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National Medical Librarians Month 2023

October is National Medical Librarians Month. This month celebrates all the work and expertise the library staff here at ATSU put into improving medical research and practice, finding the best evidence, and supporting our faculty, students, and staff however we can. This is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with our services such as our research services, scholarly communication services, liaison services, 3D printing, and interlibrary loan.

In celebration of National Medical Librarians Month, the library at all three campuses will be hosting some fun events.

Arizona Campus

  • Keep an eye on the front desk for our candy guessing game. Whoever has the closest guess for how many pieces of candy are in the jar wins a prize!
  • We have a brand new skeleton, so come up with your funnest, wittiest, and spookiest names, as we will be hosting a skeleton naming contest. The winning name will be the permanent name of our newest skeleton model.

Missouri Campus

  • Keep an eye on the front desk for our candy guessing game. Whoever has the closest guess for how many pieces of candy are in the jar wins a prize!

California Campus

  • Keep an eye on the front desk for our candy guessing game. Whoever has the closest guess for how many pieces of candy are in the jar wins a prize!

A.T. Still University’s Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) recently hosted a volunteer day at the Social Spin laundromat in Mesa, Arizona, where students strengthened their friendships with their classmates while giving back to their community.

The Social Spin laundromat isn’t your average laundromat. Social Spin is a nonprofit foundation founded in 2021 that aims to build and strengthen the community through laundromats. Both the Mesa and Phoenix locations provide free laundry service weekly to those in need.  

Providing simple services, such as free laundry, and a connection to community resources also provides dignity for individuals who may be unhoused and have struggled to find access to such services.

Second-year student and SOTA Vice President Jaclyn Rufrano, MSOT, ’24, worked with Social Spin’s director of care and partnership to coordinate the volunteer day, which consisted of a variety of activities to help the Mesa location. 

Students from ATSU-ASHS’ Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) departments created affirmation cards, made PB&Js, hand-sewed laundry bags, washed, dried, and folded laundry, cleaned and reorganized the laundromat’s library and pantry, and sorted through donated clothes. The week before, SOTA also held a food drive on campus, and brought all of the donated food items to the laundromat to restock their pantry.

“Our goal was to continue to build a relationship between the first- and second-year students, and just make a difference,” Rufrano said.

“Something so simple as organizing a food drive can have a major impact on the individuals who utilize Social Spin’s community pantry and fridge. I really tried to emphasize that we’re all in school and many of us aren’t working, but just picking up an extra item or two when we go to the grocery store can make the world of difference for some,” Rufrano said.

Through volunteer activities such as these, SOTA also aims to help build and strengthen the relationship between first- and second-year students.

Rufrano explained, “As a student, it’s easy to get hyper-focused on assignments and catching up on studying. As rewarding as it is to be a grad student, sometimes I have to remind myself that there’s more to life than my academic performance. 

“Social Spin was a great way to get our cohort to take a step back from school, close our laptops, and just dedicate a few hours to community involvement. It’s another important aspect of OT that we can often overlook when classes really start to pick up. I wanted to remind students that advocating takes all forms, and it can be so fun at the same time.”

While a student in A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program, alumna Ashlyn Nielsen Tobler, OTR/L, MSOT, ’21, remembers countless discussions with her peers and professors around advocacy. 

After two years of practice in the field, Tobler is seeing the true weight and importance of patient advocacy, and her advocacy work has been changing lives by helping homebound individuals experience the freedom of movement.

Originally from Utah and currently based in Colorado, Tobler works primarily with the geriatric population and in a home health setting, which she said has become one of her favorite specialties.

“It’s more intimate,” she said. “We can work on things that are more meaningful to them.”

However, in the home health setting, Tobler’s patients often face unseen challenges that require unique solutions. Recently, Tobler had a patient who had been homebound for roughly nine weeks, which she said is a safety hazard in itself. Not only that, but the patient’s mental health was suffering as well. 

