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Hofstra University PA Program Students Postpartum Depression Awareness 2021

Hofstra University PA Program Students Postpartum Depression Awareness video was featured on the Postpartum Resource Center of New York's website. May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month around the world. Thank you to our amazing PA students for getting involved by bringing attention to maternal mental health by creating this video and making a difference for Maternal Mental Health Awareness. Featured in video are Hofstra PA Program students: Ivana Lopez, Collen Petrere, Oksana Fostakovska, and Jamie McGovern.

Hofstra University: Students Use Creativity to Educate on Equitable Health for All

During National Public Health Week in April 2021, Hofstra University’s Class of 2022 PA students participated in the 7th Annual Hofstra National Public Health Week Film Competition, which focused on implicit bias and health equality. The students, mentored by Hofstra PA faculty, created videos addressing a range of public health issues such as Black maternal health disparities, the impact of COVID-19 on children living with developmental disabilities, cardiovascular interventions, and more. Two Hofstra PA student teams even took home first and second prize out of 15 competing submissions.

Creative storytelling has long been hailed as a powerful educational tool because it requires students to listen and learn from a new perspective, as was the case at this year’s competition, which brought participants past intellectual knowledge and into the lived experiences of individuals facing health disparities.

More than the baby blues: Aspiring clinicians listen and learn about postpartum depression.

The Osler Society of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell joined forces with the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, and several Zucker School of Medicine student clubs, for an in-depth look at the history of postpartum depression (PPD). The program explored how the medical and support landscape has changed for women in recent years as a result of a grassroots effort led by many survivors who joined forces to gain national attention for PPD while providing much-needed support to other sufferers. These women created a documentary, Dark Side of the Full Moon (released in 2014), which was screened during the March 5, 2019, event at the Zucker School of Medicine.

Postpartum Depression Panel

- Karly Silverman

Didactic-year and research-year students of the Physician Assistant Studies program came together on October 26, 2016, to host a bone marrow drive in conjunction with Hofstra's semiannual blood drive. Be the Match is the largest bone marrow registry in the world, and by joining, donors may have the chance to save the life of a patient battling blood cancer such as leukemia or other marrow diseases. PA students assisted donors in gathering a sample of cells, collected by swabbing the inside of their cheeks, which are then sent to the registry. Although finding a match is rare, running drives like this further increase the chances to help save the lives of people fighting rare blood and marrow diseases around the world.

Bone Marrow Drive

- Megan Dauscher, Class of 2017

For years, Hofstra's faculty and students have been active NYSSPA members. This June, Hofstra's own Mike Scala was elected NYSSPA student director after serving as the Hofstra University SAAAPA state chapter student representative for the past year. After being elected student director, Mike has helped plan the student dance at the annual NYSSPA conference and volunteered at the State Fair in Syracuse, New York to help educate the public about PAs and promote the PA profession. His goals for his position are to increase outreach to high school students, encourage the formation of PA clubs at colleges, plan networking events for current PA programs, and plan inter-program community service events. By doing this, he hopes to carry out the mission of the NYSSPA organization: to improve quality and delivery of health care and promote the Physician Assistant profession in the state of New York.

-Mike Scala, Class of 2017

PA students from Hofstra’s School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies participated in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on October 16. Faculty and students from the didactic, clinical, and research year fundraised over $600 last year to raise awareness for a disease that is close to many of our hearts. The money raised goes on to support breast cancer research, provide information for those affected by breast cancer, and efforts to encourage early detection and prevention. Being active in our community, especially when it involves a cause such as this, is really important to our entire program. As health care providers, we believe it’s important to be involved in well-rounded care for the patients we see, and we believe that starts with raising awareness and showing support for our patients and families however we can. The Hofstra PA program also participated in a walk to support treatment research and awareness for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis over the summer.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

Courtney Pilnick receives Hofstra Hillel Student Leadership Award

Courtney Pilnick
Courtney Pilnick

On May 19, Courtney Pilnick, a student in the Hofstra PA program, was honored by Hofstra Hillel with the Student Leadership Award. Since her first year at Hofstra, Courtney was a leader in Hofstra Hillel, the campus center for Jewish life. Courtney was honored with this award for her leadership in the organization while she was an undergraduate student at Hofstra University. As a first-year student, Courtney joined a small group of students to form a student leadership committee to help grow and strengthen the organization. The following year, she was elected as vice president of communications, and last year she was the executive vice president of the organization where she helped increase the organization's size, planned programs, created a network of several committees, and more. Her efforts and dedication were recognized with the presentation of this award at the Hofstra Hillel Annual Dinner.

