We sent questions to some of the UAB Physician Assistant Studies program students who volunteer at the School of Health Professions' Firehouse Shelter Clinic. We wanted to know more about them, the current PA program and why they serve.

Christophe Jackson headshot.

Q: Favorite part of the PA program?

A: My favorite part of PA program is the rigorous training and connection to applying real knowledge directly into clinical care. PA are trained to be able to handle a broad variety of medical and clinical settings. I like that PAs are trained to be the MacGyver of the medical profession to bridge the gaps between patient care and working collaboratively as an integrative member of the medical team.

Q: Toughest part of the PA program?

A: The toughest part of PA program is also my favorite part. It takes considerable change in perspective to take knowledge and apply it directly. It's hard to “do” and take thought into action. It’s a process that requires opportunity, intention, and guided experience. But the process is life changing.

Q: What did you take away from participating in the Firehouse Shelter project?

A: (1) We are all connected and the opportunities to serve are paramount to the health of the community. (2) Differences in beliefs, socioeconomics, or creed may arise. However, my purpose as a PA is to be a patient advocate, treat them with dignity and respect, listen and offer the very best medical care possible. (3) People matter.

Q: Where will we see you in 20 years?

A: I hope to see myself as a clinician engineer working in a blended academic, surgical, medical and rural healthcare settings. PA have an incredible breadth of flexibility. I see myself practicing and engineering to meet a variety of needs and in various settings where my mantra is to “serve, design, and care for patients where they are.”

Learn more about Christophe and other students in UAB’s Physician Assistant program here.