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U-M physician assistants come together to renovate home for fellow Health System employee

U-M physician assistants come together to renovate home for fellow Health System employee

ANN ARBOR, Mich.

To LaKeesha Talbert, becoming a homeowner doesn’t just mean having a nice place to live – it also means having more responsibility.

And that’s what she’s looking forward to most.

Talbert, a patient services assistant at the University of Michigan Health System, will be the recipient of this year’s Physician Assistants Week Habitat for Humanity renovation project, and for her, it’s an opportunity to take the next step in life as a homeowner.

“I am looking forward to everything about my new home, but mainly, this is the next level for me,” Talbert says. “I’m embracing this new level of growth, maturity, and responsibility.”

For the third year in a row, many of U-M’s physician assistants are coming together to renovate a local home in celebration of National Physician Assistants Week, which is Oct. 8-12.

Marc Moote, UMHS’s chief physician assistant and the organizer of the event, came up with the idea to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity three years ago as a way to celebrate PA Week while at the same time giving back in the community. This year’s PA Week Planning Committee also included Karen Cummings, Jill Hasen, Bill Palazzolo, Cindy Stroup, and Tatyana Guifarro.

Moote says this year’s renovation is especially exciting because the home belongs to a fellow UMHS employee.

“One of our missions here at UMHS is to take care of our own,” Moote says. “I think one thing we emphasize in this profession is advocating for others beyond just health care. We’re very happy that this year we’ll be able to help out a fellow U-M employee.”

The physician assistant volunteers from U-M will work with Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley on Oct. 6-7 to renovate the home. In previous years, volunteers have helped renovate homes by installing drywall, installing new vinyl siding, painting, installing landscaping, installing molding, among many other aspects of the renovation process.  

The PA profession is recognized as the fourth-fastest growing field in the nation, with more than 80,000 PAs practicing in every medical and surgical specialty.

With a projected growth rate of 39 percent, the profession is predicted to quickly become the second-fastest growing profession in a decade.

The Health System employs over 200 PAs in more than half of its clinical services, meeting the needs of patients and improving the quality of care throughout the Health System.

Talbert says having the project sponsored by U-M’s physician assistants is inspiring because it shows U-M lives up to its mission of helping others.

“It really takes me back to the when I first became an employee here,” she says. “While attending the orientation and listening to the presenters go in great detail about the vision and goals for the University, I felt very proud to be a part of such a great team of individuals. I feel that way again now.”

The families who obtain Habitat housing are generally those whose income is 30 percent to 50 percent of the area’s median income. Families must provide a down payment, participate in money management and house maintenance classes and give back with "sweat equity" by working on their home or other Habitat properties.

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To learn more about Habitat for Humanity and contribute to the PA fundraiser to support Habitat go to http://h4h.org/, click on “donate,” and select UM Physician Assistants from the pull down tab.

To learn more about the PA profession go to http://www.med.umich.edu/physicianassistant/

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