Michael St. Amand, PA-S1

Hometown Santa Clarita, CA

Undergraduate School and degree Cal Poly SLO where I received a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences

What you did for patient care experience Medical assistant in endocrinology, urgent care, and dermatology. Caregiving. Registered Behavior Technician for children diagnosed with autism

Favorite place in Oregon (to eat, explore, whatever) Food/drink: La Perlita coffee, Good Coffee, Asylum food trucks, Fifty Licks Ice Cream, Kati Portland, Portland Cider on Hawthorne. Explore: McNeil point (Top spur trail), Pittock mansion, Division street’s shops

I chose the PA pathway because I seek to empower communities in a career that contributes to a collaborative team and provides lifelong purpose and learning. I want to discover feasible and meaningful solutions for my future patients. I want to be a proponent for social justice in a field that recognizes the importance of holistically treating all people. OHSU was where I aspired to complete my master’s education because I was confident that it would not only shape me into a competent physician assistant, but it would also shape me into the mindful and informed provider I aim to be. I admired that professionalism, ethics, health promotion, and disease prevention are interwoven into OHSU’s curriculum. As a person who values whole-person healthcare, I sought out this program because I knew it was the right fit for me and my values.

My favorite part of the curriculum so far has been the Physical Diagnosis lab. Learning about different maneuvers to test for different diseases or injuries gave me a newfound knowledge in an in person setting. It was exciting to put the knowledge I had gained from the lecture into practice.  It was this part of the curriculum that not only gave me the confidence in my own learning and abilities, but I also realized that my lifelong goals are becoming a reality.

Navigating through PA school amidst a pandemic has been challenging but I wouldn’t give up my spot in this program for the world. I have learned so much in so little time not only about medicine, but about the importance of taking breaks for my own mental health. Being on a computer all day for classes, then studying off of a computer into the night takes a mental toll but is manageable when you take individual time every day to step away from the screen. The most important thing I have learned during this pandemic is that nourishing your own mental health is just as important as fueling your academic drive.

During my time at OHSU I am most looking forward to the day where I feel competent enough to treat patients. I may not feel like I know much now but looking back I have realized that I have acquired an abundant amount of knowledge. It is refreshing to see my strides towards competency as a future healthcare provider.