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    Photo Alyssa Forte

    February 20, 2023

    Alyssa Forte, PA ’24: Expanding Care for All

    Alyssa Forte, PA ’24 knows that the best medicine is preventative. Staving off disease or illness can save lives, alleviate suffering, and preserve precious financial and medical resources. If you help someone to manage his or her hypertension through medicine, diet and exercise, for example, that can help ward off a serious or potentially fatal heart attack or stroke. Sadly, Forte knows that many people do not have access to this kind of care, particularly in rural areas. She is working to change that. 


    Forte is one of four students the master’s degree program in physician assistant studies at Le Moyne to have been named National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholars. Established in 1972, the NHSC connects primary health care clinicians to people in the United States with limited access to health care. In return for their work, scholarship recipients receive funds to help defer the cost of their education. Corps members focus on preventing disease and illness and treating people regardless of their ability to pay, and the program is popular with burgeoning clinicians like Forte. There are currently more than 20,000 NHSC members serving more than 21 million people across the country. 


    A Central New York native, Forte hopes to be placed in the Pacific Northwest, a region of the country that has always fascinated her. Her aim is to treat her patients holistically, and to assure that they have what they need to achieve a good outcome. That will mean different things to different people, she notes. For some, it may mean ensuing that they understand the directions on a particular prescription; for others, verifying that they have transportation to make it to a future appointment; and for others still conforming that there is someone to help the patient with daily tasks that an illness or injury may make difficult. 


    It should be noted that Forte already has practice in using her professional expertise to help others when they need it most. Prior to enrolling at Le Moyne, she worked in health care as a clinical assistant and medical assistant in dermatology. Forte assisted with transcription, triage and patient intake, and with various procedures, including biopsies, excisions and MOHS procedures. She also traveled to the medically underserved areas of Lowville, N.Y., and Fulton, N.Y., to help provide care for patients there. It was incredibly meaningful to be able to make a difference in the lives of the residents of those communities. She is thrilled that as an NHSC Scholar she will be able to continue to help people live as fully and healthfully as possible.


    “In the end, the [aim] of programs like these is to expand access to care for all, and that means making it easier to become a health care provider and creating opportunity to lift people from underserved communities to become providers themselves,” she said. “I truly believe the best way to accomplish this by offsetting the cost of medical education to lower the barrier of entry and expand the pool of providers willing to practice primary care. This is exactly what the NHSC will allow me to do, and I hope many others can follow the same path.”


    This story is part is a series about students in Le Moyne’s Physician Assistant Studies Program who have been named National Health Service Corps Scholars.

    Category: Student Voices