Student Corner: Lauren White chooses PA profession for connections

Physician Assistant Program – School of Health Professions – Baylor College of Medicine

After spending seven years practicing law, Lauren White wanted to pursue a career where she could have a closer connection with people.

The Wichita Falls, Tex. Native attended Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Al. and worked in the risk management and legal departments at Regions Bank, supporting consumer credit card, prepaid card and debit card product management.

She took a passion for advocacy work as she began training as a physician assistant.

Lauren White chose the Physician Assistant Program after working in law.

Lauren White chose the Physician Assistant Program after working in law.

“I very much felt connected to still trying to advocate for patients and for people in the PA profession,” White said. “I was active in the American Bar Association and the Alabama Bar Association and I feel like those types of advocacy programs and organizations are important for people to be involved in.”

Now a second-year student in the School of Health Professions Physician Assistant Program, White recently attended the Physician Assistant Education Association Student Health Policy Fellowship Sept. 12-14. The fellowship is available to a small group of physician assistant students from across the country who want to make an impact on the healthcare system, the physician assistant profession and physician assistant education.

The fellowship included a three-day intensive virtual workshop where fellows learned about advocacy and policymaking processes. The group heard from physician assistants, lawyers and lobbyists and learned about advocacy at both the state and federal level. They then had an opportunity to speak with legislative staff for their state representatives.

As the only physician assistant student fellow from Texas, White took the opportunity to represent the group as she spoke with the legislative staff for U.S. Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Congressman Al Green. She spoke on the proposed legislation to help increase the number of PAs, making sure that PAs have access to clinical sites during school and diversifying the incoming PA classes. The workshop served as a reminder to White that advocacy is something anyone can do at any stage of their career.

“I think advocacy is something that is innately engrained in me so I will continue to do advocacy work in the PA profession, for my future patients and for myself,” she said.

The final phase of the fellowship involves a year-long project that focuses on the core pillars of the organization: advocacy, leadership and PAs in the healthcare environment.

By Dipali Pathak

Baylor College of Medicine recognizes the importance of physician assistants during National PA Week.