March 16, 2010 - Harrogate, Tennessee, March 16, 2010 – Seven Physician Assistant students from Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) traveled to the nation’s capitol in February to participate in the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) “Capitol Connection” program.

The PA students met with legislative staff members for Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), as well as staff members for Tennessee Congressmen Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3rd) and Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4th). During the four-day event, the students also heard from U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, who was presented with the 2010 AAPA President’s Award.

PA students participating in the trip included Emily Burke, Robin Campbell, Kristi Crabtree, Megan Lawson, Ryan Maynard, Chris Pivonka and Ursula Treadway. The students were accompanied by Paula DeMaro, assistant professor of physician assistant studies. The delegation was part of more than 250 Physician Assistants and PA students who participated in Capitol Connection.

"The trip was an incredible legislative learning experience,” said PA student Chris Pivonka. “I believe our initiatives to expand PA practicing rights via legislation were well received. Being on Capitol Hill really opened my eyes that despite who you are or where you come from, every U.S. citizen has the ability to participate in our nation's government, and it's easier than any of us ever realized."

A special highlight of the trip was the students’ visit to the Lincoln Memorial. Their trip came on the heels of the University’s annual trip to the nation’s capitol to participate in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Memorial on Lincoln’s birthday. LMU is one of a select few institutions, and the only university, invited to participate in the ceremony each year. The students were able to see the LMU wreath at the monument first-hand.

“I am proud that our students and a faculty member represented LMU-DCOM’s PA program at the Capitol Connection and learned about the political process,” said Dr. Michelle Heinan, director of the Physician Assistant Program. “Not enough physician assistants are involved in legislation related to the profession. This event gave them the opportunity to assist in making things happen. The LMU-DCOM PA students were the only students representing the state of Tennessee at this event.”

The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine is located on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. LMU-DCOM is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of osteopathic physicians to provide healthcare in the often underserved region of Appalachia and beyond. For more information about LMU-DCOM, call 1-800-325-0900, ext. 7082, e-mail, or visit us online at

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Caption: Physician Assistant students (L-R) Emily Burke, Robin Campbell, Kristi Crabtree and Ryan Maynard did some sight-seeing at the Lincoln Memorial during their recent trip to Washington, D.C.

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