Physician assistant training program begins through Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers

The advice given to Julia Pizzo, a staff member at Hamlin Family Health Center, and her 74 fellow students was, “Be prepared to love your job and your community. The group of 75 fellow National Institute for the Advancement of Physician Assistants (NIMAA) graduates received this advice from alumnus Jennica Martin, CMA, during NIMAA’s virtual kick-off ceremony held on October 26.

Pizzo, who started working at the health center as a medical secretary, wasn’t the only one celebrating in Hamlin. She was surrounded by her family, colleagues and members of the Wayne Memorial Community Health Center (WMCHC) administrative team. They all gathered to watch the graduation ceremony broadcast live from the Hamlin Center boardroom. Pizzo was the first NIMAA student at WMCHC to complete the program since announcing he had become an externship partner in October 2021.

Pizzo, who nodded when his name and photo appeared on the conference room screen, thanked everyone in the room for the “opportunity” with special gratitude to preceptor Maria Emiliani, CMA , and site facilitator Kristen Knash, CMA, both of whom are also WMCHC staff. members.

Individuals who wish to become a physician assistant with the program complete a combination of hands-on clinical experience at a community health center and online sessions conducted by NIMAA. The program is flexible and designed to be economical and completed after just eight months.

WMCHC’s current master’s class of four students is expected to graduate in April 2023. All are WMCHC employees. However, WMCHC human resources director Miranda Green says the program is open to anyone interested in training to become a physician assistant. “WMCHC’s relationship with NIMAA is twofold,” she said. “It serves as a career ladder for current employees, but is also an investment in our community by providing an ideal educational opportunity for those who struggle to balance work and family commitments.”

WMCHC offers employees and accepted clerkship participants the opportunity to continue their education while remaining employed, receiving compensation and benefits, along with tuition assistance for those who qualify.

The application deadline for the NIMAA Fall Cohort with classes beginning in March 2023 is November 14, 2022. Visit for more information on the application process.

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