The Arizona Lottery awarded NAU physician assistant student Angela Sotelo with a $40,000 scholarship through its “Gives Back” program—a program that uses marketing dollars to help explain the lottery’s mission to Arizonans while doing good in the community.
Ranked in the bottom six states for number of active primary care providers, Arizona is in dire need of health care workers, including physician assistants. This is one reason why the Arizona Lottery joined in a Gives Back sponsorship with NAU’s PA program.
NAU’s Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus is Arizona’s only PA program at a public university. This program teaches through evidence-based clinical, didactic and community-based training activities that prepare students for work in Arizona communities by providing critical skills and knowledge required to provide high-quality care to the most vulnerable community members.
It’s a life-changing scholarship for Sotelo, who is a first-generation student and is from an underrepresented population. She’s grateful to have the worry of paying for school removed so she can focus on her patients.
“I strongly believe that the NAU PA program does a wonderful job at accepting PA students that are well-rounded, diverse individuals who strive to work in underserved, rural communities, and when this is recognized, it shines a light on the importance of finding passionate, future providers who will fill the much-needed roles in these communities,” she said. “I have always dreamed of being one of these providers and now, this award helps me get one step closer to achieving my dreams.”
Graduates from the PA program represent an extraordinarily high number of individuals from disadvantaged populations, and most of them go on to practice and serve in the state. This aligns with the Arizona Lottery’s mission to support programs that support underserved people all over the state, especially through the program’s clinical placements on the Hopi and Navajo reservations, Kingman, Bullhead City and other rural areas that lack adequate primary care services.
“Physician assistants play vital roles in primary care access,” said Elias Villarreal, the department chair and program director. “The PA program trains students with evidence-based clinical, didactic and community-based training activities that both prepare NAU’s students for work in Arizona communities and provide them critical skills and knowledge required to provide high-quality care to the state of Arizona’s most vulnerable community members.”
Partnerships such as this help us further our common goals between NAU and the AZ Lottery. The funds provided support students with a focus on Arizona communities in need first. Student debt is at an all time high. These funds go a long way to help offset the costs of a quality education in health care.
This donation supports the Arizona Lottery’s key area of higher education, along with health and human services, environmental conservation and economic and business development. More information on the “Gives Back” program can be found on their website.
Agency funds for this Gives Back sponsorship are in addition and apart from monies to be transferred by Lottery to Lottery beneficiaries under its statutory obligations and are the result of increased ticket sales