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.

Ebony Bates headshot.

Q: Favorite part of the PA program?

A: I actually have two things. The first are the labs-cadaver and pig, and secondly, is the staff. Not only are they hilarious and make this fun but also very empathetic to individual needs.

Q: Toughest part of the PA program?

A: For me I would say the toughest part would have to be balance-trying to find a balance between classes, studying, family and social life. It can all be done, but you may have to re-prioritize certain things and make sure you're disciplined.

Q: Why was volunteering at the Firehouse Shelter important to you?

A: I saw it as one of the many ways that I could give back to my community. My mother used to work at a local women's shelter so I spent a lot of time working with her. Seeing firsthand how basic preventative healthcare can be overlooked due to stress of being homeless, encouraged me to do outreach in the hope that I could help play a role and making sure that those needs were met.

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

A: I loved being able to put into practice all that I have learned so far and I think it will help me to become a better clinician. I also took away that there is still more work to be in done in regards to prevention and patient education but the UAB PA program, as well as other programs in the SHP, is tackling this problem head-on.

Q: Where will we see you in 20 years?

A: Hopefully I'll be able to serve in the dual capacity as a practicing PA, as well as promoting the PA profession and education while also working to reduce health disparities among minorities at the local, regional, or national level. But let's hope in 20 years we won't have either one of these issues.

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