Wallace Student Society receives national service award

Campbell University’s Wallace Student Society (WSS) was named the 2022 Outstanding Student Society by the American Academy of Physician Assistant’s (AAPA), the national professional society for physician associates/physician assistants and advocates. This national award was presented to Campbell’s first- and second-year Physician Assistant (PA) students on May 22, during AAPA’s annual conference.

According to AAPA, “The Outstanding Student Society is recognized for outstanding service to the profession in the areas of public education and advocacy; public service and outreach; promotion of diversity; and professional involvement.”

Christina Pollard (’22 MPAP), immediate past WSS Community Service Chair remarked, “Winning the outstanding student society award is a testament to the dedication of our students, our program, and our faculty and staff. The Wallace Student Society reminds us, as Campbell PA students, that we are doing more than just earning a degree. Campbell does not only produce knowledgeable healthcare professionals, but cultivates individuals to become servants of the community which drives our ability to address large scale problems.”

Since inception, the WSS has maintained a heavy focus on hosting and participating in public health events. Students strive to relay the significance of prevention through community screenings and educational opportunities. In 2021, students from the class of 2022 and 2023 were heavily involved in various community events. Some of these initiatives included the Make-A-Wish golf tournament, writing Christmas cards to local nursing home patients, coordinating first-aid stations at events, and administering COVID vaccines.

With excellence, enthusiasm, and a resounding Campbell spirit, they represented us at the national conference beyond our highest expectations! Winning this award is a first for Campbell PA – and a well-deserved honor and achievement.
-PA Program Chair, Betty Lynne W. Johnson 

COVID impacted the planning and execution of the Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina golf tournament. Students from the class of 2022 hosted the tournament on short notice and were still able to raise over $12,500. Alexander Oliver (’22 MPAP), WSS Vice President, believes this to be a testament to the level of teamwork each student contributed in a few months to pull off such a successful event.

“Being the recipient of the AAPA 2022 Outstanding Student Society Award is an honor. The award reflects what the Campbell University Physician Assistant Program instills in each student during their tenure with the program; service to the community, learning to serve others, and collective teamwork,” Oliver continued.  

Each service opportunity increased patients’ access to care, and allowed the students to educate community members on basic medical needs and the value of PAs to the healthcare system. In 2021, PA students also volunteered more than 950 hours at the Campbell University Community Care Clinic (CCC). The CCC focuses on providing free care to migrant farm workers and those from rural areas.

Justine Danielson (’23 MPAP Candidate), WSS Student Academy of the AAPA Representative, noted, “Being selected for the 2022 AAPA award of ‘Outstanding Student Society’ exemplifies the devotion and commitment that Campbell University’s PA program strives to achieve through our mission statement. My peers and I have been thoroughly involved in opportunities and events dedicated to advocacy, diversity, service, and professionalism. The Class of 2022 and 2023 have shown their loyalty to the PA profession early in their careers, and I am grateful to be surrounded by such incredible students.”

One WSS sub-committee, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, focusses on hosting events that will help educate individuals on implicit bias, racial inequalities, and health disparities. In June 2021, the student committee organized a “Women in Medicine” panel to hear firsthand about the obstacles women face in the STEM field, celebrate the panelists’ accomplishments, and learn from their successes.

“Winning the 2022 AAPA Outstanding Student Society award gives me great pride to be part of Campbell University’s PA program. Our faculty, staff, and students’ dedication to this program and our student society is something that amazes me every day, and I am honored to represent Campbell in my everyday life and in the clinic. Campbell’s Wallace Student Society’s want for inclusiveness, dedication to outreach, strive for professionalism, family dynamic, and ‘it’s all about the patient’ mentality, brought on by our program director Betty Lynne Johnson, is what gravitated me to this program, and these qualities have allowed me to become a better student and contribute to an ever-growing outstanding student society,” remarked Olivia Talarico (’23 MPAP), WSS Treasurer.

Betty Lynne Johnson, program chair and director, noted, “The class of ‘22 and class of ‘23 leaders of the Wallace Student Society are passionate champions of the PA profession. They are wholly committed to servant leadership and compassionate person-centered care. These students fully embrace the belief, ‘it’s all about the patient!’ With excellence, enthusiasm, and a resounding Campbell spirit, they represented us at the national conference beyond our highest expectations! Winning this award is a first for Campbell PA – and a well-deserved honor and achievement! I could not possibly be more Campbell-PA-Proud!