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The Lincoln Memorial University Board of Trustees, President B. James Dawson, Dean Ray E. Stowers and the Faculty of the Physician Assistant Program welcomed friends, family and special guests of the inaugural class of the Physician Assistant Program at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) to commencement exercises earlier today.
The class of 32 new health practitioners gathered at the Sam and Sue Mars Performing Arts Center in the Duke Hall of Citizenship on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, Tenn. Dr. J. Dennis Blessing, associate dean for South Texas Programs and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio served as the keynote speaker.
So Forbes has a list for everything. Want to know the largest private companies, most expensive zip codes, most powerful women or world’s billionaires? Forbes can tell you. Now, how important or useful that information is, is all in the eye of the beholder. However, back in June Forbes published a list I hope most college students took notice of.
The Best and Worst Master’s Degrees for Jobs (http://blogs.forbes.com/jacquelynsmith/2011/06/06/the-best-and-worst-masters-degrees-for-jobs/) identified the physician assistant degree as the top degree on the list, tied with computer science. The science behind the list had Forbes tracking the median pay for 35 of the most popular graduate degrees using payscale.com. Next the study looked at Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projection data to identify fields with high growth projections. Finally, the study ranked the degrees from one to 35 by averaging the degree pay rank and estimated growth.
It is really no surprise that PAs are in high demand. There aren’t enough doctors to keep up with our aging population and there aren’t enough medical school seats to produce the doctors to keep up. Logic tells you that alternative measures are needed. Enter the physician assistant. A physician assistant is educated in the medical model. PAs are nationally certified and work side by side with both osteopathic and allopathic physicians in every medical specialty. PAs are licensed to diagnose illness, prescribe medications and assist in surgery. They conduct physical exams, order and interpret medical tests and provide counseling on preventive health care. A PA has at least six years of education: a four-year undergraduate degree and the physician assistant degree. PA students complete more than 2,400 hours of clinical rotations prior to graduation.
PAs aren’t paid quite as highly as doctors; nevertheless, the Forbes article points out the mid-career median pay exceeds $100,000. The growth of the PA job market is also expected to grow by 39% over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The PA works as part of the health care team. The profession originated at Duke University in the 1960s after medics returning from the Vietnam War discovered there was really no civilian equivalent to their former military profession. From the beginning, the physician assistant profession has embraced a teamwork approach to health care, providing mid-level practitioners who can work side-by-side with physicians to provide efficient and effective health care to patients in need.
The inaugural class of the Physician Assistant Program at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) will celebrate its commencement on Saturday, July 30, at 10 a.m. at the Sam and Sue Mars Performing Arts Center in the Duke Hall of Citizenship on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, Tenn. The class of 32 new health practitioners are ready to make an impact on our region and beyond. Many have already secured clinical positions and will be immediately helping to serve the health care needs of the region.
Here is a summer wake-up call if there ever was one. There are only 25 more days until undergraduate classes start at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU). Just this week we welcomed the first-year medical students at LMU-DeBusk College Osteopathic Medicine and next week the second-years will join them. Twenty-five more days! Students should be packing up and faculty should be dusting off their lesson plans.
It’s a wake-up call like this that gets me thinking about the things I love about summer. I love the heat. Not heat indices in the triple digits heat that we are currently experiencing heat, but I love the nice 75-85 degree heat that usually accompanies summer around LMU. I love that we staff members have much of campus to ourselves over the summer. It is our time to bask in the beauty of our campus with activity at a slightly slower pace. I love watermelon, fresh berries and sweet peaches. And I love baseball.
Well actually, that is a lie. I really only tolerate baseball (sorry, I grew up in upstate NY and was raised on basketball and football), but I am getting to the real topic of this blog post. Summer is the time when baseball reigns supreme. It’s a time when all of us basketball and football fans have no choice but to tune in to the boys of summer.
It was during the summer about four years ago when I got my first real taste of Major League Baseball and experienced a shift in my views on baseball, and it was because of Scot Shields.
I joined the University in 2005 and during the first year, was pleased to meet and interview one of our most distinguished alumni, professional baseball player Scot Shields. He had been invited to campus for LMU Baseball Legends night, celebrated at a basketball game. It marked the first time he had returned to LMU since becoming one of the best relief pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was coming off a season where he had led the American League in holds and he was just three years removed from the Los Angeles Angels’ 2002 World Series Championship.
During that visit I was amazed at the openness Scot and his wife, Jaime, shared with the LMU community. In a special alumni meal served before the women’s basketball game, Scot and Jaime, who incidentally met at LMU where Jaime was a Lady Railsplitter Volleyball player, sat with alumni from their era and mingled with everyone at the dinner. It was apparent that Scot had fond memories of LMU and his classmates and was happy to be back.
Between games, Scot signed autographs in the Hall of Fame Room. He was patient and spoke with everyone. He even took off his World Series ring off and let many of the fans try it on. He joked with some of the younger kids and shared stories from the “big leagues” with the fathers. At the end of the visit, I had one thought: he is just like all the other LMU alumni I had encountered so far: nice, approachable and very fond of his alma mater. I knew from that visit on, I would follow Scot Shields’ career no matter if I worked at LMU or not.
