Research and service


Linkages to the Community to Improve the Health of the Underserved

Medically Underserved Populations

The Wayne State University Physician Assistant Studies program has formed mutually beneficial relationships within the Detroit metropolitan area, for the ultimate benefit of fulfilling it's mission to student learning while providing quality health care service to urban medically underserved communities. In addition to its major health system affiliations, which provide significant health care to medically underserved populations by virtue of their location and mission, (Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health Systems, and St. John Health Systems), the Program has formed linkages with clinics and non-traditional health settings, all within the City of Detroit. The majority of clinical experiences of Year I students and clinical rotations of Year II students occur within these systems. The Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR), Paul Ambrose Scholar's Program  2007-2008, 2008-2009,  2009-2010, and 2010-2011, has supported select WSU PAS students in leading the way in establishing the annual health fair tradition during Physician Assistant Week, and providing interdisciplinary health care services in a non-traditional setting at the Highland Park Health Education Clinic, in Highland Park, Michigan, in conjunction with pharmacy students from the University of Michigan, and development of a sex education module for adolescents.

Detroit Public Schools

The Program has been affiliated with various aspects of the Detroit Public School (DPS) student population since 1998, in the form of a linkage to disadvantaged schools through partnership with Communities in Schools, and more recently, Beyond Basics. The students and faculty of the program provided after school tutoring, mentoring, and health education presentations to DPS Albert A. Winship, from 1998-2000, (this program received $1200 in funding from the Michigan Campus Compact 1998-1999 Scholarship of Engagement Award), and to students at Edmonson Elementary School from 2000-2005. This program received the Community Based Project Grant from the Physician Assistant Foundation in 2005. Continuing the tradition, WSU PAS students currently provide health education presentations to various Detroit Public Schools and a health fair at the Detroit Children's Center, as service-learning activities in the Year I Health Care Issues course. Past community involvement has included the 1999 Immunization Initiative, which prompted the Program to develop linkages with multiple agencies related to public school children: Michigan Immunization Childhood Registry (MICR), Detroit Public Health Department, Detroit Public Schools Headstart Program, and MI Child-Health Insurance for Children (Department of Community Medicine). This activity took place at the Rackham Building on the Wayne State University Campus, where the Program offices were previously located. Faculty and staff of the PAS Program, Detroit Public Schools, and the Detroit Health Department coordinated efforts to provide Detroit Public School children with essential immunizations prior to the start of school. Over a 5 day period of time, 589 persons were immunized, mostly Detroit Public School children. A total of 1469 injections were administered during this time by Program faculty, students, residents and staff of Sinai-Grace Hospital, Children's Hospital and community medical volunteers. The funding for this activity was provided by Detroit Public Schools, with vaccines and health materials provided by the Detroit Health Department. In-kind support of the site and all medical Program personnel-faculty and students was provided by the Program. Another immunization initiative was held in 2001, which yielded a total of 849 injections administered to the Detroit population.

Special Olympics Detroit

The WSU PAS Program has been affiliated with Special Olympics Detroit since 1998 and in conjunction with the WSU Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs, and the medical residents and staff at Sinai-Grace Hospital, has provided pre-sport health appraisals for the Detroit Public School Special Olympics athletes. These monthly health appraisal events serve the underrepresented minority (primarily African American) mentally and physically disabled population enrolled in Detroit Public Schools. The impact to this community has been tremendous. It has allowed approximately 1200 mentally and physically handicapped athletes to participate in Special Olympics Detroit events, double the number that participated prior to our intervention. This program has received two awards; the Community Based Project Grant from the Physician Assistant Foundation and the 2000 AAPA/PA Foundation/Pfizer Recognition Program and $5950.00 in funding. This program was one of ten service programs chosen nation-wide to be featured in a promotional videos for the Physician Assistant Foundation, which may be viewed at:, and received the Program Award from Special Olympics Michigan in 2007.


The WSU HELP (Health Education for Longevity and Prevention) Clinic is a collaborative effort of the Wayne State University Physician Assistant Studies (WSU PAS) program and the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (IEHS). The purpose of the WSU H.E.L.P. Clinic is to provide continuous culturally competent health education, screening, promotion and referral to the medically underserved urban community in and around the zip code of 48217. The HELP Clinic is a service-learning activity for the PAS faculty and first year students, and is incorporated into the three semester Health Care Issues course. The location of the WSU H.E.L.P. Clinic has been donated to the program for usage by the parish of Saint Andrew and Benedict Catholic Church in Southwest Detroit. The 48217 zip code has recently been referred to as the "most polluted zip code in Michigan" by the Detroit Free Press. Environmental health concerns are paramount to the community. The goal of this project is to evaluate the health status of the individuals in southwest Detroit, in order to provide health services tailored to this specific geographic area. Student learning in the clinic environment is combined with service to all residents in the area by providing health screening and education. Targeted educational programs focus on hypertension, diabetes, weight-related health risks, cancer (particularly breast cancer awareness and prevention) and respiratory disease. Other health screenings offered on a regular basis include: vision/hearing screening, nutrition information, and medication reviews.

Student Activities 

WSU PAS students are active in many other organizations aside from WSU PAS sponsored activities, including the Cass Community Clinic, providing health care along with WSU medical students on Saturdays to medically underserved Detroit residents,  the Ronald McDonald House, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, as well as many other organizations.