserved communities,” Alamillo said. “Living in an underserved community, surrounded by agricultural farms, with a population of less than 16,000 has been a motivating factor in my pursuit in becoming a physician assistant.”

Alamillo is from Fillmore, California, and graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s in health science and minor in Chicana/o Studies. She is a representative with the American Academy of Physician Assistants and a student ambassador. 

“I became a student ambassador because I wanted to help incoming students who face barriers like myself,” she said. “As a first-generation Mexican-American, the process of applying to a master’s program was challenging. As a student ambassador, I have the opportunity to assist students on the process of applying and on the workload.”

Alamillo said the ATSU-CHC community is supportive of one another, providing guidance and assistance when needed. She hopes to take that same care of others into the communities she eventually serves as a physician assistant. 

“My goal as a PA is to emphasize the importance of holistically treating patients and providing competent and comprehensive care to the community I serve,” she said. “ATSU-CHC has shown me the importance of cultural humility and how to care for underserved communities.”


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