NEWS | January 29, 2016

Two UC Davis physician assistant students awarded national scholarships


Ruth Legesse and Nicole Klopovic, both second-year physician assistant students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, were awarded two of this year’s 18 nationwide Physician Assistant Foundation scholarships.

The foundation is the philanthropic organization of the by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). For 2016, 18 students were awarded nationwide from 511 applicants. The awards recognize AAPA student members for excellences in understanding the physician assistant role, their future goals as physician assistants and relevant volunteer and community service activities. A variety of endowed scholarship funds support the foundation's annual awards.

“Both Ruth and Nicole represent the UC Davis commitment to the development of a diverse workforce,” said Gerald Kayingo, director of the Master of Health Services — Physician Assistant Studies Degree Program. “This diversity is essential to improving the delivery of health care in underserved populations and reducing health disparities.”

Klopovic received one of six $2,000 National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Endowed Scholarships. At UC Davis, Klopovic serves as president of the physician assistant students Class of 2016. She was also co-director of the student-run Joan Viteri Memorial Clinic, serves as a mentor with medical students for pre-health high school students, and was both a Health Policy Fellow and Future Educator Fellow through the Physician Assistant Education Association.

Legesse received one of six $1,000 Procter & Gamble scholarships. She volunteered at two UC Davis student-run clinics, the Imani and Shifa clinics, which serve the diverse and uninsured population of the greater Sacramento area.

The physician assistant program is one of five graduate programs led by the interprofessional Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group, a diverse group of UC Davis faculty including nursing, medical, nutrition and sociology experts.

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis is the only school in the nation where physician assistant and nurse practitioner students are educated together. Over the past 40 years, 60 percent of UC Davis’ 883 physician assistant graduates work in underserved areas while another 59 percent work in primary care. For more on the physician assistant program, visit