Affording the necessary medical equipment is often a struggle for patients, and dealing with insurance companies, medical bills, and other challenges, can often become unmanageable, which is where Tobler comes in.

“It’s important as therapists to really go in with open eyes and look at the big picture there, and find ways to really have the overall quality of their lives benefited. So if that means advocating, that is our number one priority,” she added. 

Through extensive research and previous advocacy efforts, Tobler built a relationship with All American Koating, a small, locally-owned business that now works with Tobler to install ramps, grab bars, and other essential home safety equipment.

After her patient’s wheelchair ramp was installed, Tobler’s next step as an occupational therapist was helping the patient familiarize himself with it, while developing his confidence to use both his four-wheeled walker and wheelchair to safely get out of his home. 

“I had him maneuver his wheelchair around his home just to get familiar with propelling it and being able to leave his home when he wanted to. We worked on just overall upper body and lower body exercises to help with the propelling of the walker, also just the overall endurance and strengthening of being able to walk out on the porch,” Tobler explained. 

She also focused on teaching him energy conservation techniques and the importance of taking appropriate breaks, as he struggles with shortness of breath and pain management. 

“It was just really neat to see the after effects on his overall mental health as well, to know that he could go out and enjoy the nice weather and be with his wife outside, and then that led to us being able to work on car transfers, where now he’s able to get in a car and go to his doctor’s appointments or go out to eat with his wife,” Tobler said.

Tobler credits her time in ATSU’s MSOT program with preparing her to advocate for her patients so strongly, and said she is thankful for the University’s focus on wholeperson healthcare and the incorporation of body, mind, and spirit in all aspects of education.

As a 2021 graduate, Tobler had a more nontraditional experience in the program, with part of her schooling taking place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with this challenge, she said she was thankful for her professors’ flexibility and creativity in ensuring they received the best OT education possible.

“Advocate. Advocate for your patients,” Tobler said, “If that’s the biggest takeaway that I could take away from ATSU, is that our number one responsibility is to advocate for patients.”

“Listen to the individual, listen to the patient, and be an advocate for greater good, because a lot of times, patients don’t know how to advocate for themselves. If we can be that source for greater good, in the long run, they’ll be blessed,” she added.

Building a trusting provider-patient relationship is essential to ensuring all patients are seen and heard, no matter the healthcare field or specialty. But when there are barriers to communication, it can be difficult to deliver quality care, leading to more negative health outcomes among some of the country’s most vulnerable communities. 

A group of students from A.T. Still University’s College for Healthy Communities (ATSU-CHC) Central Coast Physician Assistant (CCPA) program is working to address this by strengthening their Spanish language skills in the recently founded Medical Spanish Club.

“One of the reasons why ATSU is so special is because I love how they focus on whole person healthcare, and that includes everyone, especially the underserved communities,” said club co-founder and president Louisa Tostado, PA, ’24.

She added, “Latinos are part of that underserved community, and I think it helps bridge that gap to where you’re going to be serving them so you’re trying to make the extra step to make those patients more comfortable.”

Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the U.S., and learning how to effectively communicate in a person’s preferred or native language can not only build deeper trust, but can ensure proper diagnoses are made. 

Tostado previously worked as a Spanish translator for a medical clinic, where she realized that medical Spanish was almost its own separate language. As she entered her studies in the CCPA program, she also realized the importance of knowing Spanish as a provider, specifically in preparation for the clinical portion of the program.

During their first semester, Tostado partnered with fellow second-year student and current club vice president Gabriela Zamora Bonilla, PA, ’24, to found the Medical Spanish Club in March 2023. Both Tostado and Zamora Bonilla were shocked by the outpouring of support and interest they received for the club.

“I remember the first meeting felt like something surreal, because we didn’t expect that many people to come,” Tostado said. “It was really incredible to see how many people came out and wanted to become a part of this.”

