Primary Care and Precepting: Spotlight on the 2023 William H. Marquardt Fellows

Fellowship applications are now open for 2024!

July 2, 2024

The William H. Marquardt Community Health Access Fellowship is named after its benefactor and past AAPA president, William H. Marquardt, MA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA, a long-time advocate for improving access to primary and preventive healthcare services.

The William H. Marquardt Fellowship, first awarded in 2019, recognizes outstanding PAs who serve in mentoring and/or precepting roles and are dedicated to promoting accessible primary and preventive healthcare amongst underserved populations. Both self-nominations and third-party nominations are accepted.

[Applications for the 2024 Fellowship are open through July 15. Apply today!]

Misty Fils, MS, PA-C

In 2023, the PA Foundation awarded the William H. Marquardt Fellowship to PAs Misty Fils, Brandon Guth, Daisy Rivera, and Sampath Wijesinghe. The short summaries below only encompass a fraction of their achievements but provide insight on the impactful work they are doing within their communities.

Misty Fils, MS, PA-C, is an assistant professor and director of didactic education at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science’s PA Program, in Chicago, Illinois. She is passionate about equity and representation in medicine, and strives to create an academic environment where all learners can be their authentic selves.

Fils also serves as the assistant medical director at the Interprofessional Community Clinic, the university’s student-led free clinic, where she cares for underserved members of the Lake County community. As a mentor to future clinicians from multiple professions, Misty works to lead by her example of proudly providing high-quality, patient-centered care that empowers those who may be marginalized or overlooked.

Brandon Guth, PA-C

Brandon Guth, PA-C, is a PA at Reid Medical Associates in Richmond, Indiana, and previously worked as a primary care provider at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), providing care to a high percentage of Medicaid, Medicare, and self-pay patients. At this FQHC, Guth started the first hepatitis C treatment program at a primary care office in Wayne County, Indiana.

Currently, he sees around 50% Medicare/Medicaid patients daily and is bringing opioid use disorder treatment and hepatitis C treatment at the primary care level to the largest hospital organization in his county. His goal is to have more family medicine providers interested and trained in these areas.

“There is not often recognition for work done in these environments and it is very exciting and humbling to be given this award. It helps ignite me further to continue my work in the underserved community,” said Guth, who precepts PA students daily and enjoys being able to demonstrate that primary care PAs are fully capable of treating these conditions. “It is exciting to be surrounded and recognized along with other fellows who are working to help those who need it.”

Daisy Rivera, PA-C, AAHIVS

Daisy Rivera, PA-C, AAHIVS, is a bilingual PA based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with over 22 years of practice, and has been at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in the immunology department for over 16 years. Ever since she was a child accompanying her mother to medical appointments, she noticed a need for a more diverse healthcare workforce, and adamantly strives to eliminate barriers to care and provide patients with a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive experience.

“My goal is to have a diversified PA workforce with providers that look like, think like, and live like the patient population they serve and those underserved and underrepresented,” said Rivera, who serves on the hospital’s DEI Council, co-chairs the LGBTQIA+ initiative, and sits on the Population Health Committee. She and her team are dedicated to making an inclusive environment for all their patients. So far, they have been able to provide security and staff with tablets equipped with translation apps, update signage around the hospital campus to include multiple languages, and advocate for families in the community to serve as representatives within the hospital community advisory board.

As a preceptor, she teaches her students the importance of advocating for patients and serves as a model for providing non-judgmental, compassionate, and comprehensive patient care. “Understanding the intersectionality and impact of social determinants of health is the most powerful way to not only advocate for but empower your patients.”

Rivera is a proud member of PAs for Latino Health and Asociados Médicos de Puerto Rico, and volunteers with organizations within her community, such as Lighthouse and Taller Puertorriqueño (also known as El Corazón Cultural del Barrio). She says these community efforts not only allow her to give back, but also make her a better provider. “Let us have the voices of our profession, communities, and minorities heard, and work on ending health disparities and inequities.”

Sampath Wijesinghe, DHSc, PA-C, AAHIVS

Sampath “Sam” Wijesinghe, DHSc, PA-C, AAHIVS, is a clinical associate professor and the director of career development at Stanford School of Medicine’s MSPA program and committed to primary care medicine in underserved areas of Central Valley, California. As a CDC Clinical Ambassador, Wijesinghe promotes the “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign and encourages clinicians to engage in HIV medicine. He was a National Health Service Corp Scholar and started practicing in underserved communities in 2010. As an educator and clinical preceptor, he has strong passion for shaping the next generation of PAs.

“I seize the opportunity to share the rewarding and meaningful experiences I’ve gained working in underserved areas,” Wijesinghe said. “I speak candidly about the pros and cons and explain my reasons for continuing to practice in these regions. I genuinely enjoy working in underserved areas and find the experience immensely rewarding.”

Wijesinghe is a sought-after speaker and lecturer at national and state conferences and has contributed to medical literature with articles in peer-reviewed journals, chapters in medical textbooks, and a book called “101 Primary Care Case Studies.” He inspires both current and aspiring clinicians to get involved in underserved areas, contributing to solutions for healthcare disparities.

“Consider why you want to continue working in underserved communities and how you can offer further assistance. If you are determined to continue working in these areas and helping those in need, I hope you will apply for and be awarded the fellowship. Through this fellowship, I trust you will continue to positively impact many people’s lives.”

Applications are open – apply today!
Applications for the 2024 William H. Marquardt Community Health Access Fellowship are open through July 15. If you or someone you know meet the program requirements, please submit your application through the PA Foundation. Four awards in the amount of $2,500 will be distributed.

Caroline Pierce is Assistant Executive Director for the PA Foundation and can be reached at [email protected].

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