- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director
It was while working as a clinical research associate in the Neurology Department at UK, as well as volunteering in a medical mission in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, that PA student Ghadah Karasneh knew she wanted to help people.
“During these experiences, I found a lot of joy in working with patients, and found it very rewarding and satisfying,” she said.
Now, Karasneh and the rest of her Class of 2023 Physician Assistant Studies students will celebrate today with their White Coat Ceremony, where students recite their oath of commitment and receive their white coats symbolizing the start of their journey to become Physician Assistants.
After moving from Jordan, to living in Chicago for 12 years, to coming to the Bluegrass, Karasneh is excited for the ceremony, which will take place at 3 p.m. today in the Worsham Cinema in the Gatton Student Center.
“I think it will feel like an accomplishment,” she says, “and a new start to a new role that I have always wanted to pursue.”
Here’s 5 questions with … Ghadah Karasneh.
We moved from Chicago for my husband to pursue medical specialization in the field of nephrology (a specialty of internal medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the kidney).
I decided to purse the PA school because I wanted a career where I can work with patients. I felt a passion towards having a positive impact on others’ lives. I have a background in basic science research where I spent most of my time in a lab working with cell cultures in herpes virus infection model. Although that work is interesting and important, I felt the need to express more of my passion for caring for others. Shortly after arriving to Lexington, I worked as a clinical research associate in the Neurology department at UK, and volunteered in a medical mission in one of the Syrian refugees’ camps in Jordan.
It has been a great journey so far. Not an easy road, as a lot of hard work and dedication is required to make it through didactic year. The biggest challenge was to reach a balance between spending time with my family and studying. I have 9-year-old twins, who still need my time and care. However, things have worked out great so far, and for sure it’s worth it at the end. My hope is to set an example for my children to pursue their dreams, yet take care of their loved ones.
I am very excited to reach this step. It represents the first step in reaching a dream. It is usually held earlier in school, but this year and due to COVID, we will have it after we are almost done with our didactic part of studies. Therefore, it is especially exiting to see where we are, and how close we are to reaching the dream.
My favorite part is the atmosphere in class — it is never competitive, but very supportive and professional. Students race to help each other, and support each other, to make sure that everyone in the class is succeeding. Whenever we are stressed with our classwork, students are happy to help each other, and share resources.
Behind each student is a special character and a great heart and eagerness to rise and rise people around them. I thank my advisor Dr. Fahringer for always being available to give advice. Also, all the professors for their dedication and support in our education. They have always made us feel that our success is their success. Finally, I thank my husband, Faris Khasawneh, for his continuous support.
I would say that it is a great place to reach your dream. From the first day, staff and professors pressed upon the importance to have a clear vision of our WHY? Why we want to be healthcare providers, why PA? What can we improve around us?
I believe that this encouraged us as students to really rise up to that, and focus on gaining as much knowledge, and a sense of responsibility towards each other and toward our community.