Since March, the club has aimed to hold meetings once a month, where students come together to learn anatomical terms and practice conversing in Spanish, with a goal to not only better prepare themselves for the clinical phase of their education, but to better prepare for practice as PAs after graduation.

“It can be hard to learn a new language, and then you could get discouraged, but we really wanted to just make it welcoming and a safe space, whether it’s for an hour a month, for people to learn a new language,” said Zamora Bonilla.

She added, “I feel like most Hispanic communities, they’re just happy that you tried and are trying to understand and get rid of that cultural barrier.”

At a recent club meeting, students also heard from Cristina Tipei, MSPAS, PA-C, assistant professor, about her experiences and tips for providing care for Spanish speakers.

“Even if students don’t understand Spanish, even if they’re not completely fluent in Spanish, or different dialects within Spanish, we’re helping them feel comfortable being uncomfortable,” said the club’s faculty advisor Brandy Brooks, EdD, PA-C, MHS, BS, assistant professor.

Dr. Brooks explained that the club doesn’t just focus on learning Spanish vocabulary, but also focuses on digging deeper into how to understand a patient when there is a language barrier, and how to use partial language skills to bridge gaps in understanding. 

She added, “Just like in any language, you can say something three different ways, but if you’re not listening, or you’re not pulling back and helping understand the patient and what whole healthcare is, how do you help that patient? And how do you then help that community continue to thrive?”

Tostado and Zamora Bonilla will both be leaving for their clinical rotations next year, and although they are sad to be stepping away from the club, they are looking forward to putting some of their new medical Spanish skills they’ve learned into practice, and passing the club off to the next cohort of students.

For more information, visit the CCPA Medical Spanish Club’s Engage profile here.

Join the A.T. Still Memorial Library for our first ever Designing Without Limits 3D Printing symposium. This event, hosted by the A.T. Still Memorial Library, ATSU’s MD3D Print Club, DEPCO Enterprises LLC, and Stratasys will bring together a variety of speakers to talk about 3D printing innovations.

The symposium will be held in-person on the Kirksville campus and over Zoom on Oct. 21, 2023, from 8:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m. CT. 

Register and RSVP here. All in-person attendees are asked to register by Oct. 10.

For questions or additional information, contact Debra Loguda-Summers at or 660.626.2645.

Full Symposium Agenda

8:00-8:15 a.m. Introductions & Moderators
Harold Bright, MLS, AHIP, director, A.T. Still Memorial Library
Debra Loguda-Summers, public service and 3D print service manager, A.T. Still Memorial Library
Aaron Panek, education consultant, DEPCO Enterprises, LLC

8:15-9:00 a.m. Digital Dimensions: Exploring 3D Printing and Software
Ja’Mel McCaine, creative experience assistant, St. Louis Public Library

9:00-10:00 a.m. From Pixels to Precision: Transforming Healthcare Education with 3D Imaging, Printing, and Workforce Development
Trish Weber, assistant director of radiography/medical imaging and technology, associate professor of radiography/medical imaging, Clarkson College

10:00-11:00 a.m. Adapting Toys Using 3D Printed Switches
Katherine Jones, MA, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, assistant professor, A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences

11:00-11:15 a.m. Creating 3D Models with Metascan: An Overview and Use Case
Jamie Carroll, senior graphic artist, A.T. Still University Academic Technologies

11:15-11:45 a.m. Metascan with LiDAR iPad Scanning/3D Design Projects for ATSU Academics & Researchers
Dean Maag, manager, A.T. Still University Academic Technologies

11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00-2:00 p.m. 3D Printing and the Biophysics of Shape
Bruce Young, PhD, MS, professor, anatomy, A.T. Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine

2:00-3:00 p.m. Framework for the Dissemination of New Technology In a Medical Library
Kate M. Serrald, MA, unit manager, The Methodology Lab, Preston Smith Library
C. Eric Wilkinson, MIS, regional library director, Texas Tech University HSC

