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Post-Gazette featured physician assistant studies alumn Ross Morgan in "Shaler native providing COVID-19 screenings in a hectic New York City hospital"

04/15/2020

Post-Gazette featured physician assistant studies alumn Ross Morgan in "Shaler native providing COVID-19 screenings in a hectic New York City hospital"

On the day when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a one-day state record of 799 deaths from COVID-19, Ross Morgan was trying to prevent another one from occurring in New York City.

For the seventh consecutive day Thursday, the physician assistant and Shaler native was working in a makeshift pre-emergency room at Metropolitan Hospital in the East Harlem section of the borough of Manhattan. He was medically screening frightened patients to determine if their infection fears were symptom- or anxiety-based.

“An overwhelming number have symptoms brought on by fear. There’s a lot of subjective fever, and shortness of breath is common,” said Mr. Morgan, 30, who graduated in 2008 from Shaler Area High School, in 2012 from the University of Pittsburgh and in 2016 from Pace University in New York City with a master’s degree in physician assistant studies.

Read the full Post-Gazette article.

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"The Journal News" featured Pace University's Physician Assistant program adjunct professor Paige Long Sharps, M.D. in "What New York and New Jersey are doing to stem black women's deaths from childbirth"

06/17/2019

"The Journal News" featured Pace University's Physician Assistant program adjunct professor Paige Long Sharps, M.D. in "What New York and New Jersey are doing to stem black women's deaths from childbirth"

The New York metropolitan area has some of the best hospitals and top doctors in the world.

Yet New Jersey has the fifth-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation and New York ranks 25th in the number of women who die during or after childbirth in the U.S., according to a USA TODAY investigation.

The United States, which has the highest maternal death rate among developed countries, is one of only three nations — the others are Afghanistan and Sudan — where the maternal mortality rate is rising, according to the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health. 

And the overwhelming majority of women who die or suffer catastrophic injury in birth or post-delivery are black women.

New Jersey Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter said state Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal "hit the nail on the head" when he said, "It's implicit bias."

Studies show that race, more than poverty or education, presents the most significant risk for maternal mortality. For example, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that the maternal morbidity rate of black women with at least a college degree was higher than for any other racial or ethnic group of women who lacked a high school diploma or GED.

Dr. Paige Long Sharps said the cause is "multi-factorial," but bias by health care providers cannot be discounted.

She said she's seen colleagues treat women of color, especially women who are obese or poor, differently. And, Sharps said, she's had doctors be curt and dismissive with her when she has sought medical care — until they ask what she does and she tells them she's a doctor.

Sharps decided to go into teaching after serving as medical director of Montefiore Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health in part because of the bias she witnessed. 

“If I can instruct in clinicals, I can eradicate the biases in how residents and nurses are treating patients in the hospital,” said Sharps, who is an adjunct faculty member for Pace University’s Physician Assistant program at the Pleasantville campus.

New York and New Jersey are taking action: Both have formed task forces to define the issues and develop ways to address health disparities; both states' legislatures have put forth bills to address the issues, and both governors have included money in their state budgets to act on recommendations.

Read the full article.