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UCS grads among 32 selected for inaugural MSU Physician Assistant program
UCS grads among 32 selected for inaugural MSU Physician Assistant program
Posted on 07/06/2022
UCS grads rogram that takes an innovative approach to training the next generation of medical professionalsTwo Utica Community Schools graduates are among the first group of students selected for a new program that takes an innovative approach to developing the next generation of medical professionals.

Jonah Varney, a 2018 graduate of Henry Ford II, and Brianna Regan, a 2018 graduate of Stevenson, are among only 32 students selected for Michigan State University’s inaugural Physician Assistant program.

“It is designed to help educate and train new Physician Assistants alongside doctor of osteopathic (DO) students in the medical school in order to start fostering teamwork and collaboration among medical professions right from the start,” said Varney. 

Students in the 27-month program – who have a combined GPA of 3.89 – will have 14 months of classroom work alongside DO students and 12 months in clinical rotations. 

“We are taking a broader look at how disease is caused and how it affects the body,” Regan said. 

She said the common background for students entering the program was leadership roles within the community, volunteerism, research, or professional careers – characteristics that have their roots in their UCS background. 

“UCS offered programs and classes that contributed greatly to my passion for medicine,” Regan said. 

Both Varney and Regan took part in their high school HOSA, National Honor Society, and Advanced Placement and Honors programs. 

“By far, the most valuable aspect of my high school education was taking Physiology and Advanced Placement Biology with Mr. Bungart,” Regan said.  “Even now, five years later, I remember much of what he taught me about the structures that make up the body. This has been a massive contribution to my knowledge in my anatomy course in graduate school.”

Varney also said his participation in athletics helped build leadership skills. 

“During my time at Ford, I was fortunate enough to take many different AP and honors classes and form great relationships with many of my teachers. These classes helped prepare me for college as well as get ahead on the long list of things I had to do to be able to apply for PA school,” he said.

Regan graduated with a major in biology from Lake Superior State and Varney majored in Human Biology from MSU. Both are exploring Physician Assistant programs as the flexibility the career allows to move in different medical professions and give back to their communities,” he said. 

“Unlike doctors, we do not have to pick a specialty,” Regan said. “We can work in almost all aspects of the medical field, including psychiatry, cardiology, emergency medicine, and women’s health. We have more flexible schedules, and there is a huge demand for PAs across the country.”

“There are plenty of careers to pick that make money, but I want to be able to have a career where I am able to brighten or make somebody’s day better every day, even if it is something as simple as helping them with their headache or just being someone to talk to,” Varney said.