3:00-4:00 p.m. 3D Models In Dentistry: A Revolution In Patient Care and Education
Ahmed Mahrous, BDS, MS, associate professor, prosthodontics, A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health

4:00-4:45 p.m. Tour of A.T. Still Memorial Library 3D Lab
Debra Loguda-Summers, public service and 3D print service manager, A.T. Still Memorial Library
Aaron Panek, education consultant, DEPCO Enterprises, LLC

Students from A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences’ (ATSU-ASHS) Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) departments joined together for a day of interprofessional collaboration and education during the departments’ annual baby lab Aug. 26, 2023, on the Mesa, Arizona, campus. 

“OTs and PTs often work closely together in the pediatric setting and collaborate in the assessment of motor development in an infant,” explained Katie Jones, MA, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, CWT, assistant professor and director of progression and retention, ATSU-ASHS’ OT department.

“Baby lab was designed to provide an interprofessional education experience for second-year students to observe infant gross motor and fine motor skills and collaborate on expanding their knowledge of infant motor development,” she added.

Thirty-five children ages two months to two years participated in the lab, where students observed them playing with toys, rolling, crawling, walking, and interacting with other children, caregivers, and students. In total, 33 caregivers attended.

After the observation period, students analyzed the developmental sequences of each child’s fine and gross motor skills. This interprofessional assignment required students to look at the children’s primitive reflexes and examine their movements and transitions.

“This lab was a great experience not only as a future OT, but also as an individual who doesn’t have a lot of experience in the pediatric setting. I felt like this lab boosted my confidence in my clinical observations, rapport building, and therapeutic handling skills,” said second-year student Emerson Jesus, MSOT, ’24.

Faculty members from both departments worked together to develop this lab activity for students, including OT department faculty members Briana Bonner, OTD, OTR/L, assistant professor, academic fieldwork coordinator, Haley LeSueur, MSOT, OTR/L, NTMTC, adjunct instructor, Jennifer Radziak, OTD, OTR/L, CHT, program director, assistant professor, and Rebecca Wolf, JD, MPH, OTR/L, chair, associate professor. 

PT faculty members involved in this activity included Monica Queen, PT, DPT, assistant professor, Deanne Fay, PT, DPT, PhD, director, and Danielle Kyman, PT, DPT, adjunct assistant professor.

A.T. Still University’s College for Healthy Communities (ATSU-CHC) graduated its inaugural Central Coast Physician Assistant (CCPA) program class on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, at The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, California.

Eighty-eight students received their master of science in physician assistant studies degree, having been a part of the pioneering CCPA class who are now prepared to provide whole person healthcare to underserved communities across the nation.

“Your tireless pursuit of knowledge, combined with your unwavering passion for serving the underserved, has set you apart as culturally proficient healthcare providers. You’ve embraced the ideals of compassion, empathy, and social justice, recognizing that healthcare is not a privilege, but a fundamental human right,” said Eric Sauers, PhD, ’97, professor and dean of ATSU-CHC, who welcomed graduates and guests and delivered the ceremony’s introductions. 

Donald L. Weaver, MD, senior advisor, National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) Clinical Workforce, spoke at the ceremony on behalf of NACHC, welcoming students to the CHC family and honoring them as trailblazers in both the program and PA profession.

“It’s been two years since we gathered in Santa Maria as you prepared for take-off. While there may have been some unanticipated wind gusts, you weathered the storms and you’re here. We welcome each of you to the health center family. Many will be working in health centers across the country, and all of you are indelibly imprinted with the health center community-oriented primary care model – healthcare driven by the community,” Dr. Weaver said.

Following Dr. Weaver’s address, ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, ’84, presented Ronald Castle, CEO, Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, with the 2023 President’s Medallion Distinguished Service award. Castle was recognized for his support in the establishment of the CCPA program and his commitment to nurturing the next generation of healthcare leaders.