Hofstra PA Faculty Present at State and National Conferences – Fall 2015

The New York State Society of Physician Assistants Annual fall CME conference was chaired by faculty members Shannan Ricoy, Mary Banahan, and Christine Zammit. Carina Loscalzo, PA chair and program director, headed up the education committee at the conference. Kelly Porta and Mary Banahan presented 'Remediation Techniques,' Christine Zammit and Shannan Ricoy presented 'PAEA Exams in the PA Curriculum,' and Carina Loscalzo presented 'Challenges in PA Education.'

At the national level, faculty member Mark L'Eplattenier was asked to present 'Remediation Techniques' at the Physician Assistant Education Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA) President Mary Springston presents Hofstra PA Program Director Carina Loscalzo with a plaque for obtaining 100% student NYSSPA membership.


Lobby DayNYSSPA Lobby Day

On April 28, 2014, PA Program Director Carina Loscalzo, joined other members of the New York State Society of Physician Assistants in Albany to meet with legislators for Lobby Day. This is an annual event in which physician assistants advocate for legislation that supports PA practice in New York state.


Hofstra PA Students Advocate on Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill

Samantha Walther, PA-S
Hofstra University Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Class of 2013

This year’s AAPA conference was held in Washington, D.C., from May 25-29. The final day of the conference, known as Capitol Hill Day, was dedicated to PAs and PA students, advocating for PA rights by meeting with their local representatives in Congress and the Senate. The day began with a breakfast at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, followed by the Advocacy Rally on Capitol Hill at Upper Senate Park. Meetings with representatives or their staffers were scheduled throughout the day.

The Hofstra PA program arranged the didactic and clinical year schedules to accommodate students participating in the events of Capitol Hill Day. Many Hofstra students were able to set up meetings with their representatives, including staffers of Rep. Peter King, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. The Hofstra students were accompanied by Mark L’Eplattenier, PA-C, the academic coordinator of the Hofstra PA program. Professor L’Eplattenier flew to Washington, D.C. for the day to show his support for the participating students. During meetings with their representatives, Hofstra PA students focused on issues that act as barriers to care, such as allowing PAs to serve and order hospice care to Medicare patients, allowing PAs to prescribe buprenorphine, and extending Medicaid electronic health records incentive payments to PAs.

Student Representation on the NYSSPA Newsletter Committee

Congratulations to Karly Silverman, Class of 2018, and Megan Dauscher, Class of 2017, who have volunteered to serve on the NYSSPA newsletter committee. Their participation exemplifies student commitment to leadership, community service, and the PA profession. We hope their commitment to service will serve as an example for future students.

Program faculty participate in New York State Society of Physician Assistant (NYSSPA) Education Committee

Program faculty members, Carina Loscalzo and Shannan Ricoy, have become members of the NYSSPA Education Committee. The committee determines the focus for PA educators during the national meeting and designs special tracks so that program faculty throughout the state can meet and discuss current topics that arise within New York state regarding the education of PAs.

Program faculty members chair the fall New York State Society of Physician Assistant (NYSSPA) Conference Committee

Program faculty members, Shannan Ricoy, Christine Zammit, and Mary Banahan, are the co-chairs of the NYSSPA fall conference. The committee focuses on providing a statewide continuing medical education event. Responsibilities include securing lecturers, organizing networking events, and assuring all the logistics associated with conducting a large event are in place.

