ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Physician Assistant Education Association presented Winn Army Community Hospital with its Partnership Award at PAEA’s recent Annual Education Forum in New Orleans.
The Partnership Award honors an individual or institution such as a preceptor or a local organization, outside of formal physician assistant program circles, that has made an outstanding contribution to excellence in PA education.
In nominating Winn for this year’s Partnership Award, John J. Burns III, PA program director at South University in Savannah, said Winn has been a partner with the university for more than 10 years, training PA students in the disciplines of general surgery, internal medicine, emergency medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology.
Fort Stewart is home to the 3rd Infantry Division, which has had numerous deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and other regions around the world. Yet, Burns said, the caliber of WACH’s precepting program has remained consistently high despite the 3rd Infantry Divsion’s multiple deployments.
“Since Sept. 11, 2001, the people who work at these health-care facilities have, like their colleagues on the front lines, been asked to go above and beyond the call of duty,” Burns said. “In that time, they could have restricted or eliminated training of nonmilitary students. However, they kept taking students and providing high quality professional training.”
Patricia Emfinger, a 2001 graduate of the PA program and now clinical coordinator of South University’s Savannah program, said Winn has provided PA students with an opportunity to receive world-class clinical training.
“Many of our students request rotations at this exceptional facility, even though it may mean two hours of commuting daily,” she said.
Recounting her own experience with Winn, she recalled being placed at a troop medical clinic several miles from the main hospital with an active-duty doctor as her preceptor.
“He encouraged me when I was uncertain, patted me on the back when I came up with the proper diagnosis. … He taught me the art of truly caring for patients,” she said.