UPAP Students and Faculty Distribute Vaccine in Rural Utah
Apr 24, 2021 2:00 PM
The Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) has partnerships with many rural Utah health organizations, such as the Utah Farm Worker Health, Centro de Buena Salud, and Migrant Head Start Programs through the Centro de Familia de Utah. These partnerships allow UPAP students and faculty to bring their health expertise and clinical practice to parts of the state where a lack of health infrastructure can contribute to lower health outcomes for communities. These partnerships are particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as areas that lack clinics and hospitals still need COVID care and access to vaccination opportunities.
On April 24, UPAP faculty and students were able to take advantage of this partnership to provide vaccinations to the rural community of Honeyville, Utah. The community is majority Latino and covered under the Head Start program, which brings educational activities, medical and dental referral services, nutritious meals and holistic support for families in the area. The vaccinations provided by UPAP will help keep the members of the Honeyville community safe from infection and their few healthcare workers from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
One of the UPAP students, Cristhian Toruno, has a special connection to the community. Toruno is a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) student on the rural track, meaning he has received special compensation to provide care to rural and underserved communities in Utah. Toruno is currently doing a longitudinal rural rotation in the Tremonton and Brigham City Community Centers, serving the communities in and around Honeyville. He volunteered specially for this vaccination opportunity to continue to serve in the area.
“As a Hispanic immigrant, I feel privileged to serve my community,” said Toruno. “I am thankful for UPAP and its mission-driven staff and students and for HRSA’s funding that has allowed me and others to learn, work, and serve in rural Utah.”In the picture, from left to right: Jennifer Coombs, PA-C, PhD, Erin Chambers, PA-S, Kathleen Hagan, PA-S, Colton Lambert, PA-S, Joseph Delong, PA-S, Cristhian Toruno, PA-S, and Jeff Coursey, PA-C, MPAS.