LAKEWOOD, CO -- The Red Rocks Community College physician assistant (PA) program lauded its 12th graduating class on August 19. Diplomas were awarded to the 30 graduating students. As well, 30 first-year PA students were promoted to their clinical year with a traditional white-coat ceremony while 30 new students were welcomed to the program.
Several exceptional PA students were recognized at graduation. Valerie Lobato earned the Mission Award by exemplifying the program’s mission to train competent, compassionate PAs to provide primary care for the medically under-served. Avery Marzulla won the Outstanding Student Award for demonstrating leadership, honesty, integrity, truthfulness, emotional maturity, and adaptability.
Two HRSA full-ride scholarships, named in honor of Colorado rural practitioners, were also awarded. These scholarships will be given to two students every graduation cycle over a five-year period. Amanda Smithers earned the Conrad HRSA Scholarship, named after Wray, CO physician assistant William Conrad. Kate Tuma received the Pimentel HRSA Scholarship, named for Dr. Sacramento Pimentel, who practices in Burlington, CO. Both Mr. Conrad and Dr. Pimentel were in attendance at the ceremony.
Physician assistants provide a full range of medical care under the supervision of a licensed physician. The Red Rocks program, one of two in the state, focuses on training PAs to give primary care to Colorado's under-served elderly, rural, and low-income populations. Students who enter the two-year program are already experienced health care practitioners who want to expand their skills. They come from careers in nursing, physical therapy, emergency services, respiratory therapy, audiology, and many other medical fields. Almost all have a bachelor’s degree and many hold master’s and doctoral degrees.
The holistic health program graduated 11 students on August 13. Program director Ellen Speare presented the students with certificates as instructor Mary Maynard gave each student a rose. Maynard noted that the white roses were symbolic of the purity of the field, and the red roses represented the “blood, sweat, and tears” that the students endured while learning. Students from the program are qualified to start or join a practice in wellness fields such as aromatherapy, herbology, reflexology, acupuncture, and wellness counseling. In addition to the certificate program, RRCC offers an associate of arts degree in holistic health that is transferrable to four-year metro area schools.
About RRCC: Red Rocks Community College has delivered quality education to students of all ages and backgrounds since 1969. RRCC offers more than 300 programs culminating in a two-year degree or professional certificate and serve over 14,000 students per year at two campus locations in Lakewood and Arvada. For more information on the physician's assistant program, please visit www.rrcc.edu/pa. For further information concerning the holistic health certificate, see /www.rrcc.edu/health/holcert.html.