For a good number of MEDEX Northwest students, volunteerism proved to be the best way to acknowledge PA Week 2022 (October 6-12) and to celebrate the profession they are focused on joining. Here are some photos and reports on their efforts to make a difference in their communities. 

MEDEX Kona Classes 2 & 3 @ 2022 Iron Man World Championship (October 6-8, 2022)

Report from Dani Laird (MEDEX Kona Class 2) 


(Back row, L-R): Danie Bowman, Ayanna Jose, Dani Laird, Hannah Moore, Kelli Spiering, Lauryn Carr
(Front row, L-R): Nyssa Seaton, Sarah Sumida, Savannah Udac, Vickie Bounkousohn, Jenna Han, Megan Talabis, Lia Polu 

The Iron Man World Championship has taken place in Kailua-Kona every year since 1981. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the competition was cancelled the past two years. So for the first time ever, athletes who qualified in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were all invited to compete this year in the largest pool of competitors ever, at just under 5,000 individuals. This number required a massive amount of volunteers at aid stations, for check-in, security, transitions, and most critically, for medical logistics and the medical tent where we volunteered. Physicians, nurses, NPs, med students, PAs, and PA students were all in attendance and operated in sections to treat athletes, from the relatively straightforward dehydration and exhaustion to more critical care for those with severe hyperthermia, arrhythmias, and electrolyte imbalances.


As members of the first and only physician assistant program in Hawai’i, we felt it was important to contribute to this event in any capacity we could. Our team included members of both Kona Class 2 and Class 3. We worked on the IV teams, took vitals, did triage on the finish line, and contributed to care under the guide of a physician or PA.  The efforts of all the volunteers allowed for a finish rate of over 95% amongst athletes on one of the most difficult courses in the world. I am so proud of myself and my classmates for the time, effort, and contributions we provided to the athletes in the tent, with some students even flying in from Oahu during their clinical year to attend. We will be back! 


(L-R): Hannah Moore, Dani Laird, Ayanna Jose, Nyssa Seaton, Danie Bowman, Kelly Vide (MEDEX Kona Faculty)


(L-R): Kelli Spiering, Lauryn Carr, Megan Talabis, Lia Polu, Vickie Bounkousohn 

MEDEX Anchorage Class 14 @ Hope Soup Kitchen, Anchorage, AK (October 8, 2022)

Report from Haylie Whitaker (MEDEX Anchorage Class 14), Class Co-President


(L to R) Fiona Teilborg, Ali Madril, Colleen Kenedy, Dv’nn Cooks, Claire Todd, Gabby Johnson, and Maia Wolf, Jennilee Kho (pictured below)


Our team of volunteers helped to cook soup and prepare 320 sandwiches at the Hope Soup Kitchen in Anchorage. Half of our class helped serve the lunch to the residents of The Women’s Shelter at the Hope Soup Kitchen that afternoon, while the other half served sack lunches and soup in the free lunch service that is open to the community. Our Anchorage Class 14 community outreach coordinator Claire Todd found this opportunity for us to contribute our time to our community.


Jennilee Kho, Ali Medril, Maia Wolf, Fiona Teilborg

Ali Medril, Jennilee Kho, Maia Wolf, Dv’nn Cooks

MEDEX Anchorage Class 14 @ Coat Drive for AWAIC Women’s Shelter, Anchorage, AK (October 11, 2022)

Report from Haylie Whitaker (MEDEX Anchorage Class 14), Class Co-President


Ashley-Morgan Gillette, Jackie Ryan, Emily Myhre, Stephanie Hubbard, Jenny Robey, Zach Taylor, Claire Todd, Colleen Kenedy, Fiona Teilborg, Gabby Johnson, Haylie Whitaker, Dv’nn Cooks


We donated approximately 100 coats to AWAIC Women’s Shelter. AWAIC provides around the clock care for abused women looking for help. We took the extra coats we had to the Alaska Regional Hospital ED. We bought the coats at neighborhood thrift stores, using our PA Week activity fee and a large donation by classmate Ashley-Morgan Gillette and the wives of military members she knows. We will also use the rest of the money to donate to AWAIC’s (over $300) Amazon wish list to buy other supplies they need. 

Dv’nn Cooks

Fiona Teilborg, Gabby Van Noord, Colleen Kenedy

Ashley-Morgan Gillette, Emily Myhre, Jackie Ryan, Zach Taylor, Dv’nn Cooks

Jackie Ryan

MEDEX Spokane Class 26 @ Ronald McDonald House, Spokane, WA (October 8, 2022) 

Report from Rachel McCrady (MEDEX Spokane Class 26), Class Director of Community Outreach


(L to R) Morganne Hamann, Kaley Lawrie, Jon Lenz, and Chris Gheen


The members of Spokane Class 26 are largely from this area, and many of us have a special connection to or memory of the Ronald McDonald House in Spokane, whether we have known families that have stayed there or have worked at a hospital where the children of these families were being treated. As the Community Outreach Director for our class, I knew that this was a service opportunity our class would be fully behind in supporting, so I signed us up! Each student in our class, as well as some faculty, donated money to buy the ingredients for the dinner, and our head Chef Chris Gheen put together an amazing menu. Our class treasurer Elissa Black collected the donations and did the shopping. The group of volunteers gathered at the new Spokane Campus Ronald McDonald House on 5th Avenue near the Shriner’s Hospital and made dinner for about 30 family members. The menu consisted of baked salmon and chicken breasts, steamed asparagus, pea risotto, spinach salad with blueberries and goat cheese, and of course brownies for dessert! We had just four volunteers making dinner, serving, and cleaning up! We wanted to involve more, but understandably there are infection risks with having more volunteers in the house. It is our hope that we can make a meal for the families here once a quarter over the course of our didactic year. 

MEDEX Seattle Class 56 @ Why Not You Academy, Des Moines, WA (October 12, 2022)

Report by Tanessa Kenny, Student, MEDEX Seattle Class 56


Tanessa Kenny, Will Marshall, Roneel Naidu, LaRonious Reddix, Leslie Horita, Eqraa Dubad, Teja Kirby, Alana Le, Renee Pollack, Daniel Akaji, Brandon Isaacson, Gary Wiley, Zack Gainer, Allison Young, Arvin Villagonzalo, Rickie Saini, Navita Dhanjal


This year our class competed in the PAEA’s second annual Project Access competition, an outreach recruitment program aimed at encouraging high school students from underrepresented groups to consider careers as a PAs. A total of 32 PA programs across the country competed to see who could host the most innovative and engaging student-led event during PA week. We were so proud to have been awarded 3rd place for our submission. 


We chose to partner with Why Not You Academy, a local charter school focused on experiential learning. We hosted two career development classes at the Academy, where we introduced 9th and 10th grade students to the PA profession through interactive activities. Students cycled through three stations, each representing a different field common to PAs. They were taught to obtain vitals, apply tourniquets, and immobilize limbs while having conversations about the importance of representation in healthcare. Students were also shown a series of TikToks made by Seattle Class 56 students answering common questions for those interested in the field.


Being part of a PA program like MEDEX that prioritizes justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, it meant so much to us to actually get out there and put actions behind our words! We have already been asked to come back and host more events.