Welcome to the PA Student Corner! This page is for student members of the AKAPA to share pictures and stories of student experiences. 

Student Corner Photos

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Student Stories & Profiles

Nome, Alaska - Family Practice Rotation
Megan Kumm, PA-S
MEDEX Class 7
Anchorage, Alaska

During my four-month family practice preceptorship as a physician assistant student, I had the privilege to learn in one of Alaska’s rural hub communities. Norton Sound Regional Hospital is located in Nome, a town located on the southern coast of the Seward Peninsula in western Alaska. The region covers 23,088 square miles, which in 2006 totaled a patient population of 7,406 Alaska Natives. Today, NSHC serves 15 villages with populations ranging from 150 to 750. Many villages do not have running water and the people rely on a subsistence lifestyle. There are no roads that lead to Nome or the villages the hospital serves. Healthcare in many cases is dependent on weather, because access to each location is achieved via airplane.

While working in Nome, I had the opportunity to fly to St. Lawrence Island to practice medicine with a supervising physician in the villages located there: Savoonga and Gambell. On the flight to Gambell I could see Russia’s coast out of my window! While in the villages, we stayed in the clinic either on a bunk-bed, if present, or on a sleeping pad in one of the exam rooms. We brought our own food and water due to the limited supply (and cost) of food in the villages. Transportation was achieved via fourwheeler or walking as there are very few, if any, cars located on the island. READ MORE

More Student Stories and Profiles

Molokai, Hawaii – Underserved rotation
Kathryn Albert, PA-S
MEDEX Class 7
Anchorage, Alaska

The island of Molokai. This is “old Hawaii.” An island of about 8000 people, the majority Native Hawaiians. This is a place that is unlike the other islands. There are no traffic lights, or big fancy hotels. No chain restaurants or box stores. Feral chickens and deer roam the island, and the “ohana” runs strong throughout this culture. This is also a place where people who suffered from leprosy, otherwise known as Hansen’s disease were banished to, and kept isolated until they passed. The island has endured tragedies and experienced devastation, but is rich with the people and their traditions, who love and respect the land and their home.

This is the place I was fortunate enough to visit and work during my underserved rotation in February.

On the island there is one small hospital, a community health center, and outpatient clinic shared by several providers. The VA Pacific Islands Health Care System leases space in the outpatient clinic to serve the Veterans residing on Molokai. This is a fairly new addition to the community. Previously, Veterans had to travel to other larger, better equipped facilities on the other islands to receive care, which for many presented certain challenges. The physician who treats these patients is a former PA, who in her prime, traveled extensively to remote villages in rural Alaska providing medical services to many communities. She later returned to school, became a physician, and now practices in internal medicine. READ MORE

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