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Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:

As a physician assistant and a state House candidate in District 8, I know how important health care is to the success of the individual and the community in which they live. We all know that receiving medical care can be stressful, whether you are nervous about a procedure, frustrated at the wait time for an appointment or visiting a new provider. But PAs, or physician assistants, are here to help. When you need health care, our goal is to be there for you. PAs are medical professionals who diagnose, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications and may serve as your primary provider. That is what I did for the 30 years I practiced in rural, farming communities. I made sure my community was served by someone who lived right where you lived and sent my child to school alongside your children.

From Oct. 6-12 we are celebrating PA Week across the country. During PA Week we hope you'll have a chance to talk to a PA about what it is we do for health care. There are more than 131,000 PAs in the U.S. and more around the world. In 2008 I was proud to be selected to practice medicine in England and introduce the PA concept to the British health care system. They were very pleased. And now there is a growing PA presence in the UK.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the profession is expected to grow 37% between 2016 and 2036. It's a great professional choice for a young person, with starting salaries close to six figures. Here in Arizona there are thousands of practicing PAs. There are more than 238 nationwide programs and Arizona State University and A.T. Still University are two in Arizona. 

PAs are well positioned to treat our nation's most vulnerable population and underserved communities.

Sharon Girard

Eloy

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