News about Physician Assistant

Emergency Scenarios Translate to Real-Life Benefit for Students

Occupational therapy assistant student Rachel N. Zimmerman, of Pine Grove, shows physician assistant student Zachary S. Kimble, of Bellefonte (acting as a hip-replacement patient who later in the simulation would have a stroke) and other students watching how to use a “reacher” to help with dressing. Observing is Christine A. Tilburg, clinical director of physical therapist assistant.

Emergency medical services student Ian P. McClure, of Littlestown, and paramedic technician student Megan E. Bobby, of Dysart, explain the actions they would take when called to the Dental Hygiene Clinic to help a patient experiencing an allergic reaction to Novocain.

Surgical technology students simulate a laparoscopic gall bladder removal.

Around 250 students in the School of Health Sciences – an academic division that spans 11 distinct health care and allied health fields – are participating this week in a series of hands-on emergency health simulations. The school’s fourth annual Interdisciplinary Professional Event involves 24 student teams, each made up of a cross section of health disciplines, discussing and observing one another’s role in their assigned case. Students in the physician assistant major played roles of patients, whose health problems ranged from an allergic reaction to Novocain in the Dental Hygiene Clinic to a loss of consciousness in the Keystone Dining Room, and surgeries to replace hips and remove gallbladders. As “patients” moved through the health care system, they moved, with their observers, from lab to lab in the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center. The purpose of the experience is to prepare the students to deliberatively work together as patients interact with each of them during their health care experience, with an ultimate goal to improve patient care. Also involved were 23 staff and faculty from the school, who planned and managed the event and led groups through their simulations on Tuesday and Thursday.

Board Approves Master’s Degree Program in Physician Assistant

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors has approved a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies – the first graduate degree program ever to be offered at the institution, a special mission affiliate of Penn State.

Penn College plans to begin offering courses leading to the master’s degree in the fall of 2017, with conferring of degrees to begin in 2022.

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The Whole Picture

Cindy Spinello, '84. Photo courtesy of John Gardner, The Lewisburg Studio

Backed by her husband, Greg, right, and former Gov. Tom Corbett, Spinello speaks at the signing of the Pennsylvania Breast Density Notification Act.

From the Fall 2016 Penn College Magazine: Reeling from a late-stage breast cancer diagnosis, Cindy Spinello, ’84, pushed for legislation that could prevent the same outcome for others. Read “The Whole Picture.”

WBRE Spotlights Health Sciences Students at LLWS

Eyewitness News on campus

WBRE’s Cody Butler made a visit to Penn College students who are lending their skills at the Little League Baseball World Series. Forty-four students from the college’s physician assistant, paramedic and emergency medical services majors are stationed at the South Williamsport complex throughout the Series, which ends Aug. 28. Paramedic students, enrolled in the Intermediate Clinical Practicum course, are stationed in the stadiums to help meet emergency needs of spectators at the games. Physician assistant students are helping to staff the infirmary inside International Grove, where the teams reside during the Series. Both are under the direction of staff from Susquehanna Health and Susquehanna Regional Emergency Medical Services. Butler’s report – which featured emergency medical services major Molly J. Durland, of Dushore, and physician assistant student Macie N. Lucas, of Reedsville – aired during Tuesday evening newscasts.

Students to Work Behind the Scenes at Little League World Series

When the Little League World Series begins Aug. 18, students from Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Health Sciences will once again help to provide urgent and emergency health care.

Forty-four students pursuing careers as paramedics and physician assistants will lend a hand and gain valuable experience during the 11-day championship that draws thousands of spectators.

“The Little League World Series welcomes diverse players and guests from around the world, and we are so fortunate to be able to provide such a wonderful opportunity for our PA and paramedic students so close to campus,” said Edward A. Henninger, dean of the college’s School of Health Sciences.

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Physician Assistant Honored With Alumni Achievement Award

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour (left) presents the Alumni Achievement Award to Megan E. Wright, of Hummelstown.

A physician assistant at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center received the Alumni Achievement Award at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Summer 2016 commencement ceremonies, held Aug. 6 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

Megan E. Wright, a 2012 graduate of the college’s physician assistant program, is employed as a physician assistant in Hershey’s Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation department. She’s been engaged in an effort to establish a new consult service for the department and also serves on the Advanced Practice Council, which represents more than 300 physician assistants and nurse practitioners throughout the Penn State Hershey Health system.

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Health Sciences Students Learn From One Another in Simulations

During a three-day set of emergency simulations that involved 320 Penn College students, Timothy F. Schwartzer (in hat), an emergency medical services student from Bensalem, explains to students in other health sciences majors how paramedics would begin treatment for a patient – played by a volunteer actor – who had fallen from a second-floor balcony.

Because a patient experiencing a health emergency will likely be cared for by many health care professionals with differing specialties, Pennsylvania College of Technology has taken an active approach to ensure that students understand the roles and collaboration necessary on a health care team.

The college’s School of Health Sciences took part in two recent events that involved more than 400 students in mock patient cases on its campus.

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Penn College Appoints Director of Physician Assistant Program

Lynn Eckrote

Lynn Eckrote has been named director of the Physician Assistant Program at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Eckrote, who had served as a clinical director before being named interim director of the program, began her employment at Penn College in 2014.