Hofstra PA Students Visit Hempstead Schools
April 2017, Karly Silverman, Class of 2018

Throughout the second semester of their didactic year, PA students visited 133 classrooms, a total of 2,775 students, in the Hempstead Public School district to educate students on various public health issues that might otherwise not be given much attention. The topics included hygiene, bullying, self-esteem, and nutrition, as well as modifiable risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Each topic was targeted at a certain age group – proper handwashing techniques were presented to kindergarteners through second graders, while limiting the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases later in life was aimed at high school students. Importantly, the subjects were presented to students at an age where a fundamental understanding of these issues could have a tremendous positive effect on their health and well-being for the rest of their lives.

Many students in the Hempstead school district lack the means to maintain a healthy lifestyle that may seem commonplace to other people. For example, at Barack Obama Elementary School, about three-quarters of the students are eligible for free lunch. This means that their families may not have the means necessary to purchase healthy foods for their children, which automatically puts them at a higher risk for developing heart disease and other problems later in life. The goal of these visits was to educate the students on making simple and affordable changes to their lifestyle, such as buying a bottle of water instead of a Coca-Cola or playing outside instead of playing video games.

The lessons were well-received by the students, who were engaged throughout the presentations and seemed to have gained a great deal of knowledge about the variety of topics. This was the third year of participation in this initiative by the Hofstra PA program, with an increasing number of classrooms visited with each subsequent year. This opportunity has proven once again to be a valuable experience for both the students and the instructors and is a tradition that is worth keeping in the years to come.

PA Health students table
PA High School visit
PA students with kids



Hofstra PA Program Holds Spring Clothing Drive

Hofstra PA Program Holds Spring Clothing Drive

- Karly Silverman, Class of 2018

Hofstra’s PA students and faculty gave back to their community this spring by donating clothes, books, and household items to New Ground, an organization that supports homeless veterans and families on Long Island. Along with providing these necessities, New Ground also offers employment counseling, financial literacy, life skills development, reading assistance, and much more to help families break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. This is the PA program's second year hosting this clothing drive for New Ground.


-Karly Silverman, Class of 2018

Hofstra’s PA students helped spread holiday cheer this season by collecting and donating over 100 toys to, less fortunate children in Nassau County. The Toys for Tots drive has been an annual event for Hofstra’s PA program, and they are proud to continue the tradition of serving their community and making children’s holidays a little brighter. The students collected the toys throughout the month of December and donated them to a local drop-off just in time for the children to receive them as gifts for the holidays. Spreading joy throughout the community was extremely gratifying and they hope to participate in a Toys for Tots drive every year.

Hofstra PA Student Thanksgiving Food Drive 2016

Hofstra PA Student Thanksgiving Food Drive 2016

In the spirit of giving, the Hofstra University PA program once again hosted a food drive to benefit the EAC Network, a nonprofit human services agency that feeds the hungry across Long Island and New York City. This year, the initiative collected 420 items. In the past three years, over 1,700 items have been donated.

“One of the PA studies program’s goals is to instill a desire among its students to serve populations with limited access to quality care,” said Karly Silverman ’18, outreach chair for the Hofstra chapter of the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA). “By participating in drives like this every year, we help meet that goal while also serving those in need in our community.”

Animal Shelter – by Heather Leiser

Toys for Tails

Students from Hofstra's Physician Assistant program came together and established the Toys for Tails pet supply drive. They wanted to help the furry friends of the local community by gathering pet food, toys, and cleaning items for nearby animal shelters.

Love Your Melon – by Megan Dauscher

Love your melon

The Hofstra University Physician Assistant Studies program joined the Occupational Therapy program to raise money for the Love Your Melon charity. The goal of this organization is to improve the lives of children battling cancer across the country while raising awareness for childhood cancer and supporting other nonprofit organizations leading the fight against pediatric cancer. With the combined efforts of Hofstra students and faculty, both programs raised over $910 for their organization. Hofstra loves Love Your Melon!



