EASTON — Dr. William Huffner, senior vice president, Medical Affairs, and chief medical officer, has announced the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has welcomed five physician assistant students for clinical rotations with UM SRH physician preceptors.

The students — Rhavi Dholokia, Emmy Estrada, Chidex Eugene-Francis, Kulvinder Singh and Emily Tull — began their first of eight, five-week rotations on May 22.

The physician preceptors and their specialties are: Dr. Eric Anderson, psychiatry; Dr. Walter Atha, emergency medicine; Dr. Kim Herman, family medicine; Dr. Mark Langfitt, pediatrics; Dr. Andrew Pelczar, surgery; Dr. Aisha Siddiqui, OB/GYN; Dr. Myron Szczukowski Jr., orthopedics (offered as an elective); and Dr. Elena Tilly, internal medicine.

“We are delighted to host this second group of students from the Physician Assistant program offered jointly by Anne Arundel Community College and University of Maryland at Baltimore,” Huffner said. “According to reports from our physician preceptors and from the seven PA students who were with us during the past year, the first round of rotations was highly successful. In fact, a few of those students, who graduated in May, have indicated that UM Shore Regional Health is their first choice for employment once they pass their PA licensing exams. We could not have asked for a better outcome and we are hoping this new group will have an equally good experience with our physicians and their practices, and in our hospitals and outpatient services.”

Mary Jo Bondy, administrative program director of the M.S. in Health Science/Physician Assistant Program, shared Huffner’s enthusiasm.

“We are so very grateful to the physicians and hospital leaders at Shore who have welcomed our PA students,” Bondy said. “The first group of students, who are now graduates studying for state licensure, greatly appreciated the opportunity to become embedded in the local community and to work with one physician practice at a time, which enabled them to really focus on their learning. I also was very glad to hear from some of the physician preceptors how much growth they observed in the students over the course of the rotations.”

According to Bondy, most of the students accepted into the AACC/UMB PA program have some work experience, very often in the field of health care.

“We find that candidates with a bit of work history and life experience are most likely to succeed in the program, which is very demanding,” she said.

The demand for certified physician assistants continues to grow, especially in rural communities. PAs work in virtually every area of medicine and surgery in the full array of health care settings — hospitals, private and employed physician practices, outpatient services and long-term care and rehabilitation facilities.

PA duties include taking histories and conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting tests, diagnosing illnesses, developing and implementing treatment plans, and assisting in or even performing surgery.

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