10 PA Students Selected to Receive Scholarships to Train in Underserved Communities


 The Duke Physician Assistant Program selected 10 students to receive the Physician Assistant Leaders in Underserved Communities (PA-LUC) scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year. The scholarship is funded by a $2 million, five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 

Five students from each class were selected for their strong interest in practicing primary care in medically underserved communities. Six of the 10 PA-LUC Scholars are underrepresented minorities in medicine. 

The HRSA grant provides $400,000 for scholarships to be awarded to 10 students each academic year, including students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups. It also allows the creation of unique clinical opportunities through longitudinal placement in primary care settings in medically underserved communities.  

“Our disadvantaged students have high financial need and, even with the desire to practice primary care in a medically underserved community, are deterred from seeking this specialty and location due to the attraction of higher-paying specialties in communities without health provider shortages,” says project director Patricia McKelvey Dieter, MPA, PA-C, professor of family medicine and community health and chief, Division of PA Studies. “This HRSA award will help remove barriers that our students face in pursuing primary care careers.” 

PA-LUC Scholars will engage in 12 weeks of primary care rotations, complete leadership training coordinated by the Duke PA program, and fulfill a community project with NCCARE360. Following completion of the program, the scholars’ employment specialties and locations will be followed long-term to assess the success of the project. 

A recipient of the PA-LUC Scholarship says: “I cannot express how honored I am to receive this scholarship! I have always held a strong passion to work in primary care, and learning that I am a PA-LUC scholar has truly reaffirmed to me that I am on the track I was meant to be on. I cannot wait to learn more about the amazing opportunities that the scholarship brings.” 

In addition to the PA-LUC scholarships, the PA Program also awarded 25 Hamilton-Carter Scholarships this year to students who strongly match the mission of the program. Each Hamilton-Carter Scholarship is $10,000. Also awarded this year were 22 general and “Striver” scholarships totaling $110,000, funded by the program and alumni donors.