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University of Washington PA Freshman Wins SignatureCare Emergency Center's 2020 Spring Semester Scholarship

Caitlin Richardson, a University of Washington MEDEX Physician Assistant (PA) program freshman has won SignatureCare Emergency Center's 2020 Spring Semester Scholarship.

The $1,000 scholarship, awarded biannually to U.S. students who show passion and commitment to the medical and healthcare field, is aimed at helping the students pay tuition and other college-related expenses.

Rhonda Abbe, Director of Operations for SignatureCare Emergency Center, praised Richardson's commitment to underserved communities.

“It's inspiring to see her commitment and dedication to meeting the healthcare needs of those in the rural communities. She could easily have chosen to go into other branches of medicine but she saw a need and decided to fill it. That is admirable,” Abbe said.

Richardson said she decided to become a Physician Assistant after working alongside dedicated and passionate healthcare providers in rural Alaska.

She singled out Dr. Kathleen Todd of Valdez, Alaska, and Dr. Helene Eliassen of Anchorage, Alaska as her role models, and the forces behind her decision to become a PA.

“They incorporate characteristics that are important to me. I had the privilege of shadowing Dr. Helene Eliassen over the course of two summers. Helene is very personable as she makes every effort to understand each patient's unique history. I value her open-mindedness and the way she treats everyone with the same level of respect,” Richardson said.

“Working alongside such dedicated and passionate medical providers in remote Alaska opened my eyes. My remote medical experience motivated me to grow beyond the medical laboratory into the role of a healthcare provider. For me, the decision to become a physician assistant combines the best of both worlds.

“Rural providers work in primary care where they get to follow their patients through all aspects of their medical journey, but they also staff the emergency room where they can be at the bedside when patients are at their worst,” she added.

Richardson said she was proud to have won the 2020 spring semester scholarship.

“I am very proud to have won this scholarship which I will be using to pay for my tuition. The scholarship will allow me to reach my dream of becoming a Physician Assistant.”

“After PA school, I would like to focus on wilderness medicine as well as leading search and rescue missions. I aspire to work as a PA in a critical access hospital, providing a mix of primary care, inpatient care, and emergency medicine services to remote locations,” she added.

About SignatureCare Emergency Center

SignatureCare Emergency Center owns and manages the fastest growing group of 24-hour emergency rooms throughout Texas. We currently have ERs in Houston (Houston Heights, Montrose, Copperfield, Memorial City, Westchase and Cypress/FM 1960), Bellaire, Sugar Land, Stafford, Killeen, Lewisville, Austin, College Station, Midland, Paris, Odessa and Texarkana.

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