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ATSU-ASHS DAT alumna Dr. Hassler appointed to USA Track & Field medical staff

Erin Hassler, DAT, MS, ATC, LAT, PES, ’18, alumna of A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) Doctor of Athletic Training (DAT) program, has been appointed to the medical team for USA Track & Field (USATF). Dr. Hassler will travel to Doha, Qatar with the team to serve as a volunteer medical provider at the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships. More than 2,000 of the world’s top athletes will convene in Doha for the 10-day competition, beginning Sept. 27.

Through the program, Dr. Hassler has also accompanied the team to the 2016 Pan American Combined Event in Ottawa, Canada; the 2017 Pan American U20 Athletics Championships in Trujillo, Peru; and the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

“Since childhood, I have always been intrigued with the Olympics and found myself glued to the television until the broadcast would go off-air,” says Dr. Hassler. “As an athletic trainer, I enjoy working closely with some of the most elite athletes in the world and helping them realize their dreams. It is both an honor and a privilege to represent my country doing the job that I truly love.”

Dr. Hassler poses with world-class sprinters Justin Gatlin (l) and Christian Coleman (r).

A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) Physician Assistant Studies (PA) program celebrated the achievements of 62 graduates from the class of 2019 at its commencement ceremony, held at the Mesa Arts Center on Friday, Aug. 2.

The graduates were congratulated by ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, ‘84, and Dean Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MS, MPH, for their accomplishments.

Randy Danielsen, PhD, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA, ATSU-ASHS professor and director of the Doctor of Medical Science program, was the commencement speaker. He is a distinguished clinician, educator, author, and editor.

Congratulations to ATSU-ASHS PA class of 2019!

Jae Hyun Park, DMD, MSD, MS, PhD, chair of the postgraduate orthodontic program at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, was invited to be a keynote speaker during the 2019 Indonesian Association of Orthodontists (IAO) Annual Session in Surabaya, Indonesia Aug. 21-24. Dr. Park delivered six different two-hour lectures during his visit to Indonesia, including pre-congress and congress lectures, as well as a lecture at Airlangga University.

His lectures were well received, and he has been invited to present at future IAO sessions.

Maureen Perry, DDS, MPA, MAEd, associate dean for the Advanced Care Clinic at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH), received the Special Care Dentistry Association’s Education Award. The award honors dentists who are committed to educating future generations of oral healthcare providers who will then care for individuals with special needs.

“It was truly an honor to be recognized by my peers in special care dentistry,” says Dr. Perry. “Many thanks to Team Special Care in the Advanced Care Clinic for nominating me.”

Students and faculty from A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) Physician Assistant Studies (PA) program developed and led an innovative smoking cessation program at Crossroads rehabilitation facilities. Over a 14-week period, 15% of participants stopped smoking entirely, while 80% reported a significant decrease in their average daily use of cigarettes. The program was funded by a grant from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Crossroads patients with a desire to reduce their nicotine dependence volunteered to participate in the program. They were then enrolled in nicotine-replacement therapy to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. PA students, who were trained in motivational interviewing and tobacco treatment options, met one-on-one with the patients regularly to provide encouragement and discuss patient goals. Progress was assessed weekly using the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence.

“Being able to participate in this project not only enhanced my knowledge of pharmacology and treatment plans for smoking cessation, but it gave me the opportunity to work on communication skills, such as motivational interviewing,” says Destinee Bowden, PA, ’20.

“The experience allowed students to understand and appreciate the complexity of behavior change and consider the patient’s values, beliefs, attitudes, social supports, and motivating factors in order to design individualized, patient-centered treatment plans that addressed the whole person,” says Annette Bettridge MS, PA-C, FNP, assistant professor at ATSU-ASHS. “The students were able to engage patients in verbal discussions using basic counseling skills and motivational interviewing skills to work with their patients collaboratively toward making healthy lifestyle and behavioral changes.”

Students and faculty from A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) provided free dental care to uninsured and underinsured children at Grand Canyon University’s (GCU) back-to-school clothing drive. Nearly 1,000 children received free dental screenings and fluoride varnish applications at the event, while thousands more participated in educational STEM activities to learn about oral health. GCU hosts the annual event to prepare students enrolled in local Title I schools for a successful academic year. In addition to dental care and education, children received backpacks, supplies, and school uniforms. This was ATSU-ASDOH’s fourth year participating in the event.

