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Physician Assistant Studies Student Named a Prestigious NHSC Scholar

By Lauren Whetzel-Siburkis

Maxi DrakopoulosPhysician assistant studies student Maxi Drakopoulos PA'16 describes herself as a self-motivated and hardworking woman who aspires to become a primary care provider in an underserved area. And her work ethic has paid off, as she was named as a recipient of the 2014 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Of the more than 1,800 scholarship applicants, Drakopoulos was one of only 192 students designated as scholars this year. All scholarship recipients are enrolled in fully-accredited training programs for physicians (MD or DO), dentists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants. Fewer than 19 percent of this year’s scholarship recipients were enrolled in physician assistant studies programs. 

This highly-competitive federal program covers full tuition costs and living expenses for graduate students who demonstrate an interest in providing primary health care services to families and individuals – primarily in the areas of general medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. In return, NHSC scholars agree to provide one year of service in health professional shortage areas of greatest need for each school year or partial school year of scholarship support received.

The mission of the Department of Health and Human Services is to help improve the health status of the population by providing national leadership in the development, distribution, and retention of a diverse and culturally competent health workforce that provides the highest quality care for all.

The physician assistant studies program at USciences is part of an upsurge of national interest in the physician assistant profession. In fact, USciences received more than 800 applications for 40 spots in its graduate physician assistant studies program for the 2014-15 school year. In only its second year, this graduate program has doubled its size because students realize the demand for healthcare professionals will translate into jobs after graduation.

NHSC logoUSciences also offers an undergraduate physician assistant pre-professional program for students who want to start their journey to becoming a physician assistant directly after high school.

“The physician assistant profession is booming, and students of all ages and healthcare backgrounds are returning to school to become physician assistants,” said Joan Ward MS, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “The flexibility to move into different areas of medicine without additional training also adds to the appeal of this profession.”

Categories: News, Feature Story, Student Profile, Students, Profiles, Proven Everywhere, Awards and Honors, Samson College, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Physician Assistant Studies