Hofstra PA Students Hold Clothing Drive to Benefit Homeless and Veteran Population in Hempstead

Michael Scala, Class of 2017

Clothing Drive

Throughout January and February, Hofstra University's PA students organized a clothing drive to benefit New Ground – a nonprofit organization that provides social work and educational services to veterans and the homeless population. Since the organization's founding in 1991, they have helped thousands of people break the cycle of poverty with an astounding 80% of their graduates becoming self-sufficient home owners. Our clothing drive efforts focused on providing New Ground with the resources they need to help the homeless and veteran population in the Hempstead area.

Hofstra PA Students in the Hempstead Community

Michael Scala, Class of 2017

Hempstead Schools

For the second year in a row, students from Hofstra University's PA program are presenting various preventive medicine topics in the Hempstead School District. Second-semester students have tailored their instructional material to different age groups and focused each presentation on preventive medicine measures that all children and adolescents can practice. Topics include hand-washing and hygiene, bullying and self-esteem, oral health, exercise, nutrition, safe sex education, and modifiable risk factors for diabetes mellitus and heart disease.

The goal of this project is to educate students of all ages from underserved communities on different public health initiatives that directly affect their well-being. Bullying affects nearly 22% of sixth through 12th graders, and studies show that the rate of reported bullying decreases substantially as a child ages. One group focused their presentation on helping students learn what bullying is, how to prevent it, and how to handle a bullying situation they may experience – if they have not already experienced one. Another group developed an interactive hand-washing activity for pre-K students; focusing on why hand-washing is important, when you should wash your hands, and how to effectively do so.

For older students, Hofstra's PA candidates developed nutrition and exercise presentations that focused on helping adolescents make alternative choices in their diet that are cost effective and convenient, while mixing in dance activities and jump rope to get fit and stay fit.

In 2008, teen pregnancy rates in high-risk communities, which include Hempstead, were 8.5%. In 2014, that rate dropped to 4.8%. While the rates have dropped, Hempstead still has a teen pregnancy rate four times that of the rest of the United States. Increased health care access and education have been paramount to decreasing these numbers. The sex education presentation focused on educating high school students on safe-sex techniques and the risks associated with promiscuity.

Beyond getting involved in our surrounding area, the opportunity for us to take what we learn in the classroom and practice presenting in a community setting was invaluable. We look forward to the rest of our presentations as well as assisting in the Hempstead School District's Career Day.

Hofstra PA Students on Medical Brigade to Nicaragua - by Meagan Sanko, Class of 2016

On August 15, 2015, while many were enjoying the last few days of summer vacation, six Hofstra University PA students (Farah Doxey, Christal Perez, Sarah Pullar, Meagan Sanko, Kason Wan, and Sarah Williams) joined forces with two other schools (CUNY Macaulay Honors College and Wake Forest University) for a medical brigade to Nicaragua. Once there, the students were divided into two groups, servicing clinics in two different communities – Las Mangas and Pueblo Nuevo. While in the clinics, the students participated in the care of patients in eight various stations – intake, triage, consult, charla, dental, pharmacy, OB-GYN, and data entry. In three days, the two clinics attended to over 3,000 patients. The patients demonstrated their gratitude with a ceremony for the volunteers that included traditional music and dancing.

Several of the students also participated in a public health initiative while in Nicaragua. This involved staying in the country an extra three days to put in cement floors, a sanitation system, and build latrines for families in need.

All the students said the experience was extremely memorable and rewarding. It provided them with the opportunity to deliver care to those with limited access to quality medical care and helped to solidify the importance of preventive medicine. They hope to pass the torch on to future students and continue their service to those in need.

Hofstra PA Students on Medical Brigade to Nicaragua


Hofstra PA Students to Receive a National Health Service Corps Scholarship

Erin Cady, Class of 2015, on receiving the distinguished National Health Service Corps scholarship

Students in select medical, dental, and mental health professions compete for this national scholarship program that pays tuition and fees and provides a living stipend to students enrolled in accredited medical programs. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients serve as primary care providers for between two and four years at a community-based site in a high-needs Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Awards are made to applicants most committed to serving underserved people and most likely to build successful careers in HPSAs and meet future needs for care throughout the nation. Congratulations to Erin on meeting this call to service.