Allied Health students celebrate new beginnings

Students in BCM’s School of Allied Health Sciences are celebrating not just the new year but also the launch of their professional careers after participating in commencement last month.

The annual School of Allied Health Sciences Commencement was held Saturday, Dec. 7, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Master of Science degrees were conferred by Dr. Paul Klotman, BCM president and CEO, to 35 physician assistant students and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees to 16 nurse anesthesia students.

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The Commencement address was given by Dr. Alfred Sadler, president of the Physician Assistant History Society Board of Trustees and co-author of “The Physician Assistant: An Illustrated History.” Dr. David Holcomb, dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences, presided at the ceremony.

A number of awards were presented to students at Commencement:

Cassandra Mora received the Lewis A. Leavitt Award as the physician assistant student with the highest academic record of achievement.

Valerie DeGregorio received the Henry D. McIntosh Award as the student who achieved the highest degree of academic excellence and service and who best exemplified the concept of the physician assistant.

Megan Chen received the Agatha Hodgins Memorial Award as the outstanding graduate who, based on academic achievement and clinical performance, demonstrated the dedication and enthusiasm that best symbolize the qualities desired in a nurse anesthetist.

Kimberly Pruett received the John F. Garde Distinguished Graduate Award. The award is presented annually to a post-masters DNP graduate who exemplifies outstanding professional vision, leadership, and accomplishment.

Allied Health Awards Ceremony

Additional honors were presented at the Allied Health Awards Ceremony, held Dec. 6 in Cullen Auditorium.

Alumni Association Lehmann Outstanding Student Award

The Baylor College of Medicine Office of Alumni Affairs presented an award to one student from each Allied Health program who demonstrated outstanding leadership in professional and community activities. Kendall Kilgo of the Physician Assistant Program and Hector Piña of the Nurse Anesthesia Program received the 2013 awards.

Physician Assistant Student Award for Excellence in Psychiatry

Katherine Voigt received the award as the physician assistant graduate who, in the opinion of the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, demonstrated outstanding knowledge and skills in the practice of psychiatry.

Nurse Anesthesia Student Awards

Stephen Buchanan received the Nurse Anesthesia Spent Bullet Award for countless and stressful hours providing life-saving care to the victims of violence in the community.

Amy Umnus received the Virginia Apgar Award as the nurse anesthesia graduate that provided outstanding knowledge, skills, motivation, and dependability in obstetrics and gynecologic anesthesia services.

Megan Chen received the Helen Lamb Award as the nurse anesthesia student who achieved the highest scholastic ranking during the didactic phase of the curriculum.

Megan Bullerwell received the Alice Magaw Award as the nurse anesthesia student who achieved the highest scholastic ranking during the clinical phase of the curriculum.

2013 Allied Health Excellence in Teaching Awards

Brant Grundy, CRNA, M.S., assistant professor, Department of Anesthesiology and School of Allied Health Sciences – Chosen by the Nurse Anesthesia Class of 2013

Rachel Davis, CRNA, D.N.P., instructor, Department of Anesthesiology and School of Allied Health Sciences – Chosen by the Nurse Anesthesia Class of 2014

Wendi Stewart, M.S., PA-C, assistant professor, School of Allied Health Sciences – Chosen by the Physician Assistant Class of 2013

Elissa Love, M.S., PA-C, Instructor, School of Allied Health Sciences – Chosen by the Physician Assistant Class of 2014

Achievement Award

The J. David Holcomb Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual’s sustained contribution to allied health education, research, faculty development and scholarship, was presented to Dr. Robert McLaughlin, assistant dean and associate professor of the School of Allied Health Sciences.

Student research day

Allied Health students presented their research projects, a requirement for graduation, at the annual Allied Health Sciences Student Research Day, held Dec. 4. The PA students presented their master’s paper research projects via poster presentations. Twenty-seven judges, chosen from the BCM faculty, critiqued the posters. Each poster was evaluated by three judges.

The first place winner of the 2013 poster competition was Ashley Wilking. She will receive a check for $500 for her research on “Central Nervous System Manifestations in Pediatric Patients with Influenza A H1N1 Infection During the 2009 Pandemic.” Her primary mentor was Dr. Flor Munoz-Rivas, associate professor of pediatrics – infectious disease. Elizabeth Elliott, assistant professor, School of Allied Health Sciences/Department of Pediatrics, was her secondary mentor.

The second place winner was Katie Fracolli, who will receive a check for $250 for her research on “Mucosal Sucrase Activity is Diminished Following Bariatric Roux-en-Y Surgery.” Her primary mentor was Antone Opekun, associate professor of medicine – gastroenterology. Dr. Bruno Chumpitazi, assistant professor of pediatrics – gastroenterology, was her secondary mentor.

Third place winners were Katherine Voigt and Evan Ward. Voigt will receive a check for $100 for her research on “Characterization of Anticoagulation and Antiplatelet Therapy in Pediatric Patients Post-Implantation of HeartMate II® Ventricular Assist Devices.” Her primary mentor was Dr. Lisa Bomgaars, associate professor of pediatrics – hematology/oncology. Elizabeth Elliott was her secondary mentor. Ward will also receive a $100 check for his research on “Use of a Web-based Tracking System to Compare the Clinical Exposures of Physician Assistant Students at Different Preceptor Sites within the Same Rotation at Baylor College of Medicine Between July 2009 and June 2012.” His primary mentor was Carl Fasser, professor, School of Allied Health Sciences. Dr. David Johnson, assistant professor, School of Allied Health Sciences, was his secondary mentor.