Recent PA graduates from Tripler to serve at USAHC-SB
September 14, 2012
HONOLULU -- Tripler Army Medical Center's Interservice Physician Assistant Program Class 10-3 graduated in the chapel, Sept. 7, here.
First Lts. John Ernst, Travis Kaufman, and Felipe Salazar each received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the affiliated academic institution for Tripler's IPAP.
The PA profession has a long history. During the Civil War, the Union Army created a Surgeon Assistant Corps to assist physicians on and off the battle field. The modern PA profession officially began October 6, 1967 when the first PA class of four students graduated from Duke University in Durham, N.C.
The graduates, who were promoted from officer candidates to first lieutenants during the ceremony, will all be relocating from Tripler to practice at U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks.
Maj. Jude Abadie, chief, Core Laboratory, TAMC, was invited to be the keynote speaker for the ceremony. From 2009-2011, Abadie served as the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School branch chief of Chemistry and course instructor for the IPAP Biochemistry and Clinical Laboratory Medicine course.
"I am especially honored that I was invited to be the guest speaker by John, Travis and Felipe because they had to listen to me pontificate ad nauseam for an entire trimester at the AMEDD Center and School (in IPAP Phase I)," Abadie said jokingly. "My parting wish for you is that you continue to develop your own professional and personal stories on passion, perspective and leadership, so that you gain confidence to guide your successes not only through your professional career but through your personal lives as well."
As part of the ceremony, the graduates were honored with a recently adopted tradition where new PAs are presented a white coat by a credentialed provider as a symbol of the profession's commitment to professionalism, responsibility and humanism. White coats have been the most common symbol of physicians since 1889.
To close out the ceremony, IPAP graduates, who are asked to nominate an educator for the Capt. Sean Grimes, PA-C, Outstanding Preceptor Award, presented Jun Eligino, certified physician assistant, Internal Medicine Clinic, TAMC, with the award.
Grimes, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, was the first PA killed in action during the overseas contingency operations. The award was created to honor the sacrifices he made and recognize the sacrifices made by those involved in the training of physician assistants.
"I have had a lot of great practitioners, mentors and preceptors along the way and what they don't tell you is the amount of emotions that are invested in these students," Eligino said. "All the emotions are offset when you see (their accomplishments) … it makes being a preceptor worth it."