September 21, 2021
Tufts University PA Student Society Reaches Out to Community
April 15, 2019
By Sarah Blugis
In 2018, members of the Tufts University School of Medicine PA Program Class of 2020 set out with an important goal: to educate the community about the PA profession, and establish a presence as a respected, dedicated program. And they did it.
The Tufts University Physician Assistant Student Society (TUPASS) was selected as the 2019 Outstanding Student Society for service to the profession in public education and advocacy, public service and outreach, promotion of diversity, and professional involvement.
Jessica Gaudiosi, TUPASS president for the Class of 2020, presided over the society’s successful year and will accept the award on behalf of TUPASS in Denver at AAPA 2019 this May. The award, Gaudiosi says, “is a testament to the impressive, caring students attending Tufts PA Program.”
The society had a busy year: They lobbied for PAs to be included as a profession in legislative bills, hosted Clinical Associates from South Africa, and organized the first Tufts PA Program Service of Thanks and Celebration of Life to honor those who gave their bodies to science.
TUPASS also raised money for and volunteered at charitable organizations throughout New England, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research and the Sharewood Project, a free health education program that provides limited healthcare services to underserved individuals.
“These events truly enabled our class to form a strong bond and build relationships that will last forever,” Gaudiosi says.
As for their commitment to advancing awareness of the PA profession, TUPASS made sure their projects were both educational and fun. They learned that many younger students weren’t aware of the PA profession as an option, and so they participated in high school and college pre-health panels to educate students about the path to becoming a PA.
And as part of PA Week, they held a bake sale to raise money for the ALS Association – but it wasn’t just a bake sale. Customers at the bake sale were invited to play “PA Profession Trivia,” testing their knowledge on the history of the PA profession and the Tufts PA Program.
Throughout the year, members of TUPASS learned that some patients, clinical providers, and legislators don’t understand the role of PAs in healthcare – but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching out to their community.
“The PA profession is a reputable, rewarding career, and hopefully as we gain the trust of patients and the healthcare community, the question ‘What is a PA?’ will cease to exist,” Gaudiosi says. “We can handle it.”