To say the 2024 Big Man On Campus (BMOC) event was a success would be an understatement.
New tools will help Trine PA students serve diverse populations
February 03, 2022
Members of Trine’s chapter of the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA) will provide students who desire them with pronoun pins to wear on rotation and pocket cards with common medical phrases in Spanish and Arabic.
Sebreena Zalam, a student in Trine’s MPAS Class of 2022, had planned to purchase a pronoun pin to wear on her rotations. The pins display a person’s preferred pronoun, and are designed to show support from medical professionals for LGBTQ+ patients.
After hearing from fellow students who were looking for ways to incorporate more diversity into their education, she asked her program director if the pins could be provided for all students. Students in the program will receive an explanation of the pins’ significance as well as educational articles provided by Alexis Salinas, SAAAPA’s diversity chair.
“The initial meaning behind pronoun pins is to let other people know what pronouns you prefer to use,” Zalam said. “And while they still do this and still have the potential to benefit providers who may identify with new or changing pronouns, I think that the benefit it has on the patients speaks incredibly loud volumes.”
Zalam said she came out as a lesbian to her primary care physician at age 17 to receive appropriate healthcare, and, as such, recognizes the significant healthcare disparities for LGBTQ+ patients.
“With the disproportionately high incidences of substance abuse, major depression, gender/body dysphoria, domestic abuse, suicide attempts and much more in the LGBTQ+ community, I hope these pins will serve as a signal for a ‘safe space’ that may ultimately lead to earlier diagnoses of these pertinent and sometimes fatal medical issues,” she said.
“I think the pins will be beneficial to Trine PA students on rotations because I believe they will allow students to create a safe environment with their patients. This will lead to better history taking and hopefully earlier diagnoses of pertinent medical issues.”
While organizing past service trips to Peru and Ecuador, Zalam had received medical Spanish cards that she planned to use as a template for the language cards Trine students will receive. However, a classmate pointed out that many Trine students will perform rotations in the Dearborn, Michigan, area, which has a significant population that speaks Arabic.
“I asked a few classmates with fluency in these languages to help me in making these cards, and they happily obliged,” she said.
The cards are not meant to allow students to speak the language, but are designed to help them obtain a simple medical history if necessary.
“Seeking medical help and being unable to communicate with the provider can be incredibly frustrating. Having a tool to meet the patient halfway can truly go a long way,” she said. “I also believe that preceptors will be impressed with Trine's commitment to serving all patient populations.”
Zalam said the new tools will enhance the work Trine’s MPAS program has already done to prepare students to treat diverse patient populations.
“Trine University's PA program has done a good job of considering different patient populations when we learn medicine,” she said. “I feel that these small efforts will complement the program well and will be the start of truly creating well-rounded, competent providers.”
Trine University’s Zollner Golf Course is ranked number 10 on the list of Top 25 College Golf Courses from the Golfers’ Choice Awards 2024.
It was a successful celebration for both Bo Jackson and supporters of Trine University as the annual Scholarship Gala raised nearly $2 million on Feb. 10, the largest amount raised since the event’s inception in 2004. The renowned athlete left the event not only knowing Trine, but leaving a lasting impact on the university and on those who heard him speak.