Pair of donations give PASP students a shot in the arm
By Roxanne Lerma Casares, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/29/2012
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Since she launched her first Ashley Pediatrics clinic in 2003, Dr. Sarojini Bose, a highly successful local pediatrician, had not taken a single vacation in seven years.

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Dr. Sarojini Bose, pictured center, donated $7,000 to The University of Texas-Pan American to help students enrolled in the Physician Assistant Studies Program (PASP) pay for school. Pictured with Bose are Frank Ambriz, a PASP clinical assistant professor who spearheaded the formation of the program, and Yvette Padilla, director of stewardship and annual giving.

That changed when she forged a relationship with The University of Texas-Pan American’s Physician Assistant Studies Program (PASP). Several graduates joined her practice and finally made it possible for her to take a breather.

“I worked very hard to establish my practice and now, because of the support from UT Pan Am students, I can take a break,” said Dr. Sarojini Bose.

As a way of saying 'thank you' to UTPA and the PASP, Bose recently donated $7,000 to aid students of the program.

The first $1,000 of her gift went to help alumni reach their $10,000 target to start the Frank Ambriz PASP Endowed Scholarship. Ambriz, a clinical assistant professor, spearheaded the formation of the program and his former students established the fund late last year as a tribute to the man responsible for their success.

“I feel honored to be able to give back,” Bose said. “UT Pan American has helped me with my practice by providing the great physician assistants (PAs) who come out of the program, thanks to Frank Ambriz. He has a light burning in him to help the community and to improve the program.”

The second contribution of $6,000 to the University is to establish the Ashley Pediatric Scholarship for PA students. Bose has a long-standing relationship with the University. Her only daughter Ashley graduated from UTPA last year and is now at the Baylor College of Medicine.

“I have always been fond of helping people who really need financial help. I know that some of them are supporting a family and going to school and so we just want to help them deal with their struggle,” Bose said.

The PASP graduates were short of reaching their first year goal, so the Valley physician stepped in to lend a helping hand.

“It is not just monetary, but what is important is that our alumni helped to establish the endowment. Dr. Bose then came in to help them accomplish their goal,” said Yvette Padilla, director of stewardship and annual giving. “Every little bit counts. Those two gifts combined will help a good number of students continue the PA program.”

Ambriz said he is humbled that his students credit him with their accomplishments and that Bose helped to fund the remainder of the endowment.

“I am speechless. This is so worthwhile because it benefits the students,” said Ambriz, chair of the PA program. “Even if it just helps one student, it is tremendous that they are doing this.”

Dr. John Ronnau, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, said the contributions are a remarkable acknowledgment of the curriculum.

“The endowed scholarship established by alumnae of the physician’s assistant program is a tremendous compliment to Mr. Ambriz and the PA Program. It also speaks very highly of the former students who established the fund, of their generosity and willingness to give back to their alma mater,” Ronnau said. “This gift from Dr. Bose completes the endowment, which will allow it to start benefiting our students. It is an invaluable gift.”

According to Ambriz, PA students attend school 12 months a year for 28 months consecutively and are between classrooms and clinics up to 16 hours a day. So the financial assistance is paramount to their success.

“It will make a terrific amount of difference. Every summer we have six or seven students who cannot continue the program because they don’t have financial aid, and so money like this comes through and allows them to finish on time,” Ambriz said.

The PASP began at UTPA in 1994 as a cooperative program with The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston to help supply more needed health professionals in the Rio Grande Valley. It is the only physician assistant program in Texas that is not based at a medical school.

To make a gift or receive more information, contact the Office of Development at (956) 665-5301.