We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 MEDEX Student Scholarships. There are eight scholarship categories, each named after an individual of particular importance to the MEDEX Northwest PA program. Decisions are based primarily on the evaluation by MEDEX leadership of short essays submitted by the students with stated interests in specific scholarships. Always the result of tough choices, here are this year’s winners.
Liza Benson Scholarship
Morgan Whitfield of MEDEX Anchorage Class 12 is the recipient of the 2022 Liza Benson Scholarship. Liza Benson joined MEDEX Seattle Class 45 but lost her life in a skiing accident upon returning to her native Wyoming for clinical rotations. This scholarship recognizes MEDEX students who share Liza’s spirit of adventure, and who have plans to practice in a wilderness or rural setting within the WWAMI region.
Barbara Gunter-Flynn Scholarship
Seamus Burke of MEDEX Spokane Class 24 is the recipient of the 2022 Barbara Gunter-Flynn Scholarship. Barbara Gunter-Flynn graduated from MEDEX in 1979 and helped to launch the MEDEX Spokane campus. As a PA, Gunter-Flynn was committed to expanding care to the medically underserved. This scholarship goes to a student who is similarly inspirational and shares a commitment to service of the medically underserved.
Christopher A. Heim Memorial Student Support Fund
James Mayes of MEDEX Tacoma Class 8 is the recipient of the 2022 Christopher A. Heim Student Support Fund. Chris Heim was a graduate of Seattle MEDEX Class 41. Prior to becoming a PA, Chris served in U.S. Army for 23 years as Special Forces medic and master sergeant. Chris had just established a private practice when his life was cut short in a motorcycle accident. This scholarship recognizes an outstanding military veteran among the current MEDEX student cohort.
Jennifer Johnston Scholarship
Hannah Moore of MEDEX Kona Class 2 is the recipient of the 2022 Jennifer Johnston Scholarship. Jennifer Johnston was the program Administrator and Admissions Director at MEDEX for 30 years. She funds this scholarship as a way to recognize students who have demonstrated tenacity at overcoming life’s hurdles, and a commitment to rise above significant obstacles on their pathway to becoming physician assistants.
Mike Merrill Scholarship
Laura Noyes of MEDEX Spokane Class 24 is the recipient of the 2022 Mike Merrill Scholarship. Mike Merrill graduated with MEDEX Class 26 and worked in the ER at Group Health. After Mike passed away, his family and friends established an endowed scholarship fund to support students interested in a career in emergency medicine. This award goes to a second-year student planning to enter practice in emergency medicine.
Susan Vader Scholarship
Jungsheng (Debbie) Su of MEDEX Seattle Class 55 is the recipient of the 2022 Susan Vader Scholarship. Sue Vader graduated with MEDEX Class 27 and worked for several years with the Whidbey Community Physicians group. After Sue passed away, the clinic and her family established a scholarship fund in her name. This award goes to students with an interest in family practice or women’s health.
Ruth Ballweg Endowed Fund for Leadership in MEDEX Scholarship
For 29 years, Ruth Ballweg (MPA, PA-C Emeritus and Professor Emeritus in the UW Department of Family Medicine) served as the Program Director of MEDEX Northwest and oversaw the expansion of campus sites to Spokane, Yakima, Alaska, and Tacoma. Ruth continues to consult with PA programs nationally and internationally. In 2017, she created the Endowed Fund for Leadership in MEDEX to support current MEDEX students in their development of leadership roles within the profession. Four students are awarded this year’s Ruth Ballweg Scholarship.
Dr. Richard Smith Scholarship
Dr. Richard Smith was the originator of the MEDEX Northwest program and a founding father of the PA profession. This award goes to potential leaders and visionaries who exhibit a commitment to increasing access to healthcare for the underserved. Five students, one from each of the five MEDEX campuses, are awarded this year’s Richard Smith Scholarship.
Congratulations to all of the 2022 MEDEX Student Scholarship winners!
# # #
Operational since 1969, MEDEX Northwest is the second oldest physician assistant education program in the U.S., and the largest civilian program. MEDEX currently has a total of over 250 first-year (didactic) and second-year (clinical) students hard at work across five campuses – Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Anchorage and Kona – in the states of Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.