James Madison University

Matthew Lassen Selected as Paul Ambrose Scholar

PHOTO: Matt LassenFirst year physician assistant student, Matthew Lassen, was selected from a competitive pool of applicants for the prestigious Paul Ambrose Scholars Program (PASP). The honor includes a scholarship to attend a four-day leadership symposium in Washington D.C. this summer. After the symposium, participants return to their universities and work to develop a community-based health education program built on the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators.

The symposium will give Lassen the opportunity to meet leading experts from various healthcare-related fields. “They always bring in influential speakers Secretaries of Health, Surgeon Generals or other leading experts in public health. I am looking forward to meeting these people and learning about their experiences,” Lassen says.

Once Lassen returns to JMU, the real work will begin. His education program will focus specifically on one component of the Leading Health Indicators - Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. Under the mentorship of the Medical Director of the JMU Physician Assistant Program, Dr. Kent Diduch, Lassen will partner with local free clinics in developing an education program that stresses the benefits of physical activity and weight loss to delay the effects of and/or prevent diabetes and heart disease.

Lassen’s background before enrolling in the PA program was primarily medical research in the area of infectious disease. While he enjoys research, he is looking forward to the opportunity for gaining more direct patient interaction experience through his project. “The JMU physician assistant program really places an emphasis on becoming involved in the community. All of our faculty volunteer and work in the community at least one day a week. There is a strong sense of giving back.”

More information about the Paul Ambrose Scholar Program can be obtained on the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) website: http://www.aptrweb.org/?page=pasp



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