“The same high level of enthusiasm, collaboration, dedication and professionalism Lynn brought to our clinical directorship will translate well in her new role as program director,” said Edward A. Henninger, dean of the college’s School of Health Sciences. “We fully expect that Lynn will make a positive and lasting impact on the program’s mission of producing high-quality health professionals who contribute effective, evidence-based and compassionate care.”

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TV Segment Shares College’s Responsiveness to Workforce Needs

"Stay Tuned" to WVIA-TV

Penn College’s success in answering the skilled demands of industry will be featured in the next episode of WVIA-TV’s “Stay Tuned,” premiering at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The recurring series continues the public television station’s goal to highlight those making a difference in meeting critical community needs. “Television viewers often are bombarded with ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ news stories. WVIA’s ‘Stay Tuned’ reminds us that great people do great things every day in our region,” said Elaine J. Lambert, special assistant to the president for creative development and public relations. “It is an honor for Penn College to be featured in this episode.” Interviewed in the 10-minute segment are Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development; Kirk M. Cantor, professor of plastics technology; Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager, Thermoforming Center of Excellence; Alison A. Diehl, director, National Sustainable Structures Center; Ryan L. Newman, a former technician with the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center (who has since accepted employment in Louisiana); and students Madison T. Powell, of Linden (plastics), Eric M. Danz, of Hershey, and Kyle D. Bomboy, of Unityville (both physician assistant).

Treatment, Triage and Tenderness

Dr. Guy A. Giordano (left) says that Hassan was the sickest patient at the Ebola Treatment Unit to survive. Giordano is a family physician in Williamsport and a part-time instructor in the college's Physician Assistant Program.

From the Winter 2015 One College Avenue: In Sierra Leone, a part-time member of the physician assistant faculty lent his skill to help in an Ebola Treatment Unit. “Those patients were suffering terribly, and they bore their suffering with quiet patience,” recalls Dr. Guy A. Giordano. Read “Treatment, Triage and Tenderness.”

Read the 2014-15 Annual Report Edition of One College Avenue

Winter 2015/Annual Report cover

The Winter 2015/Annual Report issue of One College Avenue, Penn College’s official magazine, is on its way to mailboxes. You can also read it online or pick up a copy in building lobbies across campus. In this issue: The president looks forward with confidence to 2020; industrial and human factors design students complete a product redesign for an industry giant; a part-time physician assistant faculty member recalls his volunteer time in an Ebola clinic. Plus many highlights from 2014-15. Visit to share stories and leave your comments.

PA Students Add to Health Services’ Flu-Fighting Arsenal

Savanna R. Stauffer, a physician assistant student from Ephrata, draws a dose of the vaccine into a syringe.

PA student Bryce A. Petersheim, of Birdsboro, administers a flu shot to Francis J. Quigley, an engineering design technology student from Coatesville.

After a reportedly pain-free injection, physician assistant student Jessica A. Gmerek, of Bellefonte, applies an adhesive bandage to Katelin E. Thompson, an occupational therapy assistant major from Osceola Mills.

Physician assistant students joined the crew of School of Health Sciences students who are putting their education to use for the Penn College community this week, helping to administer flu shots in College Health Services. Nursing students are also taking shifts providing the vaccines, which are available through 4 p.m. Monday and from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. College Health Services, on the first floor of the Bush Campus Center, is providing the shots to Penn College students, employees and their spouses and dependents (9 years and older) at a cost of $15.

College Volunteers in Behind-the-Scenes Report on LLB Series

Trueman (left) and Finkelstein-Diaz in WNEP report

Newswatch 16’s Kristina Papa incorporated volunteers from Penn College’s School of Health Sciences in her Tuesday report on preparations for the Little League Baseball World Series. The WNEP multimedia journalist recently interviewed Mark A. Trueman, director of paramedic technology programs; and emergency medical services and paramedic technician students Louis J. Mazzante IV, of Montoursville, and Adam N. Finkelstein-Diaz, of Stroudsburg. Series play begins in South Williamsport on Thursday, the day after the college hosts a cookout for the 16 bracketed teams before the Grand Slam Parade down West Fourth Street.

Students to Stand Ready to Help at International Athletics Event

A large contingent of Pennsylvania College of Technology students is set to assist the Little League Baseball World Series medical team when sports fans around the world focus on Williamsport in late August.

Students studying to become dental hygienists, paramedics and physician assistants will lend their hands and gain valuable experience during the 11-day championship that draws 16 teams and thousands of fans to the Little League Baseball World Series Complex, just a few miles from Penn College’s main campus.

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Diagnosis: Future – Campers Examine Potential Health Careers

Bambi A. Hawkins, learning laboratory coordinator for the paramedic program, shows a camper proper hand placement to create a “seal” when using a bag valve mask to provide oxygen.

An important part of a fitness assessment, campers record one another’s blood pressure in the exercise science major.

A camper uses a laparoscopic camera and surgical tools in the surgical technology lab.

With assistance from a Penn College student, a camper positions radiographic equipment as she prepares to X-ray her smartphone.

A camper shows the results of her work in the dental hygiene lab: a model of her teeth.

Penn College’s School of Health Sciences was the destination for 30 high schoolers attending Health Careers Camp, a joint, two-day program of the college and Susquehanna Health. The camp offers students a chance to explore careers in the health care field. Students entering grades nine to 12 attended hands-on workshops Wednesday and Thursday in the college’s exercise science, paramedic technology, occupational therapy assistant, physician assistant, nursing, radiography, dental hygiene and surgical technology majors. To round out their experience, they toured Susquehanna Health’s Williamsport Hospital.