Physician Assistant Program

Conversations with My Granddad

My Granddad is a 93 year old retired internal medicine physician who lives on a farm in the Ozarks. The other day I gave him a call to catch up and see how things were going down in ole’ West Plains, Missouri. He is always very interested in how I am doing in school, especially now that I am in PA school. As much as I have tried to explain to him the role of … Read More

I can barely touch my knees let alone my toes

To paint you a quick picture of my elastic limits and vestibular abilities, with my legs straight, I can barely touch my knees let alone my toes, and when I try, I usually fall over. So, when I signed up for the free yoga class that Student Health was sponsoring, I giggled to myself. It was scheduled for this last Friday, right after the sweet release of final tests before this utterly necessary 2 week … Read More


A few days before the start date, my current rotation was switched from Surgery in Bend, OR to Women’s Health in Portland. I had been mentally preparing myself for rigors of the OR – brushing up on anatomy, thinking through the steps of a cholecystectomy, reviewing sterile technique. When I found out I would be heading to an OB/GYN clinic, I felt a bit nervous. Open wounds, blood, ventilators – these are all elements of … Read More

The day we survived anatomy

Now, we’ve all had some pretty important days in our lives, but the PAS-1s will agree that today was right up near the top. What single event could bring together a class of 37?  Three simple words: Last. Anatomy. Test. The crazy thing about anatomy is that it goes beyond our little class of 37. The first day of anatomy lecture (waaaaay back in August) was an interesting experience. We PA students had grown comfortable … Read More

A Different Perspective

“Conceptual knowledge is not enough… you must have the conviction that comes from personal experience.” – quote from The Joy of Living, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche You learn medicine during the first year of PA school from a didactic approach: System after system, disease state after disease state, diagnostic tools, medical therapies, interventions, complications… so many words and pictures. Most of your time is spent in the classroom. In real life, medicine is not linear and … Read More


Yes, Glee Club. No, not the TV show, but still a glee club. About half way through this fall quarter of burying my head in anatomy, desperately trying to stay above water in clinical medicine, and veeery slowly reasoning my way through tutorial cases, I realized that I was in desperate need of some therapy. Any kind of therapy. I needed an outlet of some sort. Unbeknownst to me, at the same time, one of … Read More


I’m currently finishing up my Community Medicine rotation in Scappoose, OR. The town reminds me a bit of where I grew up – small, close-knit community. Here, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in chronic disease management including diabetes and hypertension care, as well as treat acute illnesses and injuries. I have found Family Medicine to be broad, intellectually stimulating, and incredibly fulfilling. As a prior ED tech, I’d never had the opportunity to … Read More

Call me crazy!

My girlfriend (Ashley) thinks I’m crazy. I personally think she took a little long to notice. I guess recently she has had a little more reason to think so. The first thing I did was start physician assistant school. I’m finding out that this in itself was a little crazy but definitely necessary. However, it functioned as the crack in the damn of my sanity. The next thing I did when I got here was … Read More

A unique opportunity in rural medicine

For the past four weeks I have been living in Pendleton, Oregon – a town known for its grand rodeos, wool factory, and nice people. I’m completing a rotation in women’s health with one of three full-time OB/Gyn doctors serving the better part of Umatilla county. This includes 11 communities outside of Pendleton yielding a population of roughly 35,000 women seeking medical care. As you might expect, the schedule is tireless. My preceptor and I … Read More

It’s all downhill from here…. right?

We’ve officially passed the halfway point in anatomy and the Thanksgiving countdown has begun! Unfortunately, our hardest test is yet to come (or so we hear…). After a successful anatomy block II exam last week, our class was able to relax a bit this weekend. We had a group of first-year students representing our program at the OSPA fall conference and another group ran the Portland Marathon! We are so proud of our runners! They … Read More



Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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