Physician assistant graduates stay in northern Michigan to work

headshots of two women, side-by-side
Marissa Ingersoll, left, and Savannah Micunek took physician assistant studies classes in Traverse City and are now working in the area.
Image credit - courtesy photos

Four years after Grand Valley expanded its Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) program to Traverse City, many of the program's graduates are staying in northern Michigan to work.

Nicholus Kopacki, assistant department chair and affiliate professor of PAS, said 75 percent of the program's graduates are working in rural underserved areas or in northern Michigan. 

"Some of our first graduates from the Traverse City satellite program are now giving back by taking current students for their clinical rotations," Kopacki said.

PAS courses are held at the University Center at Northwestern Michigan College. The master's level program admits 12 students annually to the Traverse City satellite campus; visit to learn more. 

Marissa Ingersoll graduated in 2018 and now works for Traverse City Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Ingersoll lives in the region and said she it was important to her to stay in the area.

"I’ve always lived in northern Michigan and could think of no better place to attend school and build a career," she said. "I also did my clinical rotations in the area, which allowed me to network where I wanted to practice."

Students in Grand Valley's PAS program have a proven track record of attaining 100 percent pass rate on the state licensure exam; the national average is 97 percent.

Savannah Micunek, who earned a PAS degree in 2018, said the program's licensure pass rate was a selling point for her. 

"I made my decision to attend Grand Valley based largely on the licensure exam pass rate and the university's commitment to serving the health care needs of northern Michigan residents," said Micunek, who works at Munson Medical Center in the cardiothoracic unit.


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