Suit up for the future


EDINBURG — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s 52 new Physician Assistant Studies students were selected from among hundreds of top candidates

And on Friday, university officials challenged them to use what they learn to serve their communities.

The UTRGV Department of Physician Assistant Studies, or PA, had its White Coat Ceremony on the Edinburg campus. Faculty members cloaked each student, as family and other loved ones cheered and snapped photos.

The students each received an Apple iPad, which they will use extensively throughout their studies.

For this latest cohort, UTRGV received more than 1,400 applications. About 800 of those were viable candidates for the PA program. Of the 800, the program admitted 50, and gained two more through an agreement with Howard University.

Frank Ambriz, clinical associate professor and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, told a crowded auditorium about the importance of paying it forward.

Previous cohorts have participated in physicals for student athletes at two school districts and community health fairs, he said. And in those community-related activities, the PA students and faculty found that there were children in their early teens who had never visited a doctor before.

“We hope our students have a kind heart, a compassionate heart, a giving heart, and if you don’t have that in your heart, you have a heart condition that is chronically … unable to be treated,” he said.

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