The GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Physician Assistant (PA) Program hosted its inaugural PA Week reception on Oct. 7. The event was one of many activities that took place in celebration of National PA Week, Oct. 6–12, created to recognize and honor the work and accomplishment of PAs. Lisa Mustone Alexander, Ed.D. ’03, M.P.H. ’89, PA-C ’79, assistant dean for community-based partnerships, interim chair of the Department of PA Studies, and program director for the PA program at SMHS, welcomed students, staff, faculty and alumni to the annual celebration.
This year, the program honored the career of alumnus Mark Dills, PA-C ’79. Dills received GW’s PA Program Public Service Award for his dedication and commitment to the profession. “When I graduated from GW 35 years ago, I thought I was just going to be a PA,” he said. “Little did I realize that GW had not just produced a PA, they had produced a leader.”
“To be leader you have to possess three qualities,” Dills continued. “You have to be trustworthy, be able to earn people’s respect, and you have to show caring for people. Everyone in this room has those qualities.” He told GW’s next generation of PAs in the audience that, “you are going to have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of people.”
Also recognized were Markos Yibas, M.D., and Mezgebe Haile, M.D., both associate clinical professors of PA studies at SMHS. They received the Dr. Jules Cahan Distinguished Teaching Award for their sustained and impactful service to PA students. The award honors more than 30 years of unwavering support for GW’s PA students by Jules Cahan, M.D. ’53, B.A. ’49, who was granted professor emeritus status during university commencement ceremonies in 2012.