Letter: Becoming a Physician Assistant During a Pandemic


A sign above the entrance to the University of Utah Hospital on the University of Utah Medical Campus, Salt Lake City, UT on Friday, September 13th, 2019. (Photo by Mark Draper | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


UPAP Staff (Courtesy Denise Diaz-Robles)

Healthcare has an entirely different meaning this year. It is needless to say that this pandemic has changed the lives of many people in countless ways. Those working on the frontlines risking their health and of their loved ones are the true MVPs. October 6th through the 12th is National Physician Assistant week is celebrated to recognize the physician assistant profession and its contributions to healthcare.

UPAP PAs (Courtesy Denise Diaz-Robles)

The University of Utah Physician Assistant Program class 51 would like to express our utmost gratitude to UPAP faculty for their unyielding support and encouragement since we matriculated May 2020. Overcoming the challenges of distant-learning, computer-fatigue, technology and isolation would not be conceivable without them. Healthcare is evolving incessantly, and likewise, class 51 is in a constant state of change adapting to new circumstances. We believe that this will only prepare us that much more as we enter the real world as certified physician assistants within the next 22 months.

We would especially like to thank our peers Pete Castillo, Sam Osimitz, Jenna Whippen and Lily Kiely, who have taken on the responsibility as student directors for the Maliheh Free Clinic in South Salt Lake. Additionally, we have had peers volunteering their time to fulfill the clinic needs and get some practice under their belt. They are the epitome of sacrifice and selfless service. Part of UPAP’s identity is community service — these trying times have only made us that much more creative and resilient. We will not let COVID-19 stand in the way of our determination to succeed in PA school or our drive to serve our local communities.


— University of Utah Physician Assistant Program Class 51

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