In Focus: Mordechai (Mike) Sacks
Congratulations on obtaining a position on the NYSSPA Board of Directors! Tell us about this role.
I was inspired to run for this position after having a conversation with Brendan Riordan, a graduate of the Hofstra PA Program class of 2013 and previous student director. As a NYSSPA student director, I will sit on the Board of Directors for NYSSPA and represent the students of New York State. I will have the opportunity to work alongside other board members and promote student activity in NYSSPA and in PA programs across New York State. This is something I believe is imperative to the future growth of the profession.
What attracted you to Hofstra University’s Physician Assistant program?
Simply put--the faculty. If programs were ranked by quality of faculty and student satisfaction, I’m convinced Hofstra would be at the very top. Like most pre-PA students, I had heard about how difficult it would be to get into PA school, so I applied to every school in the area. To my surprise, I was accepted into several--and then discovered how truly difficult it was to choose between them. After several weeks of being unable to decide, I sought out current students from each school to try to discover the real pros and cons of their respective programs. I soon knew I was going to Hofstra, because each person I spoke to independently told me of the incredible faculty that went to any length to work with the students. It wasn’t a difficult choice.
What led you to be interested in this field?
I was always interested in doing something that offered the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. I had been considering medical school, PA school, and dental school, and ultimately the PA field won me over. Physicians choose a specialty very early in their careers and wind up spending the rest of their lives in it, while PA’s can change fields freely and easily as they choose. The opportunity to do many jobs rather than just one was far too appealing to pass up.
Tell us about what phase of the program you are currently in and your experiences in that phase.
I’m currently in the didactic phase of my education and admittedly it isn’t easy—but I love it! I’m truly fascinated by the things I learn, which makes it very easy to walk into the building each day. On the first day of school, I sat down nervously in a room with 50 strangers seated before half a dozen faculty members as they introduced us to the next two and a half years of our lives. Since then, those same faculty members have become my mentors and those classmates have become my best friends—I wouldn’t trade this for anything!
What opportunities did you take advantage of at Hofstra?
Hofstra’s involvement with the local and national constituent organizations (AAPA and NYSSPA) appealed to me since that initial program orientation. When they announced that we would be electing classmates to be officers of the Student Academy of the AAPA (SAAAPA) I decided to run for president. Since being elected, I’ve had the opportunity to do a great deal of good; almost entirely because I have many wonderful, giving, and hardworking classmates. Along with the other officers and members of SAAAPA, we have collected over 900 toys benefiting Toys for Tots, 800 food items benefiting Meals on Wheels, hundreds of coats which were donated to a local homeless shelter, and we’re currently in the process of collecting what we hope to be thousands of books for World Wide Book Drive. We have also had the opportunity to spend time working with underserved children in the area, which above all else remains my favorite experience at Hofstra.
Describe your experience working and studying with faculty in the Department of Physician Assistant studies
The faculty here at Hofstra is truly in a class of its own. I had heard that the professors of the PA program go above and beyond for the students, but it’s truly something you need to experience to understand. I could never full express my experiences in words, but I know that anytime I need absolutely anything at all, I have a whole host of people I could call upon at Hofstra.