AFPPA Announces 2011 Scholarship Award Winners

The Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants (AFPPA) is pleased to announce that eight student members are the recipients of its 2011 scholarship awards. These scholarship winners have each demonstrated a special interest in primary care medicine, and are in good academic standing.

Online PR News – 14-December-2011 – – The Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants (AFPPA) is pleased to announce that eight student members are the recipients of its 2011 scholarship awards. Two students are receiving the Meeks Scholarship, in memory of the late Jim Meeks, who served as president of AFPPA in 2008-09. There were three Senior Scholarship winners, given to students of senior or master’s status, and three Junior Scholarship winners. The Meeks and Senior scholarships are both valued at $1,500 each, and the Junior scholarships are valued at $1,000 each. These scholarship winners have each demonstrated a special interest in primary care medicine, and are in good academic standing.

Ubong Assam
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Junior winner, $1,000

Born and raised in Nigeria, Ubong Assam is the oldest of seven children. She graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and came to the United States in 1992. She joined the US Army in 1998 and served on active duty for more than eight years. Afterwards she returned to school to fulfill her prerequisites for PA school. She is currently enrolled in the PA program at Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Roanoke VA. Ubong is married and has two beautiful daughters.

Brianna Clayton
South University
Senior winner, $1,500

A second-year Physician Assistant student at South University in Savannah, GA, Brianna Clayton graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology and minored in chemistry at Florida State University. During her undergraduate studies she participated in several outreach programs designed to help the underserved in the area. During her first year of PA school she was able to go on a medical mission trip to Haiti to assist in basic medical needs at a small fisherman’s village. Brianna continues her desire to assist those less fortunate by participating in Idaho’s National Health Service Corp SEARCH program that allows her to do her family practice rotation in an area with a medical provider shortage. Her dream is to work in an area such as this and be able to travel to Haiti for more medical mission trips.

Joanna Dubinsky
South Alabama
Senior winner, $1,500

Joanna Dubinsky is in her clinical rotation year at the University of South Alabama's Physician Assistant Program in Mobile, AL. Her career in medicine is inspired by her conviction that healthcare is a human right. In Joanna’s many years working and volunteering for social justice organizations, she has witnessed many unmet healthcare needs, especially in preventive care. In 2006, Joanna co-founded the New Orleans Worker Justice Coalition, which organized to force unscrupulous contractors to pay back wages and improve unsafe working conditions in post-Katrina New Orleans. Organizing with uninsured workers illustrated the centrality of health to the fight for social justice. Discovering the Physician Assistant profession convinced Joanna she could play a role in addressing this need. With the profession's history rooted in increasing primary care access, becoming a PA seemed a perfect fit for her and her community.

Although Joanna considers New Orleans home, she grew up in South Korea, where her parents taught at Seoul American High School. After graduating high school in 1995, Joanna returned to the United States, graduating with a degree in Sociology and Economics from New College of Florida in 2000. She performed field research in Massachusetts for her undergraduate thesis on living wage campaigns, and moved there upon graduation. Joanna received a master’s degree in labor studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2003.

After graduating from PA school in July 2012, Joanna would like to utilize her community organizing experience to innovate ways of bringing health care outside clinic walls and into the community. She will continue to build the PA profession as a member of the Louisiana Academy of Physician Assistants, AAPA, and AFPPA.

Brendan Greenaway
Lock Haven University
Meeks winner, $1,500

Brendan Greenaway is a first year student at Lock Haven University in central Pennsylvania. After completing his undergraduate studies at the United States Air Force Academy in 2007, he served as an Air Force officer for three years. During his tenure with the Air Force, Brendan discovered his interest in the medical field while volunteering in multiple hospital settings. He became devoted to working with underserved populations during his volunteer experiences at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and at a mobile health clinic in rural Malawi. Brendan is enjoying learning from the talented faculty at Lock Haven University in the didactic phase of his PA training, and is looking forward to applying what he is learning during clinical rotations. After graduation, Brendan plans to begin his career in rural Pennsylvania while continuing his international service.

Alisha Hicks
Lincoln Memorial University
Junior winner, $1,000

A first-year Physician Assistant student at Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Alisha Hicks is from Haleyville, AL and attended Auburn University, where she graduated with honors in biomedical science. While at Auburn, she was able to gain experience with rural healthcare through the Rural Medical Internship in Huntsville, AL. Alisha currently serves in the Assembly of Representatives in the Dr. George Stanley Thompson PA Student Society and also as a student ambassador for the PA program. Alisha has also continued to volunteer in the community by assisting in sports physicals and health screenings for surrounding schools.

Andrew McNeely
Des Moines University
Junior winner, $1,000

Andrew McNeely graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Prior to PA school he worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant, a phlebotomist and as a corneal recovery technician as part of the Iowa Lions Eye Bank. He volunteered for two years as a medical interpreter and patient guide for the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic in a family practice setting, providing both acute and chronic care for low-income, Spanish-speaking patients. He has also provided mobile clinical outreach to migrant farm worker populations in Iowa and participated in three medical mission trips to Nicaragua. He enjoys light reading, jogging, travelling, disc golf, hiking and walking his Springer Spaniel.

Tamra Warner
University of Texas
Senior winner, $1,500

Currently in her second year of clinical rotations as a Physician Assistant student at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Tamra Warner was born in California and then moved to a small town in central Texas where she grew up in a rural community. Her commitment, interest and passion for working within a medically underserved community stemmed from her hometown roots.

Upon graduation from high school, she attended Southwestern University in Georgetown where she received her Bachelor of Science in biology. In college Tamra was actively involved in community service, cross-country and track, as well as the biological honor society on campus.

Her passion had always been with medicine so she began her journey at a PA school on Galveston Island. She jumped headfirst into the experience by becoming the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants’ representative for her classmates in the first semester. As a representative she participated in CME conferences held biannually throughout Texas and attended board retreats and meetings. She also became actively involved in the student-run St. Vincent’s clinic in Galveston, which offers free primary health services to those without health insurance or with limited access to care.

In December 2011 she attended a weeklong medical mission trip in El Salvador with the Foundation of International Medical Relief of Children. Besides medicine, Tamra is passionate about traveling, horse riding, running, and creative writing. At the end of her student journey she hopes to provide primary care services in a Women’s Health clinic and travel abroad to provide medical care to individuals in underserved countries of the world.

Robert Weiss
University of Washington
Meeks winner, $1,500

Robert Weiss is originally from Philadelphia, PA where he worked in the computer technology and networking fields. He then moved to Las Vegas, NV to pursue a career in EMS where he worked as a critical care paramedic, an EMS educator, and a supervisor for Medicwest Ambulance, where he learned firsthand the challenges of working with underserved people. He graduated with high honors from the College of Southern Nevada before being accepted into the University of Washington School of Medicine MEDEX Physician Assistant program. He is currently a first year student, on the Dean's list with a 3.85 GPA and the class representative to the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants. He is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the AAPA, and the AFPPA. He hopes to work in family practice somewhere in central or eastern Washington when he completes school. He currently lives in Yakima, WA with his wife, where they enjoy hiking and camping.

The Association of Family Practice Physician Assistants is the only organization exclusively representing primary care Physician Assistants and is one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing medical specialty organizations. AFPPA helps PAs in family practice speak in one voice on professional issues and offers unparalleled medical education opportunities in exciting family-friendly locations. For more information, visit AFPPA online at or call 877-890-0181.