Army veteran among new students in USF Health Physician Assistant charter class

Army Warrant Officer Jason Abraham will be one of 30 students enrolled in the charter class of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.

While continuing to serve as an artilleryman in Florida’s National Guard, Warrant Officer Jason Abraham joins the first students entering the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine’s new Physician Assistant Program.  The two-year program begins May 8, with 30 students enrolled.

“I’m excited to get going in this program.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I can’t wait to see what happens over the next two years,” said Abraham, a 2016 graduate of USF’s bachelor of science program in health sciences.  “I love helping people, I love to learn, and the medical field is the perfect place to open my mind to learning new things.”

Abraham, a Pat Tillman Foundation scholarship finalist, said he will rely on his time and stress management skills, mastered over a 17-year military career including two combat deployments, to get him successfully through the rigorous PA program.  They are life skills he intends to share with his classmates.

Warrant Officer Jason Abraham during the Tampa Bay Lightning Salute to Service for USF Night at Amalie Arena. He was honored for his military service in Iraq.  Courtesy photo.

“The small class size is an advantage. It’s a much tighter circle of people to share information with, and we are in much better shape to help each other when it comes to looking out for each other,” Abraham said.

Abraham’s interest in the medical field didn’t peak until three years ago when a nursing student friend told him how much she liked what she did.  After reading about the various disciplines under medicine, he decided the PA program was his path to a secondary career to build upon his military career.  The foremost reason he chose the field was because it requires versatility, “like the Army,” he said.

“One thing that interests me about the program is that physician assistants have a range of skills,” said Abraham.  “We have the ability to go into any specific discipline with the wide range of knowledge we’ll have.”

Once he learned USF Health was starting its PA program, he didn’t want to study anywhere else.  The staff at the Office of Veterans Success and the school’s reputation for veterans’ success solidified his decision to stay in Tampa.

“USF is home to me. I love how this program is closely tied to the medical school.  I’m excited to get started studying in this field that I’ve admired for several years, and getting to stay home to do it is the icing on the cake for me.  This is going to be a top-notch program, and I’m excited to be a part of it. “

As a member of the Florida Army National Guard, Abraham doesn’t plan to hang up his uniform any time soon.  In the coming years, he will transform from artilleryman into physician assistant in service to his country and the community.