“As an early and steadfast supporter of ATSU, Mr. Castle quickly committed Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, along with his staff and physicians, as a clinical education site for our PA students, helped locate the clinical education sites in California, and served as a counselor in many areas, including integrating the ATSU campus into the Santa Maria community,” said Dr. Phelps said.

O.T. Wendel, PhD, senior vice president for university planning and strategic initiatives, introduced the ceremony’s honorary degree candidate and commencement speaker, Gary M. Wiltz, MD, CEO, Teche Action Clinic (TAC), former chair, ATSU board of trustees. Dr. Wiltz was presented with the honorary doctor of science (honoris causa) degree.

“Dr. Wiltz served on the ATSU board of trustees from 2013-22, and his contributions as the board chair from 2018-20 spurred the inception of ATSU’s Santa Maria campus and the CCPA program. Today, in bestowing this honorary degree, we salute Dr. Wiltz’s exceptional legacy and his dedication to community health. His contributions mirror the value of our program and the excellence we envision in our graduates,” Dr. Wendel said. 

TAC is a network of 16 federally qualified health centers (FQHC) located in seven parishes in southwest Louisiana, serving more than 25,000 patients. Dr. Wiltz began his medical career at TAC in 1982 as medical director and has worked to champion TAC’s mission and commitment to community engagement and a patient-centered approach.

Dr. Wiltz spoke to graduates about the significance of being a part of the first graduating class, saying, “A first can be likened to a two-edged sword sometimes. It can cut both ways. It has joys and pains, it can bring reward and punishment. It also has its share of happiness and sadness, confidence and fear, memories and regrets, acclaim and disdain.”

He added, “For the most part, other than the nurse, you’ll be the first provider that a patient will encounter for his or her office visit. It will be your first impression in accounting that patient’s chief complaint, or I like to say chief concern, to determine what the first step will be in their medical plan.

“I have no doubt that you will be academically fit to the job. So take that confidence, it will serve you very well.”

Watch the full ceremony and check out more photos below!

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) Occupational Therapy (OT) department recently hosted the 2023 OTs in Pelvic Health Summit on the University’s Mesa, Arizona, campus, where occupational therapists from around the country gathered together to learn about the speciality, grow their skills, and network. 

This two-day summit, which took place Aug. 19-20, was organized by The Functional Pelvis, an OT practice that specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation. In addition, ATSU-ASHS OT department assistant professor and director of curriculum, Tania Shearon, DHSc, OTR/L, CHT, C-IAYT, and third-year student Rebecca Downs, OTD, ’24, assisted in part of the summit’s planning.

“It was fabulous,” Dr. Shearon said. “There were speakers from all over the country. They had over 100 in-person guests.”

Representatives from the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) attended the event, including Alyson Stover, MOT, JD, OTR/L, BCP, president of the AOTA, and Charles Jeffers, interim executive director. In addition, Arizona Occupational Therapy Association (ArizOTA) President Heidi Carpenter, OTD, OTR/L, attended as well. 

Faculty members from ATSU-ASHS’ OT department, Physical Therapy department, and Athletic Training department also had the opportunity to attend, creating more spaces for interprofessional collaboration and conversation among attendees. 

Historically, OTs have been less involved in the pelvic health speciality, but in recent years have become more involved, making their mark as leaders in the speciality.

“I think it gives us exposure as an OT department that really is trying to foster emerging areas of practice and ways that OT can be present where maybe traditionally they were not,” Dr. Shearon said. 

“My favorite part was hearing well-known physical therapy therapists in the pelvic health field state how important OTs role is and how our lens contributes to the team and the overall health of the patients and clients that need services.”

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program chair and professor Michelle DiBaise, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, ’14, was recognized at the recent National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) Com­mu­nity Health Insti­tute (CHI) for her work with community health centers (CHCs).

