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Focus on serving underserved communities led student to ATSU-College for Healthy Communities

A.T. Still University-College for Healthy Communities (ATSU-CHC) Central Coast Physician Assistant (CCPA) program student Chanah Turis, PA, ’24, wants to become a PA to one day help bring medical care to underserved rural communities. 

And while studying at ATSU-CHC, Turis hopes to help future CCPA students on their journeys to the University’s California campus in her role as student ambassador. The program is new and a hybrid format, unlike other PA programs. With first-hand experience, Turis is able to help those students understand what that looks like, and how it may work for them.

“I want to be the bridge between the questions and answers. I believe in the mission of ATSU and the CCPA program,” Turis said. “I want to make sure that if a potential student has questions, they get answers and guidance from current students. I believe that good representation of CCPA will ensure we are recruiting the best future providers.”

Turis, from Snowflake, Arizona, graduated from Arizona State University with a biological sciences (neurobiology, physiology, and behavior) degree. ATSU’s mission of service to the underserved attracted her to the program.

“I believe in the mission and values of ATSU as a whole. I chose my program specifically because the focus is on creating healthy communities and helping the underserved. Growing up in a rural area where medical care was limited, I understand on a personal level the importance of ensuring underserved populations not only have access to healthcare, but that they are receiving good quality healthcare,” Turis said.

“I hope to help with the high need of medical providers who give good, quality healthcare. I look forward to giving back to the community I grew up in and providing care in a rural setting. I know that ATSU is giving me the best quality education as a physician assistant student. I believe that upon graduating, my career will take me to places that I cannot currently imagine. But I look forward to representing ATSU and continuing to be an ambassador long after I graduate from the CCPA program.”

In her free time, Turis enjoys getting outside and moving. She is an avid hiker and runner, and also enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures and foods. 

She was previously active duty military in the U.S. Navy, where Turis received the Navy Achievement Medal, two Good Conduct awards, Aviation Warfare and Surface Warfare honors. She was also meritoriously advanced rank while serving aboard the USS George Washington CVN-73.

Now, Turis is enjoying her time in the CCPA program, getting to know her classmates and their backgrounds. 

“The CCPA program focuses heavily on creating a very diverse group of PA students and it has really been a pleasure getting to know them,” she said. “At ATSU there have been many opportunities to get into the community and volunteer. Student life looks different for first-year and second-year PA students. But as a second-year PA student I have enjoyed my clinical rotation location, the diversity, and having the ability to treat individuals who are underserved.”


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