Vanessa Ratzlaff, a recent graduate in Health and Biomedical Sciences, and a graduate student enrolled in the Masters in Physician Assistant Studies program at Adventist University of Health Sciences (ADU), is a determined student leader who strives to make a difference in her community. During her undergraduate studies at ADU, Vanessa participated in initiatives developed to address an array of needs related to homelessness and poverty. She served as the President of the ADU Pre-PA Club and will be involved in the PA Society this summer when she enters ADU's MSPA program. Vanessa is currently working with professors at ADU to implement the Camden Initiative, a program that pairs students and physicians together to provide care to the indigent population. Vanessa has been instrumental in connecting this initiative to Adventist Health System. She is committed to seeing true social change in healthcare access of the most vulnerable individuals in her community. Vanessa is a strong student, and steadfast servant leader. She is compelled to use her education and skills to heal and help others. Her organizational abilities, positive outlook and encouragement of her peers, and compassion to serve, render her an exemplary candidate for the Newman Civic Fellows Award.
I have always been interested in helping others succeed. I have been honored to volunteer with Share the Care, Shepherd's Hope, and Take Stock in Children, organizations who share my desire to make a difference in the lives of those in need. This desire increased as a student at Adventist University of Health Sciences (ADU) as I learned more about healthcare service. As the Pre-Physician Assistant Club President, I've placed an emphasis on servant leadership through the organization of monthly volunteer events with the Ephraim Project, a local charity providing food to the homeless. Through these efforts, I learned of the Camden Initiative, a program that partners healthcare students with doctors to aid the indigent population. This program gives students real-world experience and direction towards their future healthcare role. I am currently working with my professors to implement this program at ADU with the support of Adventist Health System. I am a recent graduate of ADU, earning a Bachelor's in Biomedical Sciences, and will begin the ADU Master's in Physician Assistant Studies program this summer. I look forward to the day I become a healthcare provider and can use my knowledge to help the most vulnerable populations in our community.