Dr. DiBaise was presented the award by Ron Yee, MD, MBA, FAAP, NACHC’s chief medical officer and senior vice president of clinical affairs, on Aug. 27, 2023, at the organization’s 2023 CHI in San Diego, California. She was honored for her efforts in engaging CHCs to prepare healthcare professionals to deliver quality care for underserved communities.

The NACHC is a national healthcare advocacy organization that strives for health equity through the support of CHCs throughout the U.S. ATSU has a long history of working with CHCs, in alignment with the University’s commitment to community outreach and whole person healthcare, and currently partners with 13 CHCs.

“This was not expected at all,” Dr. DiBaise said. “Very honored to receive this award but it couldn’t happen without my clinical team, Kim Kochanoff, MS, PA-C, director of clinical education, clinical coordinators Sylvia Dory, MS, Sabrina Finklea-Strickland, MSN, FNP-BC, PHN, FCN, Ami Mikhail, PA-C, MS, ’03, and Amy Wing, MMS, PA-C, and the amazing clinical staff Ezoria Aisuan, MA, Cindy Becerra, Annaly Phanhnolath, and Janell Somers. To all our regional directors of medical education across the country who coordinate and aid in the education of our PA students during the clinical year, I also thank you!

“And together with the didactic team preparing our students for clinical rotations, Bruce Badaglialacqua, DO, director of student medical education, faculty Annette Bettridge, MS, PA-C, Thomas Hartman, DMSc, PA-C, ’08, Brittney Hulsey, MS, PA-C, ’15, Angie Kiselyk, EdD, MS, PA-C, ’04, Melanie Lyon, MS, PA-C, Linda MacConnell, DMSc, MAEd, MPAS, PA-C, Ray Pavlick, PhD, Tessa Tibben, DHSc, MSPAS, PA-C, ’08, Lorie Weber, MS, PA-C, and staff Bobbi Catton, Nick Cross, Rashida Grayson, Gina Hirrill-Torres, and Jesse Thompson, MEd.

“Together we can meet the mission of the ATSU-ASHS PA program of caring for the rural and underserved communities of our country.”

Students from A.T. Still University’s College for Healthy Communities (ATSU-CHC) are making their mark on the community through their participation in community health fair events throughout the Santa Maria area.

Central Coast Physician Assistant (CCPA) program students volunteered at the Santa Maria Back to School Health Fair on Aug. 8 and the Lompoc Back to School Health Fair on Aug. 10, which were hosted by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. They had the opportunity to assist in providing free walk-in sports physicals to the community by helping the Santa Barbara County Public Health clinic workers collect vital signs.

In addition to providing care, students were able to advocate for the PA profession and the CCPA program through educational flyers and talking with members of the local community.

“Our PA students love to volunteer and give back to the community, they are always looking for opportunities to serve,” said Cristina Tipei, MSPAS, PA-C, assistant professor, adding, “We believe our PA students will not only be wonderful providers to their patients, but have the heart to give back to their community and we are very proud of them.”

CCPA students have been hard at work volunteering in other areas of the community, including their recent organization of a blood drive in partnership with Vitalant, and with various other organizations in Santa Maria. 

“We are incredibly thankful and honored for the opportunity as Student Government community outreach coordinators to work with our classmates and faculty to serve the communities in and around the Santa Maria area,” said second-year students Audrey Chen, PA, ’24, and Jackie Blanco, PA, ’24, who serve as the CCPA program’s community outreach co-chairs. 

They explained that as PA students, they value and learn from these opportunities and experiences as many students in the program share diverse backgrounds. 

“Through these outreach events, I have had the privilege of interacting with the community in my native language of Spanish. It has been wonderful to fully immerse ourselves in different cultures. Our class’s involvement and exposure to the diverse community continue to shape us into better providers,” Blanco said. 

Through all of these volunteer activities, students have promoted and educated the community on the CCPA program, while continuing to champion ATSU’s mission and commitment to serving the underserved.