“The GCU back-to-school clothing drive was such an incredible embodiment of the power of community partnerships,” says Rachel Lederman, second-year student at ATSU-ASDOH. “I felt lucky to be able to provide screenings, preventive care and, perhaps most importantly, dental education to nearly 50 children in just one day of service. Seeing dentistry improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations was very meaningful to me and reminded me of why I chose this path.”

Mai-Ly Duong, DMD, MPH, ’12, alumna, associate professor, and associate director of special care dentistry at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH), has been honored with two prestigious fellowships: the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the International College of Dentists.

Pierre Fauchard, who lived in France in the 18th century, is known as the father of modern dentistry. The academy established in his honor strives to recognize and build leaders in dentistry and elevate the dental profession. Dr. Duong was nominated for the fellowship because of her exceptional service to dentistry and the community.

The International College of Dentists is a leading international honor society for dentists. Fellowship is by invitation only, granted in recognition of a dentist’s “outstanding professional achievement, meritorious service, and dedication to the continued progress of dentistry for the benefit of humankind.”

“I am so humbled to be invited to join the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the International College of Dentists,” says Dr. Duong. “It is truly a great opportunity to be part of two long-standing and prestigious organizations that have a passion for serving the underserved and vulnerable populations at the international level. On the same lines, both organizations create a strong network for dentists around the world to learn about and from each other while we share ideas, build unity, and give back.”

Jim Farris, PT, PhD, chair of physical therapy at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS), recently led a FUNfitness training for Special Olympics Arizona. Clinicians from across the U.S. and Canada traveled to the Arizona Summer Games for training on how to administer a Healthy Athletes screening. Dr. Farris led the FUNfitness screening, or physical fitness, portion of the training, which addresses the ongoing health needs of Special Olympics athletes.

“It was an honor to be able to train six other physical therapists to be clinical directors for the Special Olympics FUNfitness program,” says Dr. Farris. “The best part is that each one went back to their home state or province and conducted a FUNfitness screening during their local summer games, which helped to improve the health of Special Olympic athletes across the nation and in Canada. They even sent me pictures from their events.”

A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) has received a $1,997,735 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for its innovative project, Pathways to Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) Integration in the Nation’s Health Centers: Creating Master Adaptive Learners Where the Need is Greatest. In collaboration with ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health and the University’s community health center (CHC) partners, ATSU-SOMA will work with CHC providers and ATSU faculty members, as well as medical and dental trainees, to better integrate behavioral health, dental, and primary care at partner CHC sites.

The project will focus on three key elements to improve overall healthcare outcomes: prevention and management of opioid and substance use disorders, interprofessional collaboration, and self-care for healthcare providers and trainees. The goal of the five-year project is to address the nation’s opioid and substance use crisis, while improving access and quality of care for medically underserved, vulnerable populations. 

At least 50 providers will receive training through the project, as will 940 medical and dental students. The project launched last month and will be underway through June 2024. It will have long-lasting benefits for CHCs through ATSU’s long-standing relationship with the National Association of Community Health Centers.  

Rupal Vora, MD, FACP, assistant dean of student achievement at ATSU-SOMA, serves as project director. Lise McCoy, EdD, ATSU-SOMA’s director of faculty development, is the deputy director.

“As stated by Sir William Osler, ‘The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease,’” says Dr. Vora. “Only through patient-centered, collaborative care can we best ensure access, quality, and value-based care, and more importantly, address the needs of patients. With integrated care at our nation’s CHCs, the goal is to work together to better identify, treat, refer, and follow up on the comprehensive needs of vulnerable patients to ensure that we are providing whole person healthcare.”

REQUIRED STATEMENT: This project is supported by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,997,735 with no non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the US Government.

Jae Hyun Park, DMD, MSD, MS, PhD, chair of the postgraduate orthodontic program at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) recently served as a National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Part II Ortho-Pediatric Dentistry/Advanced Dental Admission Test Construction Committee member.

Linda Himmelberger, DMD, American Dental Association trustee and liaison to the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE), participated in the meeting as a special guest.  

In 2009, the JCNDE created a new Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE) that would integrate the basic, behavioral, and clinical sciences to assess entry-level competency in dentistry. INBDE is intended to assist state boards of dentistry in evaluating candidates for dental licensure and will eventually replace the current NBDE Parts I and II. INBDE is scheduled to begin in 2020.