Later, I helped organize a LMU outing to see Scot play. It was this trip that changed the way I looked at baseball all together. Since Scot played for Angels who were based on the West Coast, finding a game that was within driving distance of the University and fit in everyone’s schedules was a challenge. Ultimately, we selected a game in Cincinnati, when the Angels visited the Reds. I called the Reds organization and was able to get a block of tickets. We recruited alumni, faculty, staff and students to go and we were off. Arriving at the ball park early, we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss warm-ups. Scot was known for talking to fans during warm-ups and we weren’t disappointed. He came over and greeted our group and posed for pictures. Though we never got to see him play, the trip was a real highlight for everyone who went. For me, it changed the way I looked at baseball. To see the excitement of a live, major league baseball game in person was far superior to viewing what always seemed to be a slow game on T.V. But more than anything, seeing the players, not just Scot, but most of the players, connecting with the fans really changed my mind.
LMU hosted a handful of these road trips to see Scot play during his career. As summer dawned this year it was sad to think the Scot Shields road trips were no more. You see, LMU’s very own boy of summer was no more. On March 18, 2011, following two injury-hindered seasons, Scot Shields hung up his glove. He retired a highly efficient and effective setup man who had spent much of the last decade bridging the gap for the Angels between starter (or middle reliever) to closer.
Upon his retirement, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said, “He evolved into the gold standard of what setup men are. He could’ve gone a lot of places and been a closer, but he was committed to this organization and this organization was committed to him.” Scioscia went on to say, “Scot accepted that role and became the best at it. He was about winning. If he had to take the ball in the seventh inning and pitch the ninth, he would have done it. Thirty years ago, he would have been getting two-plus, three-inning saves. That’s how good he was.”
Scot Shields made his major league debut on May 26, 2001. He spent his entire career with the Angels, a rare occurrence in this age of free agency. That season in 2005 before he visited LMU, it was the first of four consecutive seasons he would lead the American League in holds. He is the only former Railsplitter to ever play in or win a World Series title.
In summarizing his career with the Angels, he points to the Game 7 of the 2002 World Series as his most memorable moment in uniform, but he is also proud of the 2004 season when he and Francisco Rodriguez each boasted over 100 strikeouts in a season, a landmark achievement for bullpen mates. Shields had a 46-44 record and 3.18 career ERA, averaging 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings. In 697 innings pitched, opponents posted only a .228 batting average and .335 slugging percentage. Sports Illustrated named him Setup Man of the Decade and he is remembered fondly by Angels fans everywhere as one of the last remaining links to the ball club’s only World Series Championship.
As summer rolls on and the boys of summer keep taking the field, it is sad to think that Scot Shields will not be taking a mound somewhere, but it remains an honor to call him one of our own. Scot, I hope you are as proud to call yourself a Railsplitter as we are.
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it. The courtroom in the Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL) is now complete and stands ready for the newest class of law students entering next month. A work in progress for two years, the courtroom is the crowning jewel of the law school’s facilities in Knoxville, Tenn.
The courtroom is equipped to hold actual court and LMU-DSOL Vice President and Dean Sydney A. Beckman has already invited judges in the region to hold court in the facility. The Tennessee Supreme Court has accepted Beckman’s invitation and will open their August 31 session at LMU-DSOL.
That’s right, Knoxville’s historic Old City Hall building, which was home to storied legal history as the home office for the city’s mayor and law director for decades, will hold court once again. The University had transformed an aging, vacant facility into a state-of-the art center for learning equipped with technology’s most cutting edge tools for teaching.
Flash forward to today and the room is hardly recognizable. The floors have been reinforced and carpeted. Classroom seating for 117 students has been installed. A custom-built mahogany judge’s bench which can accommodate up to five judges sits at the front of the room. A jury box with seating for 12 jury members and the appropriate alternates has been erected to the left of the bench and the prosecution and defense tables sit before the student seating.
One of the most advanced law classrooms in the country, LMU-DSOL’s courtroom can operate in three distinct modes. First, in full classroom mode it features a rotating lectern that can be turned to face three locations. The six large screens in the room can display teaching aids from up to two sources at a time. Full motion tracking is available from the cameras to follow the instructor as they lecture. Like all classrooms at LMU-DSOL, the courtroom includes full Mediasite recording capabilities to capture classes and make them available for student review. Mediasite also allows for the content to be streamed live on the internet and the courtroom is connectable through ITV with LMU classrooms in Harrogate and West Knoxville.
In the courtroom mode, the lectern can be turned 180 degrees to face the bench. With two DVD/VCR combo units available at the podium and audio video control booth, two different exhibits can be displayed at one time. Additionally, the courtroom has the ability to function as a completely paperless court. A document camera can scan and project any document submitted and the sympodium screen allows annotation of materials on both the podium computer and attorney laptops. An ambient noise filter can distort and filter discussion throughout zones of the room including the jury box, allowing attorney-bench conferences without the risk of a jury member overhearing the conference. Media and exhibits may also be routed to the entire courtroom or selected destinations as instructed by the bench. A jury conference room is adjacent to the courtroom to allow for jury deliberation.
The third mode, advanced mode, requires an audio video operator but allows complete control over all cameras and media routing. It can be used for highly specialized presentations or very sensitive court proceedings. The courtroom in any mode is a highly valuable training ground for LMU-DSOL and a unique asset for the legal community of Knoxville.
The technology in the courtroom was planned by Beckman and his administration building off the experiences of the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine which employs many of the same amenities. The system was designed and installed by Nashville audio-visual systems integrator Multi-Media Master’s Inc. Account Manager Keith Martin and Service Manager Ron Randolph spearheaded the project, working closely with Beckman. Multi-Media Masters (M3) is a company that works to produce the best audio-video solutions to meet specific needs. With fast-paced advances in technology, M3 is dedicated to being at the forefront of the audio/visual industry.