DMS Alumni and Students Give Back Through Servolution Medical Clinic
Several alumni and students from the Lincoln Memorial University-School of Medical Sciences (LMU-SMS) Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) program commit four hours a month to volunteer at Servolution Health Services in Speedwell, Tennessee.
Paula Miksa, DMS, EdS, MHS, PA-C, began volunteering with Servolution many years ago. Miksa graduated with a DMS degree from LMU in 2018 and now serves as the assistant dean and program director for the DMS program.
“I’ve known about the clinic for several years because I knew Edwin Robertson who initially had the vision for the clinic. The LMU PA Program has always helped support the mission of Servolution with fundraisers and helping out at events,” said Miksa. “A few years ago, we decided that we wanted to help even more by volunteering our time. Servolution decided to offer a night clinic for those who couldn’t get to the clinic during the day. This was a perfect opportunity.”
Missions and helping the underserved has always been a passion of Miksa. She has helped co-lead student mission trips to Peru and Nicaragua through the PA program since 2014.
“Taking care of yourself and your health to the best of your ability is vitally important but not everyone has access to adequate medical care,” said Miksa. “I’m happy to volunteer if that means more patients can be seen especially after hours so they don’t have to miss work.”
For Miksa, having a DMS has helped her take everything she knew as a practicing PA to the next level and apply to her patient care.
“One of the biggest advantages of the program is that it is taught by physicians who are not only experts in their field but also very motivated to share what they know to help improve patient care and make students into the best PAs they can be,” said Miksa. “Being a health care provider is a lifelong commitment to learning and continuous improvement so we can provide the best care possible for our patients. The LMU DMS program has been a tremendous asset on this continuing medical education journey.”
Michael Stephens, DMS, PA-C, has been volunteering for Servolution for seven years. He graduated from the DMS program in 2019, but before that, Stephens began his journey to become a physician assistant (PA) earning his Master of Medical Science in PA Studies from LMU.
“I became involved with Servolution in its infancy, while I was a PA student in 2013. I volunteered to help clean up many of the rooms, and my first three rotations were with Dr. Stallworth who volunteers there. Dr. Stallworth and Servolution hired me upon graduation,” said Stephens.
Now Stephens serves as an assistant professor and academic remediation specialist for the PA program at LMU in Harrogate, Tennessee. After accepting the position at LMU, Servolution asked Stephens to join its board of directors. Now Stephens spends one night a month volunteering at its night clinic.
Stephens enjoys volunteering and can recount many stories.
“I had a lady come in because she wasn’t feeling good and wanted me to write her a letter to get out of jury duty. After a quick lab work up she came back so severely anemic she was sent to the ER for a transfusion,” said Stephens. “She wrote a thank you letter crediting me for saving her life, which I didn’t, but it’s just one of those patients who will always stick in my mind.”
For Stephens, having his DMS has been very helpful.
"The DMS has been very beneficial, as we operate with a high degree of autonomy there. The additional clinical training I received as part of the DMS has been significant in my ability to operate independently and provide a higher level of care,” said Stephens.
Melissa Day, MPAS, PA-C, an associate professor in the PA program and a student in the DMS program, got involved with Servolution because she missed taking care of patients and wanted to give back to the community.
“Earning my DMS has been an invaluable learning experience that has given me a deeper understanding of disease processes, which has given me confidence in managing patients,” said Day, who will graduate from the program in December 2020.
Her favorite thing about volunteering at Servolution has been building relationships with the staff and her patients.
“From my experience, in order to lead, you must first know how to serve,” said Day. “Service to others is one of the only things I know that truly fulfills a sense of purpose and is exponentially rewarding.”
LMU’s first PA program was established in 2009 on the main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, and is one of the largest PA programs in the United States. In 2016, LMU launched a unique postgraduate training program for PAs with the Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) Program. In 2020, LMU opened a second PA program with a focus on advanced surgical training in Knoxville, Tennessee. For more information about the LMU-SMS PA programs, visit www.LMUnet.edu/SMS.
Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at admissions@LMUnet.edu.