September 21, 2021
Victoria Ho Is the Co-Founder of an LGBT Pre-PA Support Group
May 26, 2021
By Sarah Blugis
Victoria Ho, a PA student in her clinical year at Sacred Heart University and AAPA’s 2021 PA Student of the Year, set out to become a PA in order to make a difference. During her time as a student, she has been committed to social justice and increasing the diversity of the profession so that it better reflects the patient population.
“As a child of Asian-American immigrant parents, I have seen firsthand the difficulties my family faces when trying to find providers that look like our family, speak our language, and understand our culture,” Ho says. “My decision to become a PA not only comes from my experiences with my family, but the ability to make a difference as an Asian-American provider in the medical field.”
The PA Student of the Year Award honors a PA student who furthers the image of PAs and PA students; gives self-sacrificing time and effort in service to community; demonstrates leadership and professionalism; and exemplifies the PA profession’s philosophy of providing accessible and quality healthcare and/or health education.
During her time in PA school, Ho has dedicated time and effort to educating others about social justice. Ho was selected as a recipient of the LBGT PA Caucus Student Leader Fellowship Award in 2020. In this one-year role she has served as a panelist for multiple presentations, including “Teaching Sexual & Gender Minority (SGM) Content in the PA education” and “It Takes a Village: Leveraging Diverse Skill Sets for LGBTQ+ Health Advocacy” helping to educate other providers, educators and student on LGBT health.
For her fellowship project, Ho co-founded an LGBTQIA+ Pre-PA support group. Created with the mission of diversifying the PA profession, the group has worked to increase awareness of the profession and the acceptance rate of LGBTQIA+-identifying PA students.
Ho says that she has found a community with other PAs and PA students, who are helping her to navigate school and shape her professional career. “I plan to give back to diverse PA students through similar outlets when I become a PA,” she says. “My background has motivated me to find ways to make the PA profession a more inclusive and welcoming place for everyone.”
Those who work closely with Ho describe her as an advocate passionate about intersectionality, patient quality of care, and advancing healthcare for minority and marginalized patients.
“The most rewarding aspect of being a part of the PA profession is the lasting impact we can have on our patients,” Ho says. “Being able to be there for our patients, both in treating their medical conditions and advocating on their behalf, makes this one of the most rewarding aspects of the profession.”
Beyond her work in the LGBTQIA+ community, Ho is also a part of the PA Diversity Mentorship Program, serves as a team leader for the Sacred heart University Medical Reserve Corps, and is a member of Physician Assistant Students for Leadership, Equity, Anti-Racism, and Diversity.
Throughout her time as PA student, Ho has also demonstrated leadership and professionalism through her professional involvement. She is a member of the African Heritage Physician Assistant Caucus, GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, the Association of Physician Assistants in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the LBGT Physician Assistant Caucus, and the Connecticut Academy of PAs. In March 2021, Ho attended the virtual AAPA Leadership and Advocacy Submit, representing her home state of Connecticut.
The journey to become and succeed as a PA student has not always been an easy one, Ho says. “It has consisted of self-doubt about whether I will be a good clinician and if this was the correct career path for me. This award not only negates those self-doubts and insecurities, but shows that through hard work and being oneself, one can accomplish anything.”