Emelle Holmes: A Graduate Student Brings her Indiana Charm to Oakland

Emelle Holmes, a second-year graduate student in the Master of Physician Assistant (MPA) Program, is making a difference in her community.

For the past several weeks Holmes has been working 8 to 14-hour days assisting in c-sections and hysterectomies, performing physical exams, delivering babies, charting medical histories and ordering and interpreting laboratory and diagnostic tests. She is doing her required clinical rotation as a student in the SMC Physician Assistant program — and she’s doing it all in the comfort of her hometown of Gary, Indiana.

“After this December when I graduate from Samuel Merritt College I want to return to Gary and work in my home community. California is very far from my family.”

Holmes’ five-week obstetrics/gynecology clinical rotation is designed to develop her proficiency in the treatment of the ob/gyn patient, and to make appropriate referrals.

“As physician assistants, we assist in surgeries, deliver babies — we are different from nurse practitioners where we are always working in conjunction with physicians, not nurses. This is one of the huge differences between nurse practitioners and physician assistants.”

Despite her first inclination to become a doctor, she decided that a physician assistant program would enable her to dedicate herself to children, particularly those with life-limiting illnesses.

“I lost a nephew and have a strong urge to work in pediatric emergency medicine and hospice palliative care,” explained Holmes.

Her decision to attend Samuel Merritt College was influenced by a number of factors including the admission interview process, students, faculty and the integrating seminar classes.

“The integrated seminar portion of the coursework I found to be very helpful and provide a great forum for learning. There’s a lot of hands-on, role playing involved and the ability to brainstorm with your team is an added bonus when you first start versus when working alone. You might forget to check for something or come up with an alternative diagnosis.”

When Holmes is not gathering and evaluating medical data and participating in the process of clinical decision-making, she volunteers her time in and around the Bay Area.

“I help set up blood drives, conduct blood pressure checks and glucose screening and counseling at local churches with local SMC faculty. I work with Kerry’s Kids, an organization that provides free healthcare to homeless children and last year I worked with Senior Smile talking to older adults who might be suffering from age related disabilities such as dementia, Alzheimers and stroke about nutrition and exercise.”

Holmes also volunteers at the Oakland Police Activities League working with students in the school program. Based on her school and community work, Holmes was awarded the Community Service for Physician Assistant Program plaque.

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Office of the President enews is published by Samuel Merritt College, Office of the President. Stephanie Bangert, Editor. Elizabeth Valente, Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations. Elizabeth Clayton, Publications Assistant. Photography: Checkerbox Photography (graduation), Oakland Metro Chamber of Commerce (East Bay Economic Development).

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